Dubai : Hong Kong are in prime position to secure the only remaining slot in the Asia Cup 2022 tournament, scheduled to commence in the UAE on August 27, with the team brushing aside the challenge of gritty Kuwait by eight wickets in the Qualifier at Al Amerat in Oman to move top of the table.
The only hurdle now remaining in Hong Kong’s path to securing a place alongside India and Pakistan in the Asia Cup will come from hosts UAE. Led by Nizakat Khan, Hong Kong will face UAE on Wednesday night in the last Asia Cup Qualifier match, with the winner virtually assured of a place in tournament proper.
Hong Kong are currently on four points after having won both their matches in Qualifiers, while UAE are on two points. A win for UAE will virtually help them secure the last remaining berth in the Asia Cup, and Hong Kong will bow out.
On Tuesday in the match against Kuwait, Hong Kong’s Babar Hayat was at his devastating best, making an unbeaten 53 from 30 balls to ensure a comfortable chase.
Set a target of 152 for victory by Kuwait, Hong Kong overhauled the target for the loss of two wickets with in 17.4 overs.Yasim Murtaza (46 off 33) and skipper Nizakat Khan (50 off 43) at the top of the order set up Hong Kong’s bid to run down Kuwait’s target, with Murtaza’s 2/11 earlier also making him the pick of the bowlers.Hong Kong have matters in their own hands, with a win over UAE enough to top the group.
A defeat would put the teams level on four points, though Nizakat’s side would most likely lose out to the Emiratis due to an inferior net run rate.Hong Kong are yet to beat UAE in an official T20I, though their last meeting was back in October 2019 at the T20 World Cup Qualifier.
Kuwait, on two points, too have an outside chance of securing the last Asia Cup berth, but for that they will have to win by a huge margin against Singapore on Wednesday because of the inferior net run rate (NRR).