On a hot day in Dubai, Pakistan started off their campaign with a comprehensive win over Hong Kong, who just qualified to play this Asia Cup after winning the qualifier in Malaysia against UAE. From the over number one it looked they are on a good journey, but soon they start losing wickets which jolted their process of getting a big score.
Pakistan’s bowling was too hot for Hong Kong batsmen to handle only Aizaz Khan and Kinchit Shah played (27, 26) respectively made a major contribution to 116. While Usman Shinwari finished with 3-19 (before he left the field) Hasan Ali took 2-19 and leg-spinner Shadab Khan managed to pick up 2 wickets for 31.
It wasn’t a challenging total for Pakistani top order, which finished the job inside 24th over with the loss of only two wickets. Imam remained their top scorer with unbeaten 50 runs, while Babar Azam 33 helped Pakistan too; he also achieved his personal milestone by becoming joint second-fastest 2000 ODI runs.
We can say; this was a perfect warm-up for Pakistan ahead of their high-profile face-off with arch-rivals India, on this same ground of Dubai on this Wednesday.
Imam was controversially not given out LBW to Ehsan on 24, first on the field and then by the third umpire when Hong Kong forced for the DRS review. There seemed to be no inside edge, and the spike on the snicko meter appeared to have come only after the ball was well past the bat and bumped 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. The ball-tracking showed three reds.
Player of The Match: On brilliant bowling figures, Usman Khan Shinwari 3/19 was awarded as player of the match
“I tried to pick wickets with the new ball, but luck was not with me. Second spell, I got the ball to reverse swing and I managed to take wickets. I’m happy with the bowling and I managed to bowl like I wanted to. It’s fun to bowl with competition, some healthy competition amongst the bowlers, and we play our cricket from session to session and give our best at all times.”
Hong Kong 116 in 37.1 overs (Aizaz Khan 27, Kinchit Shah 26; Usman Khan 3/19)
Pakistan 120/2 in 23.4 overs (Imam-ul-Haq 50*, Babar Azam 33; Ehsan Khan 2/34)
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