India registered a 40-run win over Hong Kong in their second and final Group A clash of the Asia Cup 2022 and joined Afghanistan in the Super Four stage on Wednesday. Chasing 192, Hong Kong were limited to 152/5 at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
Despite losing an early wicket, Hong Kong made a spirited start to the challenging chase with Babar Hayat exploiting the fielding restrictions to collect boundaries.
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Together with his captain Nizakat Khan, who was run out on 10, Hayat (41) added 39 runs for the second wicket in an entertaining partnership. However, Indian bowlers applied the squeeze once the fielding restrictions were lifted and took the game away from their opponents.
Despite falling back in the chase, Hong Kong batters didn’t offer a meek surrender and instead went for their shots.
Kinchit Shah (30), Zeeshan Ali (26*) and Scott McKechnie (16*) gave a good account of themselves.
Earlier, Suryakumar Yadav’s scintillating 26-ball 68 lifted a sedate India a challenging total as he overshadowed Virat Kohli’s fluent half-century. On a two-paced wicket where the duo of Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul failed to convert their starts, Suryakumar showed how its done, with his wide range of shots.
Batting on 42, Suryakumar smashed Haroon Arshad for four sixes from five balls in the final over, which yielded India 26 runs. He got to his fifty in just 22 balls. Having shown his intent in a 34-ball 35 against Pakistan on Sunday, Kohli notched his first International half-century since his 52 against the West Indies in Kolkata on February 18, 2022.
From 94/2 in 13 overs, the duo of Kohli and Suryakumar stepped up in style with the latter exhibiting his 360-degree strokemaking skills. The pair added 98 runs in an unbroken third-wicket partnership that came from just 42 balls. India stepped up in style in the final five overs, which got them 78 runs.
As for the famed Indian top-order, Rahul, who is coming back from an injury layoff, looked out of sorts, even against the inexperienced rivals and consumed 39 balls for his 36. Of his two sixes, one came off a free-hit as the Indian vice-captain struggled to break free, allowing pressure to mount on his skipper who was the first to get out, mistiming a slower one from Ayush Shukla.
Rohit departed for a 13-ball 21 but not before becoming the first to get past 3500 runs in T20Is. Rohit also got past 12000 runs as an opener in international cricket, the second fastest after Sachin Tendulkar. Under pressure to break free, Rahul eventually perished, sweeping a delivery outside off to get an edge behind the stumps. That led to the arrival of Suryakumar into the crease, and the carnage orchestrated by the Mumbaikar himself, in the back 10.
India will next return to action on Sunday when they will meet the team who qualifies for the Super Four next from their group.
With PTI Inputs
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