Pakistan vs Hong Kong, Asian Cup: Pakistan enter Super 4 with record win over Hong Kong

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Pakistan staged a second showdown against arch-rivals India in as many weeks with a record 155-point victory over Hong Kong in a must-see Asian Cup game in Sharjah on Friday. Mohammad Rizwan had to work hard for his 78 from 57 as Pakistan earned a well-deserved final to post 193 for two against Hong Kong. Hong Kong were simply blown away in the chase with Pakistan’s bowling attack proving too good for them. Their innings folded for just 38 in 10.4 overs, sending Pakistan into the Super 4 as the second team in Group A. It was Pakistan’s biggest win in the shortest format.

Pakistan will meet India, who topped Group A, on Sunday.

Hong Kong had shown some potential with the bat against India, but they simply surrendered to the Pakistani bowling attack.

It was a procession after Naseem Shah struck twice in the third of the inning. Then it was the turn of the spinners, Shadab Khan (four for eight) and Mohammad Nawaz (three for five), to do the damage as they shared seven wickets.

Shadab’s googlies were far too good for opposing hitters before he finished the Hong Kong innings with a straighter inning to dismiss Mohammad Ghaznafar.

The outing was a good learning curve for Hong Kong, a team full of amateurs who needed to qualify for the tournament. As they had done against India, the Hong Kong bowlers did well to keep Pakistan quiet for the majority of innings before losing their way. While Rizwan and Fakhar Zaman (53 out of 41) struggle to find the limits, Pakistan hit 64 for one out of 10 overs.

Khushdil Shah came on with a 35 from 15 towards the end to ensure Pakistan had a solid total.

Skipper Babar Azam (9 out of 8) suffered his second failure in as many rounds of the tournament. Trying to pick up the pace, Babar attempted an aerial shot over the heads of the bowlers but ended up directly hitting spinner Ehsan Khan, who dove to his right to take a nice catch.

Rizwan couldn’t find the ropes until the fifth as he squarely cut off middle pacemaker Ayush Shukla before guiding him to the third man for a back-to-back four.

The first six innings came in the 11th when Rizwan came out to spin the Ghazanafar legs to tonker straight for max.

With Pakistan desperate for big hits, Fakhar managed to release the pressure by crushing the spinners for some six in the cow corner area.

Struggling amid the heat and humidity, Rizwan was able to shift gears after completing his half-century.

Promoted

Lacking experience in critical situations, Hong Kong bowlers once again lost the plot in the deathmatch, allowing Pakistan to collect 77 runs from the last 30 balls.

The 20th over played by Aizaz Khan alone yielded 29 runs and it included five byes and four sixes from Khushdil Shah’s bat.

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