India squeezed out a 26-run victory over Hong Kong, who took the fight to their more fancied opponents in an Asia Cup clash on Tuesday in Dubai.
It was a surprisingly close encounter between a side who lost their ODI status a few months back and the world’s No 2 side. Despite being kicked out of the Asia cup prior to the match, Hong Kong put it all on the line as India had to see out a full 100 overs to claim their victory.
It started with a competitive bowling display from Hong Kong. They were limited to a total of 285-7 in their 50 overs, with Shikhar Dhawan’s 14th ODI century comprising the majority of the runs. India’s next best performer was Ambati Rayudu’s 70-ball 60. This gave India a powerful start as they reached 161-1 by the 29th over.
Dhawan was dismissed on 127, with his side on 240 in the 41st over. His knock came off 120 balls and included 15 fours and two sixes, as India struggled to kick on from there. Only 45 runs were added in the last 56 balls, as Ehsan Khan (2-65), Kinchit Shah (3-39) and Aizaz Khan (1-49) pinned back India.
Shah was their best bowler with three wickets that included the wicket of Dhawan.
Hong Kong’s chase was admirable. They reached 174 thanks to a Nizakat Khan (92) and their skipper Anshy Rath (73).
Hong Kong’s start was dented when they lost their wickets in consecutive overs.
Left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav removed Rath, while 20-year-old left-arm seamer Khaleel Ahmed (3-48) removed Khan.
Hong Kong’s run chase was throttled further with the loss of Babar Hayat (18) and Christopher Carter (three), as Ahmed grabbed another in the process.
Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal did most of the damage and recorded figures of 3-46 from his 10 overs as Hong Kong only managed 259-8 after 50 overs.
Next for India will be a thrilling match against long-time rivals Pakistan on Wednesday.
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