Pakistan crushes qualifier Hong Kong by 155 runs in Asia Cup

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SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Pakistan bowled out Hong Kong for a record-low 38 runs and achieved its biggest victory in a Twenty20 at the Asia Cup on Friday.

Pakistan sealed the last berth in the Super 4 stage with a massive 155-run win and will face India again on Sunday. India won their group game by five wickets.

Shadab Khan bagged 4-8 with his sharp googlies and left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz snapped up 3-5 as Hong Kong was dismissed in 10.4 overs to lose the last group game and bow out of the event.

The highest score in Hong Kong’s total was the 10 extras.

Mohammad Rizwan anchored Pakistan to 193-2 with an unbeaten knock of 73 off 57 balls after captain Babar Azam fell in the third over, brilliantly caught-and-bowled by Hong Kong offspinner Ehsan Khan.

Fakhar Zaman made a watchful 53 and shared a 116-run stand for the second wicket with Rizwan. Pakistan stuck to its template of not losing wickets in the first half of the innings before pushing the scoring rate in the death overs.

“Very nice victory for us,” Babar said. “The wicket was keeping low, but the way we batted and finished was outstanding.”

Like its game against India which Hong Kong eventually lost by 40 runs, its spinners did well to check Pakistan's scoring to 93-1 after 13 overs.

But when the inexperienced fast bowlers returned, Pakistan plundered 100 runs off the last seven overs.

Khushdil Shah provided a late flourish with a brisk unbeaten 35 off 15 balls that featured four sixes in the last over which cost Hong Kong 29 runs.

Fast bowler Naseem Shah, who struggled with cramps in Pakistan’s opening group game against India, struck twice in his second over. The introduction of Shadab and Nawaz from both ends soon after the batting powerplay saw Hong Kong collapse quickly.

“Lots of learnings from these two games,” Hong Kong captain Nizakat Khan said. “Credit to Pakistan for the way they played, their bowlers were phenomenal. I must admit our shot-making was poor.”

Pakistan’s previous best T20 win on runs was by 143 against the West Indies in 2018.

Hong Kong’s previous lowest T20 all-out total was 69 against Nepal in 2014.

The Super 4 opens on Saturday when Afghanistan faces Sri Lanka again.


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