KARACHI: Pakistan overpowered Australia to extend its unbeaten run while Hong Kong and United Arab Emirates (UAE) outsmarted Canada and Nepal respectively in the third round of the inaugural MCW Over 40 Cricket Global Cup 2023 here on Friday.
Hong Kong’s left-arm spinner Najeeb Amar came up with a stunning bowling performance, returning the figures of five for five off nine overs in which seven were maidens. Ankur Vasishta, Abdul Haq and Rabin Joshi also shared limelight by scoring centuries for their respective countries.
The 92-run unbroken fourth wicket stand between Hassan Raza, who was declared Man of the Match, and Tariq Haroon guided Pakistan to a comfortable seven-wicket victory over Australia at the National Stadium.
Hassan struck five boundaries in his unbeaten 59 off 80 while Tariq, who displayed more flamboyance, smashed one six and six fours in his 56 off 67 balls to help the hosts reach the target of 200 with two and a half overs remaining.
Opener Muhammad Ilyas also notched up a half-century, whacking one six and nine fours in his 68-ball 59 which allowed Pakistan to keep pace with the asking rate despite losing a couple of early wickets after being set a target of 200 in 45 overs. Chris Dickson, Tim McDonald and Mark Leard were the wicket-takers for the Aussies.
Batting first, after winning the toss, Australia opted for a sedate start as 41 runs came in the first 10 overs. The innings was given momentum by a dashing knock of 65 off 71 balls by Steve Paulsen who hit 10 boundaries. Tim Bott (30 off 43 balls) and Justin Poole (24 off 19 balls) also threatened to cut loose but fine bowling by the trio of Imran Ali (3-30), Waqas Ahmed (2-22) and Kashif Siddiqui (2-34) pulled it back and the Australians were bowled out for 199 in 42.2 overs.
Ankur Vasishta’s brilliant unbeaten century enabled Hong Kong to trounce Canada by seven wickets at the NBP Sports Complex. He blasted two sixes and 13 fours in his 107 off 109 which guided his team to the target of 175 with more than five overs remaining, although they could score only 30 runs in the first 10 overs of their innings.