Going into today’s Group A match on the last day before the semi-finals, Hong Kong had to win to be sure of getting through to the ACC U-19 Women’s Championship semis, and Qatar had to win by a large margin to finish on two wins and knock out Hong Kong on Net Run Rate. And if Qatar were to win, and Kuwait were to beat Singapore by a really large margin in the game played simultaneously at the Yorker ground then all would be on four points from two wins….Qatar had a dream start.

Reenu Gill ran herself out off the second ball, a direct hit from Akanksha Anil at cover making sure, and then next ball the in-form Mariko Hill was bowled off stump, just a hint of outswing from Rishika Reddy. 0-2 after 3 balls. Yasmin Daswani slashed the hat-trick ball for 4 through point.

Dominique McCusker survived a caught-and-bowled chance off Akanksha in the next over and for the first twenty minutes Qatar looked taking a wicket at any time. As long as they weren’t bowling to Yasmin Daswani. She has been in terrific form this tournament, timing the ball crisply, striking the ball authoritatively, with strokes off front and back foot on both sides of the wicket. She looks some player, with the hallmark of class in not finding fielders with the best of her strokes. All that she lacks is more opportunistic footwork. Dominique found some form too this innings, particularly strong on the hook and pull.

Qatar's Huda Malik pouches Rishika Reddy wins a decision

Qatar as a team have come along significantly in the past 22 months since they first played at this level. Their bowling is very good and their fielding is the match of anybody’s in the tournament. They pushed potential champions Nepal hard in their previous match and today made Hong Kong work very very hard. Yasmin Daswani was just peerless today. She had the measure of the Qatar attack and the slowish Astroturf wicket from the start and one straight drive to reach 24, racing across the damp outfield was the shot of the day. A flat-batted punch powered through mid-off to take Hong Kong to 60-3 at the end of the 11th over came close to matching it.

Only Anjali Satish with her three-stride and deliver seamers caused Yasmin any problems. Nevertheless, she reached 50 off just 47 deliveries in the 16th over. Hong Kong passed 100 and the 50-partnership between Yasmin and Godiva Li (23*) the over later. Yasmin, with an 87 off 88 balls against Singapore to her name already, had enough time to make a century. Godiva Li fell going for a second run having played a good supportive hand. Qatar were still fighting.

Yasmin fell for 58, treading on her stumps, going for a pull (she takes guard well inside the crease) and with her departure there was a flurry of wickets as Qatar did all they could to kep the score manageable for their run-chase. Hong Kong finished on 129 for 9 and if Qatar were to win and advance on Net Run Rate, they’d have to do it inside 20.2 overs.

Mariko Hill catches and Qatar are 3-3

Qatar had a terrible start, all their fallibilities preyed upon by Hong Kong’s fielders and bowlers. Within 10 balls of their innings Qatar were 3-3. Godiva Li was bowling particularly quickly. A lot depended on Qatar’s captain Ishaani Mittal and the backwards baseball cap-bearing Huda Malik. They put on 28 in 43 balls before Ishaani was run out by Hong Kong debutant Ma Sze Wun (a cricketer for just three months, she looks to have a bright future). As does Huda Malik. One stroke, driven through mid-off , to take Qatar to 41 for 4 in the 12th over, was a masterpiece of nonchalant timing.

Yasmin Daswani got Malik out though, after being clipped for two consecutive fours, and then she held a good catch running backwards, taking on the sun, to dismiss Anjali Satish. Qatar now 65 for 6 in the 14th over and their semi-final hopes fading. News came through that Kuwait had lost to Singapore by 7 wickets in spite of making 154, so the last semi-final place was going to be either one of these two. Qatar might win, but it definitely wasn’t going to be inside 20.2 overs.

Yasmin Daswani lets fly

With 5 overs to go Qatar needed 45 to win the match, three wickets in hand. It didn’t happen, though they were to be commended for getting as close as they did, Rishika Reddy playing some quality strokes towards the end. Take away the Player of the Match’s performance and there really wasn’t much in it.

Hong Kong will play Bhutan in the semi-finals on Monday, in what should be a terrific game.


Group A: Hong Kong v Qatar at IA
Hong Kong won the toss and chose to bat
Hong Kong: 129 for 9 off 25 overs (Y.Daswani 58; R.Reddy 2-18, H.Malik 2-25, A.Satish 2-15)
Qatar: 107 all out off 24.4 overs (R. Reddy 31; I. Gidwaani 2-15)
Player of the Match: Yasmin Daswani (Hong Kong)

Pictures by Iftekhar Haider

Tournament page

Filed October 10th, 2010