Report by Richard Lockwood, CAT
Hong Kong were severely tested by Singapore at PTIS Oval in Chiang Mai in the ACC Under 19 Elite Cup but the defending champions showed great character in defending a total of 157 to gain their second win of the competition.
Hong Kong were soon in trouble after they won the toss and elected to bat with the loss of both openers. Vikash Gope fell to a brilliant catch for 18 and Sagar Chandra was caught at first slip for 4, as Singapore made an outstanding start in the field after dropping so many catches in their previous match.
Hong Kong continued to struggle as they lost their third wicket on 41, captain Miten Khatri caught behind for 1 as Varun Sivaram claimed his second wicket. Nizakat Khan will need to produce another notable innings if Hong Kong are to make a big score.
Singapore looked to be on the way to creating a massive surprise as Nizakat Khan who had scored a century against Bahrain was caught at short mid-wicket for 13 and Furqan Tahir was dismissed lbw for nought. Varun Sivaram now had four wickets to his name and was proving a real handful.
Hong Kong fought hard with Kinchit Shah and Aizaz Khan at the crease. Varun Sivaram finished an outstanding opening spell with figures of 4 for 27 from 8 overs, but Aizaz Khan who made a name for himself in the World Cricket League is a dangerous player, so Singapore needed to press home their advantage.
At the half way stage of their innings Hong Kong had reached 102 for 5, the obdurate Kinchit Shah and the more flamboyant Aizaz Khan raising the fifty partnership for the sixth with Singapore still searching for the vital breakthrough.
Mohammad Aslam finally broke the partnership with the total on 120 as the dangerous Aizaz Khan was bowled for 39 in the 28th over. Abhiraj Singh then placed Singapore firmly in the driving seat with two wickets in two balls with his left-arm spin as Hong Kong were reduced to 120 for eight.
Niaz Ali quickly scored eight but then wasted his wicket by being run out to make the score 134 for 9. The Hong Kong innings finished more than 13 overs early as the last wicket fell to another run out, Kinchit Shah falling for 38 from 71 balls with the score on 157.
Had Kinchit Shah done enough to give the Hong Kong bowlers a chance or would Singapore’s batsmen make up for their carelessness in the previous match?
Singapore began their innings before lunch and made the worst possible start with both openers dismissed with only two runs on the board as Hong Kong's opening bowlers, Aizaz Khan and Niaz Ali claimed a wicket apiece.
Hong Kong's generosity to their Singaporean opponents continued as Rezza Gaznavi, the team's best player, was given a life as he was bowled by a no ball from Aizaz Khan. Rezza had scored fifty against Qatar before running himself out but he did not take advantage of his good luck and hit the ball straight up in the air to be caught at cover off Aizaz to be third out.
There was still time for another wicket before lunch as Vikas Rajgopal was caught and bowled by left-armer Niaz Ali to leave the score on 14 for 4. Singapore have not been able to make the most of their excellent bowling.
Singapore batted far more sensibly after lunch as Praseen Param and Varun Sivaram looked to build a partnership. Hong Kong were forced to change the bowling after 14 overs and it was Nizakat Khan who made the breakthrough as Param fell for 33 to leave the score on 56 for five.
Varun Sivaram followed up his four wickets with a determined innings as Singapore reached 65 for 5 after 25 overs but he was the sixth wicket to fall when he skied Nizakat Khan to Sunny Bhimsaria.
Nizakat Khan followed with his third wicket as Iishan Shekhar fell lbw for 4 with the score on 85 for 7, but Sarangadev Krishnan and Abhiraj Singh took the total to past the 100. Singapore still had time to reach their target when Abhiraj was bowled by Simandeep Singh.
The end to the Singapore innings came quickly with a brilliant diving catch by Kinchit Shah followed by another wasteful run out as they were bowled out for 111 in 39.5 overs.
Hong Kong gained their second victory of the tournament by 46 runs to join Qatar on 4 points at the top of the table in Group A of the ACC Under-19 Elite Cup.
Niaz Ali finished with three wickets as Hong Kong showed they had a powerful bowling attack, but the team owed a debt of gratitude to the studious batting of the left-hander Kinchit Shah which helped them to a total that they were able to defend.
ACC U-19 Elite Cup 2011
Group A: Hong Kong v Singapore at the Prem Centre, Chiang Mai
HONG KONG WON BY 46 RUNS
Hong Kong won the toss and chose to bat
Hong Kong: 157 all out off 36.5 overs (K. Shah 38, A.Khan 39; V.Sivaram 4-27)
Singapore: 111 all out off 39.5 overs (P.Param 34; N.Ali 3-16, N.Khan 3-17)
Man of the Match: Kinchit Shah (Hong Kong)
Pictures by Danny Bowes
Filed February 3rd, 2011