हिन्दीಕನ್ನಡമലയാളംதமிழ்తెలుగు

HK and UAE to clash in battle of batsmen

Published: Wednesday, November 29, 2000, 18:00 [IST]
 
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Sharjah: Hosts the United Arab Emirates go out as hot favourites to defeat surprise contenders Hong Kong in the final of the Asian Cricket Council Trophy on Friday.Pre-tournament favourites UAE have had a rocky ride into the final but are confident that they will come up trumps in the final against Group A winners Hong Kong. "We are confident that we can beat Hong Kong especially after our win over Malaysia in the semi-final," said UAE captain Saeed Al Saffar.The UAE booked their berth with a six wicket win over the Malaysians, on Wednesday, who were fancied to enter the final from Group A. But a 17-run loss to Hong Kong in their first match put paid to Malaysia's chances of progressing into the final.After scraping to a one-wicket win over Nepal in their opening game, the UAE have scored comfortable wins over minnows Japan and the Maldives in the preliminary round before holding their nerve to ease past Malaysia in the semi-finals.Hong Kong in turn have looked accomplished as they beat Malaysia, Singapore and Kuwait to top Group 'A'. They then romped to a 179-run victory over Nepal in the semi-finals. By qualifying for the final, both Hong Kong and UAE have earned tickets for next April's Asia Cup one-day tournament where they will come up against the big boys India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh."But the tournament is not over for us. We have achieved our first goal which was to qualify for the Asia Cup. Now we want to win this tournament," said Stewart Brew, Hong Kong captain.Both teams will rely on their batsmen in the final. High-flying Hong Kong batsman Rahul Sharma has been in rollicking form, smashing 95 against Singapore and an unbeaten 145 which included 11 fours and six sixes against Nepal. With captain Brew and opener Saleem Malik also in good form, Hong Kong will pin their hopes on the batsmen. The UAE have a number of batsmen, including openers Asim Saeed and Barbar Malik, skipper Al Saffar and dashing middle-order batsmen Nasir Siddiqui and Kashif Khan, to depend on."Our batting goes right down and it is our strength,'' said Al Saffar, confident that his team will finish the tournament in style.

AFP

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