Pakistan prove too strong for Hong Kong in opening Asia Cup clash
Anshuman Rath’s side could only muster 116 runs in their one-day international as they fall to an eight-wicket defeat in Dubai
Hong Kong fell to an eight-wicket defeat by Pakistan in their opening Asia Cup match in Dubai as they struggled to put up a competitive score against a world-class bowling attack.
Dismissed for just 116 runs in 37.1 overs, Hong Kong bowlers never stood a chance against a strong battling line-up as Pakistan knocked over the runs in 23.4 overs, scoring 120 for two.
Kinchit Shah scored 26 off 50 balls and Aizaz Khan 27 off 47 with openers Nizakat Khan (13) and Anshuman Rath (19) the only other batsmen into double figures.
“Lots of soft dismissals, it was not enough,” said Hong Kong skipper Rath. “It was a good wicket. Credit goes to the Pakistan bowlers.
“Our off-spinners are top class, but we just didn’t have enough runs on the board. I think early on, it swung a bit, there was a bit of bounce. We got through the start, but we couldn’t convert it. One fifty-run partnership is not enough to post a good total”
Man of the match Usman Khan took three wickets for 19 off his 7.3 overs, with the Hong Kong batsmen often beaten for sheer pace by his 130km/h deliveries. Hasan Ali and Shadab Khan took two wickets each.
Pakistan openers Imam-ul-Haq and Fakhar Zaman put on 41 for the first wicket before the latter was caught behind by Scott McKechnie off Ehsan Khan for 24. The same two Hong Kong players combined for the only other Pakistan wicket to fall, that of Babar Azam for 33 with the score at 93.
Imam, who score 50 off 69 balls, and Shoaib Malik (nine) saw Pakistan safely through to their target.
“This was a complete performance. But as captain I saw a couple of things, we’ll work on that as well,” Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed said. “For us to go the distance in the tournament, we should have won this game by nine wickets. We also need to get early wickets with the ball. Early on, the ball didn’t swing and we had alarm bells. We have time to adjust to this before the India game. It’s good to win, but to win against India, we have to be at our very best”
Hong Kong’s next match is against India on Tuesday while Pakistan take on the Indians on Wednesday in group A. Group B features Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.