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Malaysia and Hong Kong finally produced the first closely contested match of the series with Malaysia defeating Hong Kong in the fourth match of the series. Considering the rankings of the two sides on the ICC ladder, it was rather surprising to see Hong Kong go down so easily. The two teams are now set to meet each other for one last time in the fifth match of the series. Malaysia will be looking to script their first white-wash ever over Hong Kong whereas Hong Kong will be looking to salvage some pride by winning this last match of the series. The match between the two sides is to be played on 26th April at Kinrara Oval, Kuala Lumpur.
With a fantastic show in all series so far, Malaysia have impressed on and all. Not only did they won all the matches gone so far, four to be precise, they did so with considerable ease, and exhibited complete dominance in all of the four matches.
Slowly, but steadily, Malaysia have only improved their batting in the tournament so far. In the first match, they scored 123 for 3 before rain cut short their innings. They followed it up with the scores of 138 and 152 and then scored 167 in their last match. Virandeep Singh has been in fantastic form and is coming off a splendid fifty in the last match. Khizar Hayat and Ahmed Faiz contributed with 28 and 43 respectively as Malaysia scored 167 runs batting first.
Unlike all other matches, Malaysian bowlers found it difficult to pick up early wickets as Hong Kong got off to a flying start. However, as and when the ball got softer, Malaysian spinners came into the action, Hong Kong batsmen found it difficult to get going. Anwar Rahman strangled them for runs in the middle-overs and conceded just 19 runs in his four overs. He picked up a wicket in the process as well. Pavandeep Singh returned with impressive numbers of 2 for 26 in his four overs. With a fantastic show of death and middle-overs bowling, Malaysia eventually won the match by 13 runs.
Aminuddin Ramly, Fitri Sham, Khizar Hayat , Mohamed Arief, Nazril Rahman, Pavandeep Singh, Sharvin Muniandy, Syazrul Idrus, Syed Aziz, Virandeep Singh, Anwar Rahman.
Coming into the series, Hong Kong were clearly favorites. However, they not only failed to adapt to the conditions in Malaysia, they also failed to play to their potential consistently. Only in the last couple of matches have Hong Kong improved their game and they certainly have a good chance to finally win a match in the series and bid it adieu on a happy note.
In the last match, Hong Kong's batsmen finally looked comfortable in the middle. All of their six top-order batsmen got starts, but much to their disappointment, none of those six managed to make it big and that turned out to be the difference between the two sides. Nizakat Khan scored 28 off just 13 deliveries and looked in superb touch before getting caught on a relatively harmless delivery by Pavandeep Singh. KD Shah tried hard to take Hong Kong home with his 12-ball 24, but could not do so alone as wickets kept tumbling around him.
Earlier in the day, with the ball, their bowlers did a reasonable job to keep Malaysia to a reasonable total. Mohsin Khan was the pick of their bowlers as he picked up 3 wickets for 37 runs in his four overs. Apart from him, it was Aizaz Khan who did some damage to Malaysian batting. Khan picked up 2 for 35.
Aftab Hussain, Ehsan Khan, KD Shah, Aizaz Khan, Mohsin Khan, Nasrulla Rana, Nizakat Khan, Scott McKechnie, Shahid Wasif, W Barkat, Waqas Khan.
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As we have moved forward in the series, the contests have grown closer. Hong Kong looked like winning the last before losing the initiative in the death overs. Malaysia, on the other hand, did a reasonable job and have actually improved with the bat as the series as progressed. While Hong Kong are still a better team on paper, Malaysia are playing at home, have their players in-form, and have the momentum. Beating Malaysia will be a big challenge for Hong Kong in the upcoming contest. Betting on Malaysia's win would be the way to go in this upcoming contest.
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