Cricket

Pakistan cruises past Hong Kong

First-ball duck: Tanwir Afzal looks back to see his stumps rearranged by Usman Khan.

First-ball duck: Tanwir Afzal looks back to see his stumps rearranged by Usman Khan.   | Photo Credit: AFP

Usman, Shadab and Imam, the architects of the comfortable win

Pakistan warmed up for Wednesday’s big battle with India by making short work of qualifier Hong Kong in a Group A tie of the Asia Cup here on Sunday.

On a day that saw only the toss and the first over going in favour of Hong Kong upon its return to the continental extravaganza after a decade, the Pakistan bowlers, especially leggie Shadab Khan and pacer Usman Khan, shot out Hong Kong for 116. After starting its chase even before the dinner break, Pakistan strolled home with eight wickets and 26.2 overs to spare.

Nizakat Khan gave Hong Kong the perfect start with a couple of stylish flicks off Mohammad Amir’s first over that fetched 11. Usman and Amir then tightened the screws, conceding just 17 in the next seven, a period which witnessed Nizakat’s run out off a direct throw from Shadab at point.

By the time Shadab was introduced into the attack, captain Anshuman Rath and Chris Carter had joined Nizakat in the dressing room. The leggie ensured an early finish to the Hong Kong innings with a double-wicket maiden to reduce the side to 44 for five in 16 overs. Shadab’s first ball deceived Babar Hayat in flight and wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed whipped off the bails. Two balls later, Ehsan Khan missed a straight one and was out leg-before.

Three-figure mark

Kinchit Shah and Aizaz Khan took Hong Kong past the three-figure mark with a 53-run partnership. However, in the 31st over, Usman broke the stand by castling Aizaz with one that came in after pitching. The bowler, who went on to take two more wickets in the same over, was adjudged Man-of-the-Match.

The Pakistan openers — the in-form Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq — had little difficulty in negotiating the half-hour before the break. Even though Fakhar fell minutes after resumption, giving Ehsan and Hong Kong some reason to cheer, Imam and Babar looked in little trouble during their 52-run association.

Ehsan enjoyed another success as Babar nicked him to Carter in a virtual replay of Fakhar’s dismissal. Imam raised the first fifty of the match before Pakistan overhauled the target even before the halfway mark.

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Printable version | Apr 9, 2020 2:07:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/pakistan-cruises-past-hong-kong/article24962363.ece

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