NAGPUR, March 8 - Zimbabwe relied on their experience in international cricket to tame a fighting Hong Kong by 14 runs in the opening match of the World Twenty20 Qualifiers at VCA stadium, here today.
Invited to bat in the Group B contest, Zimbabwe posted 158 for eight and then overcame some anxious moments before managing to restrict the rivals to 144 for six.
Zimbabwe opener Vusimuzi Sibanda top scored with a 59-run knock that came off 46 balls with five boundaries
and a six.
Down the order, Elton Chigumbura played an unbeaten cameo of 30 runs that helped the side cross the 150-run mark.
Hong Kong skipper Tanwir Afzal returned with impressive figures of 2 for 19 in his four overs while young paceman Aizaz Khan also scalped 2 wickets.
Hong Kong made a slow start to their chase but accelerated in the middle overs before losing quick wickets towards the fag end to fall short by 14 runs.
Hong Kong players showed a lot of heart and at one stage looked on course to score an upset win when skipper Tanwir Afzal went hammer
Opener Jamie Atkinson batted extremely well by scoring 53 off 44 balls but he got out in the 17th over. Hong Kong then lost Anshuman Rath (13) Nizakat Khan (0) in successive balls in the 19th over.
Skipper Afzal struck an unbeaten 31 in just 17 balls but that proved insufficient as it only reduced the margin of defeat. His fearless batting and ability to hit hard and long was a big plus for Hong Kong.
Donald Tiripano (2/27) and Tendai Choitara (2/28) shared four wickets between them.
Zimbabwe next play Scotland while Hong Kong will clash with Afghanistan on Thursday at the same venue.
Brief Scores: Zimbabwe 158 for 8 in 20 overs (V Sibanda 59, E Chigumbura 30 not out; T Afzal 2/19)
Hong Kong 144 for 6 in 20 overs (J Atkinson 53, T Afzal 31 not out; D Tiripano 2/27, T Chitara 2/28). � PTI