In his first competitive outing for Malaysia in almost three years, Khizar Hayat Durrani captured five wickets to lead the hosts to a 21-run win over Hong Kong under the Duckworth-Lewis method in the first match of the Twenty20 International series at the Kinrara Oval on Thursday.
Playing under lights, the first of five matches in the series was twice interrupted by rain as captain Ahmad Faiz Mohammad Noor’s 40 led Malaysia to 123-3 in 16.3 overs before Hong Kong, set a target of 83 from nine overs, fell short when they only reached 61-8.
The win was World No 39 Malaysia’s first over 20th-ranked Hong Kong in T20 cricket after two previous defeats in 2013 and 2014 as Khizar, whose five wickets in two overs cost just four runs, celebrated his return to international cricket in style in what was also his T20I debut.
“I can’t describe my feelings to be back playing for Malaysia. For me it’s something proud to be playing for a national team, no matter which country,” said man-of-the-match Khizar, who first played for Malaysia in 2014. “To get five wickets in two overs, coming back after three years with all the pressure on you, it’s down to all the support I get from family, friends, coaches and teammates.”
Hong Kong quickly fell to 12-3 inside three overs after Syazrul Ezat Idrus dismissed Niyazat Khan (4) before Peshawar-born off-spinner Khizar took two wickets in four balls.
Khizar, who last played for the national team at the 2017 World Cricket League Division 3 tournament in Uganda, bowled Kinchit Shah (1) and had Scott McKechnie out for a duck.
Haroon Arshad (18) hit back-to-back fours in the sixth over off Syazrul in 32-run stand with Shahid Wasif (26 not out) to lift Hong Kong but Fitri Sham had the former stumped with the visitors needing 39 runs off 15 balls.
Khizar, 30, returned for another spell to capture three more wickets as he tempted Aizaz Khan to sky a shot for his third wicket before Waqas Khan and Hamed Khan fell in successive deliveries.
Earlier, Virandeep Singh, doubling up as wicketkeeper in Shafiq Sharif’s absence, and Bhushan Save featured in a new opening partnership which lasted just 15 runs.
Bhushan, making his official debut for Malaysia after joining the national team on their tour of Nepal last month, skied the ball from Kinchit to the cover fielder for seven after facing 11 deliveries.
That brought Faiz and Virandeep together as they set about raising Malaysia’s run-rate with a 61-run stand before the latter was bowled by Aizaz for 32 after smashing three boundaries and two sixes off 23 balls.
After the first rain delay, Aftab Hussain captured his first wicket on his T20I debut by having Faiz caught near the boundary line after the skipper scored 40 runs with six boundaries to leave Malaysia at 88-3.
Another shower forced the teams off again and brought Malaysia’s innings to an end with Syed Aziz Syed Mubarak and Aminuddin Ramly unbeaten on 27 and nine respectively.
“The wicket was a bit wet but the boys played very well until the end. It was difficult to bat but we did well there and we’re looking forward to see more of Khizar now that he is back in the team,” said Faiz, who felt Malaysia could have posted 160 runs in normal conditions.
The second match of the series, originally scheduled in Hong Kong before being switched to Kinrara due to the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak, is on Friday (Feb 21) at 7.30pm.
Malaysia 123-3 in 16.3 overs (Ahmad Faiz 40, Virandeep Singh 32, Syed Aziz 27 not out, Kinchit Shah 1-15)
Hong Kong 61-8 in 9 overs (Shahid Wasif 26 not out, Haroon Arshad 18, Khizar Hayat 5-4)
Result: Malaysia won by 21 runs (D/L method)
Series: Malaysia lead 1-0