Hong Kong beat the UAE to clinch Asia Cup berth

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Hong Kong beat the UAE by two wickets (DLS method) in a rain-affected final of the Asia Cup Qualifier to book their place in the competition later this month.

A stunning five-for from Aizaz Khan helped Hong Kong restrict UAE to 176/9 in 24 overs, the innings affected by a long rain break, before Hong Kong beat the target of 179 with three balls to spare.

Hong Kong, with the benefit of knowing their target, started well with Nizakat Khan (38 off 20) and Anshuman Rath (28 off 25) two of their most destructive batsmen.

The duo added 64 runs in six overs to put Hong Kong on the frontfoot before Rohan Mustafa had Nizakat’s wicket, sending him back for a 20-ball 38.

But Christopher Carter (33 in 32 balls) and Ehsan Khan (29 in 24) made sure the game was swinging back in Hong Kong’s favour with a 53-run stand for the fifth wicket.

It could have gone either way, but Hong Kong held their nerve to seal their spot in the Asia Cup on September 16.

For the UAE, Ashfaq Ahmed played a blinder and was unlucky to finish on the losing team, scoring 79 in 51 balls.

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Red Bull athlete Chirag Suri stars for UAE at Asia Cup cricket qualifiers

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Rising star: Chirag Suri has been in great form in the Asia Cup qualifiers

Batsman Chirag Suri has been in sensational form as the UAE’s performances in the Asia Cup qualifiers, in Kuala Lumpur, has seen them ranked number one in the tournament.

After back-to-back games the UAE defeated Singapore by 215 runs and Nepal by 78 runs last week to position themselves nicely for the final against Hong Kong (UAE: 05:30on Thursday.

One of the shining lights of the competition has been batsman Suri, who’s in the form of his life hitting 111 runs against Singapore and 65 against Nepal making him the tournament’s leading scorer. “The last few games have been really good, I’ve been training really hard,” he told Sport360°. “The potential to play against India and Pakistan in the finals, taking place in the UAE, has been a great source of inspiration. They’re two massive games and so there has been excitement and nervousness in equal measure.”
“I’m hitting the ball well and getting the runs which is what matters. I’ve been performing consistently and I think I’m a more mature batsman now and pleased with my runs in the competition. I’ve definitely got an eye on the personal accolades but I’ve got to put the team first. I don’t want to be the highest scorer and then not qualify for the games against the big nations. I want to win games for the team, I think that’s the key and also the way to get noticed personally.”
The 23-year-old has made his way through the ranks of the UAE team, notably via Red Bull’s Campus Cricket events, which has seen college cricketers play in tournaments in India and Sri Lanka.
“It’s competitions like the Campus Cricket that really help young cricketers like myself, you get experience playing in different countries at a young age which helps prepare you for tournaments like the Asia Cup,” he added.
On the hectic qualifying schedule from Malaysia Suri added: “It’s been a tough tournament having twice played 50-over games back-to-back here so it’s been hard on the body. Our days off were just spent relaxing. It’s not as hot as Dubai but it’s very humid here so we’ve just been resting up and I’ve been drinking a can of Red Bull before each game to get my energy levels up.
“As a team, we’ve had to adapt our game a bit because of the change in conditions. The thing with playing in Malaysia is you’ve always got rain around the corner so you’ve got to bear that in mind.” The Asia Cup kick off in the UAE on September 15.

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Hello, the Sport360 team is in place to provide you with the latest news, comment and analysis on all things cricket.

Our daily blog will ensure you have all the latest updates throughout the day but we want you to get involved too.

Tell us your thoughts on what’s happening by tweeting @Sport360.

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Shaw (l) and Jadeja.

Shaw (l) and Jadeja.

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UAE coach: Dougie Brown.

UAE coach: Dougie Brown.

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