India Edge Hong Kong In Asia Cup Thriller

September 19, 2018

NewsStandOnline.Net (19-September-2018): India progressed to the Super Fours of the 2018 Asia Cup with a hard-fought 26-win over Hong Kong at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium last night.

India handed Syed Khaleel Ahmed his debut with Jasprit Bumrah being rested ahead of the fixture against Pakistan. Hardik Pandya also didn’t feature in the XI as Ambati Rayudu and Kedar Jadhav made a comeback with India giving an extended run to Dinesh Karthik.

Hong Kong skipper Anshuman Rath invited Rohit Sharma’s men to bat first. Rohit along with Dhawan added 45 runs for the first wicket before the stand-in skipper, who looked threatening all the while, got out trying to clear the inner circle. Ambati Rayudu joined forces with Shikhar Dhawan but took his own time to settle. He made merry of the loose deliveries and smashed them to the fence when required.

Dhawan’s dry run ended when he got past the fifty run mark but the left-hander wasn’t in a mood to let go of an easy run-scoring opportunity. He converted his start as Rayudu from the other end kept flourishing.

Rayudu accelerated once he got to his fifty but lost his wicket to a fine catch, trying to attempt an uppercut. The 116-run stand was followed by a 79-run partnership between Dhawan and Dinesh Karthik, largely dominated by the former who also got to his 14th ODI ton and took off from there.

But once Dhawan fell on 127, India found it hard to score runs at a brisk pace. MS Dhoni (0), Dinesh Karthik (33), Bhuvneshwar Kumar (9) and Shardul Thakur (0) couldn’t get a move on with India adding only 45 runs in the last 56 balls post-Dhawan’s dismissal.

India Edge Hong Kong In Asia Cup Thriller

Chasing 286 for a victory, Hong Kong’s openers Nizakat Khan and skipper Anshuman Rath, batted out of their skins to provide a positive start. Nizakat played the aggressor’s role while Rath played second fiddle and rotated the strike.

The openers had added 56 runs for the first 10 overs when a Shardul Thakur over that involved three no-balls gave them the required firepower. Nizakat got to his fifty with a big six over midwicket as India’s hunt for the first breakthrough continued.

India’s spinners curtailed the run-flow but the resolute pair was in no mood to give up. Nizakat was stuck in the middle but Rath took over from him and kept hitting the odd boundary as Hong Kong went past the 150-run mark in the 31st over.

Kuldeep Yadav came to India’s rescue, removing Rath for 73 but it was Khaleel Ahmed who got the big wicket of Nizakat Khan for 93 as Hong Kong started to lose momentum. Khaleel dismissed Carter in his next over but Hayat kept Hong Kong in the hunt with two lusty blows.

With 88 to win off the final 10 overs, Chahal removed Hayat as India set their sight on a victory. Kinchit and Ehsan resisted for a while before Chahal struck twice within the space of three balls to end Hong Kong’s challenge.

India’s bowlers bowled tight lines in unison to deny an upset as the associates fell 25 runs short.  India meet Pakistan on September 19 in a Group ‘A’ dead rubber.