And it is OVER! Pakistan have thrashed Hong Kong in their opening encounter of this year’s Asia Cup and won the match with eight wickets still in hand.
It was a one-sided affair from the start. Hong Kong struggled with the bat and could only get 116 runs on the scoreboard.
It would have been miraculous if HKG was able to defend this target but every day is not Christmas. Chasing a target of 117 runs, Pakistani openers Fakhar Zaman and Imam ul Haq came to the crease with an attacking mindset. Zaman was the first one to accelerate the Pakistani inning and played some really aggressive shots which benefited the men in green. He scored 24 runs off 27 balls, before getting out.
Imam Ul Haq also joined the party and got himself to a great start and helped Zaman build a good partnership of 41 runs. He scored a brilliant half-century (50 not out) and led Pakistan to victory.
Shoaib Malik scored the runs and ended the match by hitting a four.
But, the man of the moment was Babar Azam, who reached the 2000-run mark with a cheeky single. He became the joint-second fastest to complete 2000 runs along Zaheer Abbas (Pakistan) and Kevin Pietersen (England) in 45 innings. He got out on the score of 33, hitting 3 fours and 1 six.
None of the Hong Kong bowlers were able to trouble the Pakistani batsmen. The lack of experience was clearly visible in their game. Ehsan Khan was the only bowler who could manage to take some wickets. Both the wickets were taken by him.
While batting too, Hong Kong faced all sorts of problems. None of the batsmen could manage to cross the 30-run mark. Aizaz Khan was the highest scorer for HKG and scored 27 runs in his innings.
Usman Khan has been named ‘Man of the Match’ for his great bowling performance. He took 3 wickets (in one over) and gave away just 19 runs.
This is an amazing start for the men in green in the Asia Cup. This all-round performance should give them the confidence and momentum to take on the mighty Indians in their next match.
This might be a bad day for the Hong Kong players but this is a great learning experience for them. They should see the match and introspect as to what went wrong in their preparations and execution.
Sports Journalist by profession, a Cricket Fanatic by passion. Aayush Sharma has been following the game of cricket since childhood and considers Sachin Tendulkar as his idol. When in free time, he loves to read books or go out and play some gully cricket with friends. For him, Tennis ace Roger Federer and F1 Legend Michael Schumacher are the only sportspersons that reach the level of Tendulkar