Friday September 02, 2022

Pakistan enter Super 4 with record win over Hong Kong, will meet India again on Sunday

Pakistan enter Super 4 with record win over Hong Kong, will meet India again on Sunday

Shahnawaz Dahani (2nd R) celebrates after taking the wicket of Hong Kong's Yasim Murtaza during the T20 match in Sharjah on Friday. AP

Pakistan set up a second showdown against arch-rivals India in as many weeks with a record 155-run win over Hong Kong in a must-win Asia Cup match at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Friday.

Pakistan sealed the last berth in the Super 4 stage after sparkling knocks from Mohammad Rizwan (78 not out off 57 balls), Fakhar Zaman (53 off 41 balls) and Khushdil Shah (35 not out off 15 balls) carried them to a daunting 193/2 as their bowlers skittled out minnows Hong Kong for a record low of 38.

It was Pakistan's biggest win in the shortest format. Pakistan will meet India, who topped Group A, on Sunday.

Pakistan enter Super 4 with record win over Hong Kong, will meet India again on SundayFakhar Zaman plays a shot while Hong Kong's wicketkeeper Scott McKechnie watches. AP

"Very nice victory for us. Weren't able to get our shots away initially with the bat. The wicket was keeping low, but they way we batted and finished was outstanding. We want the top-orders batters to stay till the end, and the lower ones to bat around them. Becomes easier for those coming in. The way Naseem and Dahani have debuted, they have shown brilliant performances," said Babar Azam in the post-match presentation ceremony.

It was Hong Kong's lowest T20 international total after their 69 against Nepal in 2014. It was also the lowest against Pakistan by any team after they bowled out West Indies for 60 in 2018.

Pakistan join Afghanistan, India and Sri Lanka in round two of the six-nation tournament that acts as a tune-up to the T20 World Cup in October-November in Australia.

Pakistan enter Super 4 with record win over Hong Kong, will meet India again on Sunday

"Our performance and effort is for everyone to see," man of the match Rizwan told reporters. "Boys are putting in their 100 per cent and gelling well together and catering to the demand of our nation. The result is in the hands of God."

Pace bowler Naseem Shah struck twice in the third over of the Hong Kong innings including the wicket of skipper Nizakat Khan for eight.

"Naseem Shah is emerging to be in line as another fast-bowling superstar. No one can replace Shaheen Shah Afridi (out with a knee injury), but Naseem is shaping up well," said Rizwan.

Hong Kong, who made the main draw by winning all their three matches in the qualifiers, could not recover. Hong Kong skipper Nizakat said he would carry the professionalism shown by both India and Pakistan on their way back home from the Asia Cup Group A days.

Pakistan enter Super 4 with record win over Hong Kong, will meet India again on SundayPakistani fans cheer for their team during the T20 match at Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Friday. AP

"Lots of learnings from these two games. Credit to Pakistan for the way they played, their bowlers were phenomenal. I must admit our shot-making was poor.”

Shadab returned figures of 4-8 from his leg spin and Nawaz took three wickets with his left-arm orthodox.

Earlier, Khushdil Shah hit five sixes including four in the final over to finish with a flourish in his unbeaten 35 off 15 balls as Rizwan watched the blitz from the non-striker's end in a partnership of 64.

Hong Kong's bowlers kept the Pakistan openers in check with a disciplined line and length and spinner Ehsan Khan got the key wicket of skipper Babar for nine in the third over.

It was Azam's second failure in the tournament after he made 10 against India in his team's opening loss, but Rizwan said the star batsman remains a "superstar" and a prolific run-getter.

Pakistan enter Super 4 with record win over Hong Kong, will meet India again on SundayFakhar Zaman (L) is congratulated by teammate Mohammad Rizwan after scoring fifty in Sharjah on Friday. AP

Azam hit a four off Ehsan's off spin but the bowler soon took revenge with a caught and bowled to silence a pro-Pakistan crowd.

The left-handed Fakhar joined Rizwan, a wicketkeeper-batsman, and the two rebuilt the innings. Rizwan reached his fifty off 42 balls to raise the bat amid raucous applause form the crowd.

Fakhar also changed gears and reached his fifty with a towering six off Murtaza's left-arm spin, but got out next over to Ehsan after a 41-ball stay.

Khushdil then tore into the opposition bowling and ended the innings with three successive sixes.

Lacking experience in crunch situations, Hong Kong bowlers once again lost the plot in the death overs, allowing Pakistan to collect 77 runs off the last 30 balls.

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

Afghanistan will meet Sri Lanka in the Super Four opener on Saturday in Sharjah.

Scoreboard

 

Pakistan

M. Rizwan not out 78

B. Azam c and b Ehsan 9

F. Zaman c Aizaz b Ehsan 53

K. Shah not out 35

Extras (nb1, w17) 18

Total (2 wickets, 20 overs) 193

Did not bat: I. Ahmed, S. Khan, A. Ali, M. Nawaz, H. Rauf, N. Shah, S. Dahani

Fall of wickets: 1-13 (Azam), 2-129 (Fakhar)

Bowling: Haroon 2-0-14-0 (nb1, w1), Shukla 3-0-33-0 (w8), Ehsan 4-0-28-2, Aizaz 3-0-44-0 (w8), Murtaza 4-0-36-0, Ghazanfar 4-0-38-0

 

Hong Kong

N. Khan c Asif b Naseem 8

Y. Murtaza c Khushdil b Dahani 2

B. Hayat b Naseem 0

K. Shah lbw b Nawaz 6

A. Khan b Shadab 1

S. McKechnie b Nawaz 4

Z. Ali c Iftikhar b Nawaz 3

H. Arshad b Shadab 3

E. Khan not out 0

A. Shukla b Shadab 1

M. Ghazanfar lbw b Shadab 0

Extras (lb2, w8) 10

Total (all out, 10.4 overs) 38

Fall of wickets: 1-16 (Nizakat), 2-16 (Hayat), 3-19 (Murtaza), 4-25 (Aizaz), 5-30 (Kinchit), 6-31 (McKechnie), 7-36 (Arshad), 8-36 (Zeeshan), 9-38 (Shukla), 10-38 (Ghazanfar)

Bowling: Naseem 2-0-7-2 (w6), Dahani 2-1-7-1, Iftikhar 1-0-3-0, Rauf 1-0-6-0, Shadab 2.4-0-8-4 (w1), Nawaz 2-0-5-3 (w1).

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