By Richard Lockwood

Two outstanding individual performances helped Hong Kong to a comprehensive victory over Iran at Royals on day four of the ACC Women’s Premier. Yip Sze Wan played the perfect opener’s innings as she made 82 to see her team to a total of 197 for 8 in their 40 overs and then 14-year-old Marina Lamplough took a wicket with the first ball she had bowled for Hong Kong on the way to remarkable figures of 5 for 4 as Iran were bowled out for 38 as they were defeated by 159 runs.

At the start of play Hong Kong were looking to bounce back from their narrow defeat against China while Iran were hoping to build on an improved performance against the same opposition when they managed to bat out their 40 overs. A Hong Kong victory would take them to four points and still able to win the competition while Iran were simply looking for their first victory.

There was a quiet start to the day after Hong Kong had won the toss and chosen to bat as openers Yip Sze Wan and To Yee Shan were content to push singles into a deep-set field against some accurate bowling from Avideh Gilani and Tahereh Miraknezhad.

It was an interesting contest between the two tiny Chinese openers and the powerful Iranian bowlers, but Yip Sze Wan and To Yee Shan showed there was more to their game than good technique as both hit boundaries through the off-side when given the necessary width.

Hong Kong's openers had shared a partnership of 49 in their match against Bhutan but here did complete the fifty partnership before the first wicket was lost to a run out to a direct hit from the edge of the 30 yard circle by Tahereh Miraknezhad. To Yee Shan had made 18 and Hong Kong were 51 for 1 in the 12th over.

Clare Crewsdon is a tall Australian who has played for New South Wales women and she has already hit a boundary to start her innings confidently. She may be an experienced cricketer and a professional coach but the Iranian bowler Fahimeh Khademabolfazi was too clever for her as she was run out backing up too far as Hong Kong lost their second wicket on 59.

Iran's women cricketers deserve great credit for their knowledge of the detailed laws of cricket, as well as their manager Monir Habibi for passing on all the skills she has learnt at various ACC scoring and umpiring courses. Hong Kong had been made to work hard for their runs in the first hour's play.

Iran have conceded more than 200 runs in each of their two matches in the competition but they were still showing great enthusiasm after already spending long spells in the field. Yip Sze Wan was indeed showing she is a Natural as an opener as she followed an unbeaten innings against Bhutan with another composed display against Iran as she batted through the first 20 overs.

Iran completed their third run out of the innings as this time it was Mariko Hill who was punished by backing up too far. Hong Kong finally broke the shackles imposed by Iran's bowling and fielding as 16 runs came from one over. Yip Sze Wan hit two boundaries through the covers as she moved to 46 and followed with a pull for four at the start of the next over which brought her to her fifty from 81 balls. She had built her innings very carefully and was now taking advantage as Iran seemed finally to be running out of steam.

Iran could take encouragement from taking a fourth wicket as a bowler finally gained some reward after exactly two hours in the field. Shanzeen Shahzad was caught at cover off Mahdoyeh Soltaninejad for 17 with the total on 142

Iran had kept the field largely unchanged throughout the innings with a ring of fielders on the edge of the circle but the tactic was paying dividends as they achieved the fourth run out of the innings as Ishitaa Gidwani was run out attempting a second run against the strong arm of Tahereh Miraknezhad.

Yip Sze Wan had a good chance to make the first hundred in the ACC Women's Premier if she could bat out the 40 overs as there were still gaps in the field for her to hit the necessary boundaries which she celebrated in delight with her partner on each occasion. She just needed to avoid being involved in any more run outs.

The batting powerplay was delayed until the 37th over but there was no need for Iran to adjust the field as there were still no fielders on the boundary and Yip Sze Wan gratefully pulled the ball for four. But her innings ended on 82 as she was caught behind off Mahdiyeh Soltaninejad who claimed her second wicket. She faced 118 balls and batted for 145 minutes with seven fours and appears very well suited to the 40-over game.

Hong Kong lost their seventh wicket on 189 as Mahdiyeh Soltaninejad took her third wicket as Iran kept going to the very end of the 40 overs. They would have been pleased to have conceded less than 200 for the first time as Hong Kong finished on 197 for 8 as captain Nasimeh Rahshetaei fielded well off her own bowling and achieved the fifth run out of the innings. A target of 198 was always likely to prove out of reach for Iran but the openers Mahdiyeh Soltaninejad and Hanieh Golzari began by defending stoutly as they pushed forward to the pace of Mariko Hill and Ho Hung Ying.

Iran lost their first wicket with the score on 14 as Mahdiyeh Soltaninejad at last attempted an aggressive shot only to hit the ball straight up in the air. She had made a single from 24 balls.

Iran lost their second wicket as Fahimeh Khademabolfazi was lbw to Marina Lamplough's first ball and the new bowler produced another straight ball which bowled Safoura Zivariomid. Young Marina made it three wickets ifive balls as she also bowled Mehri Dahhmardehzadeh with her next ball. She didn't get a hat-trick but three wickets in an over is an impressive start.

The 14-year-old showed the virtue of bowling full and straight as Hanieh Golzari was lbw for 12 from 43 balls but at least the opener had managed to bat for almost an hour and to reach double figures. Clare Crewdson also pitched the ball full and straight to account for Mina Delfani who was bowled as Iran slipped to 29 for 6.

Young Marina was being watched by her proud parents who were delighted when she claimed her fifth wicket by bowling Roya Kaheni who had finally hit a boundary for Iran and then Clare Crewdson took her second wicket in the same way to leave Iran on 38 for 8.

The end came quickly as the ninth wicket fell to a diving catch close to the wicket off the bowling of left-arm spinner Chan Sau Ha and the last wicket saw another wicket fall to a straight ball as Tahereh Miraknezhad was bowled by Mariko Hill. Iran were bowled out for 38 and Hong Kong had won by 159 runs.

Hong Kong had defeated Iran in emphatic fashion and owed a great deal to two outstanding individual performances. Yip Sze Wan used all her experience to make a flawless 82 in Hong Kong's innings of 197 for 8 but her performance was then matched by 14-year-old Marina Lamplough who took a wicket with her first ball for Hong Kong, took three wickets in her first over and finished with figures of five for four. Deservedly, the pair were jointly named players of the match.

ACC Women’s Premier 2014

Day 4, Hong Kong v Iran at RCGC
Hong Kong won the toss and chose to bat
Hong Kong: 197 for 8 off 40 overs (N.Yip 82; M.Soltaninejad 3-46)
Iran: 38 all out off 22.5 overs (M.Lamplough 5-4)
Player of the Match: Yip Sze Wan and Marina Lamplough (Hong Kong)

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Filed February 14th, 2014