ASIA CUP 2018
Cricbuzz Staff •
It was Shadab Khan’s double strike in the bowler’s first over that denied Hong Kong an opportunity of a fightback. © Getty
Staying true to the game’s build-up, Hong Kong’s batting proved quite a mismatch for Pakistan’s red-hot bowling attack in the second Asia Cup game at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Sunday (September 16). Hong Kong could only muster 116 in 37.1 overs, the lowest all-out ODI total in Dubai, which Pakistan chased down with 26.2 overs to spare.
It was a good toss to win for Anshuman Rath in very hot conditions but Pakistan’s relentless bowling attack kept striking with the sheer power of its diversity, preying on Hong Kong’s nerves and technical deficiency. Mohammad Amir was a touch full to start with, rightly trying to extract swing, but Usman Khan found enough bounce to trouble the openers. That said, it was a run-out that got Pakistan going. Nizakat Khan perished to Shadab Khan’s arm at backward point, surprisingly evading the throw instead of trying to get back into the crease.
Faheem Ashraf struck in his first over, having Anshuman Rath edging behind to keep his hot run with the ball intact. Hasan Ali then followed up with Christopher Carter’s wicket, leaving Hong Kong reeling at 39 for 3.
It was Shadab Khan’s double strike in the bowler’s first over that denied Hong Kong an opportunity of a fightback. Babar Hayat and Ehsan Khan fell in a space of three balls, and Hong Kong could never recover from that double-wicket maiden. Aizaz Khan and Kinchit Shah put up some fight, tallying 53 runs for the sixth wicket, but the former fell to an inspired spell of bowling by Usman, who picked three wickets in an over to raze through the tail.
Ehsan Nawaz’s run-out was how the last wicket fell, meaning it ended like it started. Chasing, Fakhar Zaman scored a run-a-ball 24 to keep the scoreboard ticking but fell in the second over after the dinner break, only for Babar Azam to join Imam-ul-Haq in the middle and drive the innings forward.
Imam-ul-Haq was controversially not given out LBW to Ehsan Khan on 24, first on the field and then by the third umpire when Hong Kong pressed for the DRS review. There seemed to be no inside edge, and the spike on the snickometer appeared to have come only after the ball was well past the bat and thudded into the pad, but the umpire thought otherwise. It cost Hong Kong again almost immediately, as they couldn’t review Imam-ul-Haq plumb LBW off Nadeem Ahmed. The ball-tracking showed three reds.
Babar Azam’s breezy innings of 33 off 36, which also saw him become the joint second-fastest to 2000 ODI runs, helped Pakistan make light work of the rest of the chase, and the Sarfraz Ahmed-led side romped home in the 24th over.
Brief Scores: Hong Kong 116 in 37.1 overs (Aizaz Khan 27, Kinchit Shah 26; Usman Khan 3-19) lost to Pakistan 120/2 in 23.4 overs (Imam-ul-Haq 50*, Babar Azam 33; Ehsan Khan 2-34) by 8 wickets.