Pakistan set up its second match against arch-rival India in as many weeks with a record 155-run win over Hong Kong in a must-win Asian Cup in Sharjah on Friday. Mohammad Rizwan had to work hard on 78 of his 57 balls as Pakistan put on a much-needed boost to 193 for two against Hong Kong. Hong Kong was simply blown away in the chase with Pakistan’s bowling swing proving too good for them. Their innings folded in just 38 out of 10.4 rounds, sending Pakistan into the Super 4s as the second-placed team from Group A. This was Pakistan’s heaviest win in the shortest format.
Pakistan will meet India, the top team of Group A, on Sunday.
Hong Kong showed some potential with the match against India but they simply surrendered to the onslaught of Pakistani bowling.
It was a procession after Naseem Shah attacked twice in the third quarter of the innings. Then it was the turn of the spinners, Shadab Khan (four for eight) and Mohammad Nawaz (three for five), dealing damage as they shared seven brackets.
Shadab’s serve was too good for opposing smashers before he ended Hong Kong’s half with a straight goal to knock out Mohammad Ghaznafar.
The outing was a good learning experience for Hong Kong, an all-amateur team having to qualify for the tournament. Like they did with India, Hong Kong’s pitchers did well to keep Pakistan quiet for most of the innings before losing. With Rizwan and Fakhar Zaman (53 out of 41) struggling to find the boundary, Pakistan scores 64 for 1/10 of the pass.
Khushdil Shah put in 15 35 tackles late in the game to ensure Pakistan had a strong overall game.
Skipper Babar Azam (9–8) suffered the second defeat in as many innings of the tournament. Trying to get up to speed, Babar made an aerial hit over the pitchers’ heads but ended up hitting straight back to spinner Ehsan Khan, who darted to his right for a good catch.
Rizwan was only able to find the rope in the fifth inning as he cut perpendicular to average player Ayush Shukla before guiding it towards the third man with four hind legs.
The first six innings took place in the 11th round when Rizwan stepped out and turned Ghazanafar’s foot to maximize the score.
With Pakistan in dire need of big hits, Fakhar was able to release some of the pressure by slamming the spinning spheres for a few six minutes in the bull corner area.
Struggling between the heat and humidity, Rizwan was able to change gears after completing his half-century.
Inexperienced in dangerous situations, Hong Kong’s pitchers once again lost the plot in the death match, leaving Pakistan with 77 shots in the final 30 balls.
The 20th match bowling alone by Aizaz Khan yielded 29 runs and it included 5 byes and 4 sixes from Khushdil Shah’s sticks.
Topics covered in this article