Double century partnership steers Canada to defeat of Hong Kong in Men’s One Day Series

A batter chalking up 100 runs in a match is no run-of-the-mill feat. 

Only about 316 out of 10000 knocks result in a century or higher total, according to a statistical model by Towards Data Science. 

But that 3.16% probability materialised into a trifecta of centuries for three separate players on Saturday at Tin Kwong Road Recreation Ground. 

A toss that landed in favour of Hong Kong’s skipper Nizakat Khan sent Canada’s openers to the pitch to post a competitive total for the home side to chase. After relinquishing what should have been a victory to Malaysia on Wednesday, Hong Kong had one shot left to etch its name in the Men’s One Day Series finals.

An expensive start to the hosts’ bowling attack featured three wides and a boundary in the second over. A nine-ball over early in the innings was characteristic of the remainder of Hong Kong’s effort with the ball – one that conceded 39 extras including 17 wides. Aizaz Khan, who was reintroduced to Hong Kong’s line-up following an injury, took the fast-bowling reins for Hong Kong in the 14th over.

A Pargat Singh square cut missed the hands of Hong Kong’s third man and bounced to the ropes to commence Aizaz Khan’s spell. The boundary was immediately followed with an errant delivery that eluded both Singh and Hong Kong’s wicketkeeper, racing to the boundary for five wides. Nine runs in two balls escalated to 18 through the over, and Canada was cruising at 72/1 after 14. 

Hong Kong’s young pacer Ayush Shukla – often referred to as a “pup” by coach Simon Willis – unleashed a peach of a delivery to Navneet Dhaliwal to outfox the opening batter and trap him in front of the stumps. Following this dismissal in the third over, opener Samra and Singh went on a 242-run assault that lasted nearly 37 overs. 

The duo notched 10 sixes and 14 fours in their barrage. Hong Kong’s bowling arsenal fell short in deciphering the puzzle posed by the veteran Singh and 17-year-old youngster Samra as Canada’s WASP surpassed 300 runs soon after the halfway mark. A low catch slipped in and out of Anshuman Rath’s hands in the 27th over to allow Singh to stay on his crease. 

Seven overs later, a big top edge soared over the ropes for the powerhouse batsman as he hoisted his bat and helmet to celebrate his century. Singh went on to chalk up 126 runs off 112 deliveries. 

Samra didn’t allow Singh’s dismissal to cause a jitter in his knock, as he followed his veteran with a century of his own before Hong Kong’s skipper nestled his much-needed ousting. 

On the back of two tons and a rapid 50 runs from Shreyas Movva, Canada concluded its innings with an ominous 367 figure on the board. 

A switch-up in Hong Kong’s opening pair saw Yasim Murtaza join Rath, replacing Martin Coetzee who was out ill. Both Rath and Murtaza’s innings perished before the 10-over mark, ushering in the destructive duo of Babar Hayat and Nizakat Khan. 

The former forced his own dismissal following an 81-run partnership as he sailed the ball straight into the hands of Navneet Dhaliwal at cover. Hayat was on his haunches as soon as he punched the ball and allowed the fielder to grab an effortless snare. 

Aizaz Khan was next to take his crease – where he would stay for the subsequent 104 runs. A steady partnership transpired between the eventual centurion and right-handed Adit Gorawara. The latter’s fall after a 93-run partnership and the expulsion of Daniyal Bukhari ignited Nasrulla Rana’s inception on the pitch.

A patient approach to the start of Aizaz Khan’s innings had him at 11 runs off 20 deliveries. The all-round stalwart found his rhythm on the crease before unleashing all of Canada’s bowlers to the boundaries with ease. Undeterred by an unfavourable bowling spell, Aizaz Khan assumed the mantle of Hong Kong’s linchpin as the team’s fate was largely his to write. 

Rana and Aizaz Khan exploded for a 47-run partnership off just 18 balls – a batting tandem that delivered a dose of optimism to the Hong Kong pavilion as the squad was striking closer to its required run rate. But the transient stint was thwarted when Rana lofted the leather to the deep square leg fielder, after which Hong Kong suffered its final four wickets in as many overs and were bowled out for 311. 

Aizaz Khan's hundred proved to be in vain (Cricket Hong Kong, China)
Aizaz Khan’s hundred proved to be in vain (Cricket Hong Kong, China)

Aizaz Khan’s retaliation to a double-century showcase from Canada’s pair proffered Hong Kong a peek at victory through its innings – but the 368 target ultimately proved exorbitant for the hosts on Saturday.

Feature image: Cricket Hong Kong, China

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