Heavyweights Pakistan dominated Hong Kong, cruising to an emphatic 8-wicket win with 158 balls to spare in their 2018 Asia Cup Group B opener at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
Follow the match highlights:
# Pakistan beat Hong Kong by 8 wickets with 158 balls to spare!
# Brief score:
*Pakistan 120/2 in 23.4 overs (Imam-ul-Haq 50 (69), Babar Azam 33 (36))
*Hong Kong 116/10 in 37.1 overs (Aizaz Khan 27 (47), Kinchit Shah 26 (50) / Usman Khan 3/19, Hasan Ali 2/19)
# That's a wrap! Shoaib Malik finishes it off in style with a four down the midwicket boundary. Comprehensive for Pakistan.
# Half-century! Imam-ul-Haq brings up his half-century in 69 balls.
# Wicket!! Babar Azam attempts to late cut Ehsan's straighter one but ends up edging the ball to keeper McKechnie. Babar departs for a 33 (36). Pakistan 93/2!
Congratulations to @babarazam258 on reaching 2,000 ODI runs! He reaches the milestone in 45 innings, the joint quickest for Pakistan alongside Zaheer Abbas! #PAKvHK #AsiaCup2018 pic.twitter.com/LBodTpPoFO
— ICC (@ICC) September 16, 2018
# Pakistan's Babar Azam becomes the joint second-fastest to reach the 2000-run mark in ODIs, alongside Zaheer Abbas. He achieved the feat in 45* innings. Hasim Amla, in 40 innings, is the fastest to hit 2000 runs.
# Off-spinner Ehsan Khan is bowling a tight line. His flat-trajectory is forcing Imam to step out and play. However, Ehsan needs to control the odd short-ball, which is lifting the pressure off the batsmen. Pakistan 71/1 after 15 overs.
# Babar Azam is in at number three.
# Pakistan 41/1!
# Wicket!! Ehsan Khan dismisses the dangerous Fakhar Zaman cheaply for a 27-ball 24. Zaman attempts to late cut Khan but ends up edging the ball to keeper McKechnie, who grabbed itsecond attempt-attempt. Pakistan lose their first wicket!
# Pakistan are off to a cautious start. Hong Kong, have been impressive with the ball. They stuck to basics and cramped the Pakistani batsmen for space. But the explosive Fakhar Zaman, batting at 23(24), and Imam-ul-Haq will look to accelerate and finish the match early. It is still Pakistan's game to lose.
# Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq open the innings for Pakistan!
# Pakistan need 117 to win!
# Hong Kong 116/10 in 37.1 overs (Aizaz Khan 27 (47), Kinchit Shah 26 (50) / Usman Khan 3/19, Hasan Ali 2/19)
# Wicket!! Nawaz attempts to steal a single but a mix-up with Nadeem Ahmed has his run-out! That's a wrap. Hong Kong are all for 116 in 37.1 overs.!
# Nadeem Ahmed is in at number 11.
# Hong Kong 99/9!
# Wicket!! Hasan Ali joins the party. He pitches it up on the outside-off and Kinchit Shah slices it straight to Shadab Khan at point. The well-set Kinchit Shah departs for a 50-ball 26.
# Just when Hong Kong looked set to a respectable score on the back of a 53-run 6th wicket stand between Aizaz (27) and Kinchit Shah (25)*, Usman Khan produced a peach of a delivery. He then dismissed McKechnie and Tanwir Afzal in successive balls, reducing Hong Kong down to 8 wickets.
# Hong Kong 97/8
# Wicket!! Usman Khan on fire!! He skids through Tanwir Afzal's defence to knock the off-stump. Dream over this for Usman Khan, he has opened the Hong Kong floodgates.
# Wicket!! Usman Khan keeps it straight to trap Scott McKechnie plumb on front. McKechnie departs for a duck. Hong Kong in deep trouble.
