After fifties from Virat Kohli and Suryakumar Yadav powered India to 192, the bowlers managed to restrict Hong Kong to 152 and seal the victory.
India finished its Asia Cup 2022 Group ‘A’ campaign with an easy 40-run win over Hong Kong at Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Wednesday. With two wins in as many matches, India qualified for the Super Four.
India set Hong Kong a massive target of 193, which proved to be too high a mountain to climb for the minnows. Hong Kong managed to bat out the full 20 overs, but failed to mount a serious challenge.
With the game in the bag, the crowd got a buzz when part-timer Virat Kohli came on to bowl in the 17th over. Speedsters Avesh Khan and Arshdeep Singh had horror outings, conceding 53 and 44 runs respectively in their four overs.
After being put in to bat, India overcame an unusually slow start to post a good score. Suryakumar Yadav (68 n.o., 26b, 6×4, 6×6) turned on the jets when the run-rate needed a boost. The Mumbai batter was aggressive from start to finish, opening his account with a sweep four and ending the knock with four sixes off the last over.
A scoop six off fast bowler Aizaz Khan, in the 16th over, showcased his wide range of shots. Suryakumar went berserk in the last over, bowled by Haroon Arshad, smacking the pacer all over the park. Suryakumar’s pyrotechnics helped India rack up 54 runs in the last three overs, which effectively put the total beyond Hong Kong’s reach.
While Suryakumar typified the team management’s diktat of playing an attacking brand of cricket, K.L. Rahul (36, 39b, 2×6) and Virat Kohli (59 n.o., 44b, 1×4, 3×6) were cautious to a fault. Rahul looked terribly out of sorts, failing to get the ball off the square. The Karnataka opener ate up dot balls aplenty, and only made good connection twice.
Kohli fared a little better, but he was by no means electric. Most surprisingly, Rahul and Kohli showed no attacking intent, preferring instead to poke around for singles. India ambled along to 44 for one at the end of the Powerplay, and 70 for one when drinks was called after 10 overs.
The duo put on 56 runs off 49 balls for the second wicket. Rahul was dismissed when he edged a sweep off spinner Mohammad Ghazanfar, which was collected by wicketkeeper Scott McKechnie. Rohit Sharma (21, 13b, 2×4, 1×6) was deceived by fast bowler Ayush Shukla, who took the pace off the ball to catch the batter playing much too early.
India did not experiment too much with its playing eleven, making just the single change from the side which faced Pakistan. Rishabh Pant came in for Hardik Pandya. Pant kept wickets while Dinesh Karthik did fielding duties.
A comprehensive win for India when you look at the victory margin but Rohit Sharma will not be too happy with that bowling performance. Arshdeep Singh and Avesh Khan conceded 97 runs in their eight overs, which will be a cause for concern heading into the the business end of the tournament. India has topped Group A and confirmed its Super 4 berth. Now, it is Pakistan and Hong Kong who will vie for a spot in the last four when they face each other on Friday. Know More Sports News…
When it comes to the batting, however, Suryakumar Yadav stole the show with a blistering unbeaten 26-ball 68 that propelled India to 192 for two. The icing on the cake for India was Virat Kohli’s 44-ball unbeaten 59, which included some glorious shots.
Indian Captain Rohit Sharma: We were going to bowl first as well. Looks like an even covering of grass and we need to bat well to get to a good score. We just want to continue to do what we are doing as a team. We don’t want to look at the opposition and play good and hard cricket. We need to do our basics right, which is what got us a victory against Pakistan. One change: Hardik is rested, considering how important he is for us. Pant comes in.
Hong Kong Captain Nizakat Khan: We are going to bowl first. In Oman, we chased down well and that is what we are looking to do. The last time we played India, it was a good game and we know we did some mistakes and want to make sure we capitalise on that. We have the same team we played against UAE.
India XI: Rohit Sharma(c), KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, Dinesh Karthik(w), Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Avesh Khan, Yuzvendra Chahal, Arshdeep Singh
Hong Kong XI: Nizakat Khan(c), Yasim Murtaza, Babar Hayat, Kinchit Shah, Aizaz Khan, Scott McKechnie(w), Zeeshan Ali, Haroon Arshad, Ehsan Khan, Ayush Shukla, Mohammad Ghazanfar