# Hong Kong 97/6!
# Wicket!! Usman Khan bowls a ripper from around the wicket to clean up Aizaz Khan of a 47-ball 27. What a delivery! Hong Kong lose their 6th wicket.
# Hong Kong were off to a decent start before Shadab Khan reduced them to 5 wickets. Kinchit Shah and Aizaz Khan have stitched a 34-run* partnership after the collapse. Anything over 150 runs from this stage will be a reasonable score for Hong Kong. Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Khan, on the other hand, brings Amir into the attack. Hong Kong 80/5 after 25 overs.
# Hong Kong 44/5 after 17 overs.
# Wicket!! Shadab strikes again. He gets the better of Ehsan Khan with a googly to trap him plumb on the front. Khan departs for a duck.
# Wicket!! Shadab makes short work of Babar Hayat. Shabad tempts Hayat to step out but the batsman gets beaten and comfortably stumped by Sarfraz.
# Kinchit Shah is in at number five.
# Hong Kong 39/3 after 14 overs.
# Wicket!! Christopher Carter comes down the track in an attempt to clear the extra-cover fielder but hits the ball straight into the hands of Imam-ul-Haq. Hasan Ali picks up a wicket.
# Hong Kong 32/2 after 9 overs.
# Wicket!! Faheem Ashraf nips the ball away from Anshuman Rath, who edges a regulation catch to keeper Sarfraz Ahmed. Rath departs for a 34-ball 19.
# Babar Hayat is in at number three.
# Honk Kong 17/1 after 7 overs.
# Wicket!! Nizakat Khan gets run out after a direct-hit from Shadab Khan. Poor running from Nizakat cost Hong Kong their first wicket. Nizakat Khan departs for 13 off 11 balls.
# Pakistan's 24-year-old left-arm pacer Usman Khan is quick and angling the ball well. He has opted to bowl over the wicket to the left-hander Anshuman Rath, who has played Khan out exceptionally. Mohammed Amir, on the other hand, is attacking the stumps looking for a wicket.
"Massive passion and drive for the game" – coach Simon Cook opens up about Hong Kong's journey, the young talents, and more.
— ICC (@ICC) September 16, 2018
# Nizakat Khan and Anshuman Rath open the innings for Hong Kong.
# Playing XI:
Pakistan: Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed(w/c), Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali, Usman Khan.
Hong Kong: Nizakat Khan, Anshuman Rath(c), Babar Hayat, Kinchit Shah, Christopher Carter, Ehsan Khan, Aizaz Khan, Scott McKechnie(w), Tanwir Afzal, Ehsan Nawaz, Nadeem Ahmed.
# Hong Kong have won the toss and opt to bat
It is a no-brainer that Pakistan possess one of the World's best bowling attacks. The left-arm pace batteries of Mohammad Amir, Junaid Khan, Shaheen Afridi and Usman Khan could trouble the opposition right-handers with their probing angle.
Interestingly, the Pakistan side has never lost (16 wins) a One Day International match in Dubai. They have played most of their home matches in UAE and will look to make the most of their experience in the tourney.
Pakistan have belted Hong Kong twice in the Asia Cup. Pakistan beat Hong Kong comprehensively by 173 runs in 2004 and 155 runs in 2008.
Hong Kong, have already had a mini-victory by merely qualifying for the main event. The Associate nation, who recently lost their ODI status, will look to gain as much as possible when they meet heavyweights Pakistan and India on September 18.
Pakistan: Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Shan Masood, Sarfraz Ahmed(c), Shoaib Malik, Haris Sohail, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Junaid Khan, Usman Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Asif Ali, Mohammad Amir.
Hong Kong: Anshuman Rath(c), Aizaz Khan, Babar Hayat, Cameron McAulsan, Christopher Carter, Ehsan Khan, Ehsan Nawaz, Arshad Mohammad, Kinchit Shah, Nadeem Ahmed, Nizakat Khan, Raag Kapur, Scott McKechnie, Tanveer Ahmed, Tanwir Afzal, Waqas Khan, Aftab Hussain.