As expected, Pakistan outclassed Hong Kong in their first match of the Asia Cup 2018 by eight wickets at Dubai – to start of their Asia Cup campaign on a winning note with Usman Khan Shinwari starring with the ball.
It was a great bowling performance by Pakistan as they skittled out Hong Kong for 116 runs after Anushman Rath won the toss and elected to bat first. They did a great job to qualify for the main event of the tournament.
Chasing the target, the opening duo of Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq shared a good partnership before Babar Azam scored an excellent knock to take Pakistan over the victory target.
Hong Kong was in for early trouble as they were reduced to 44 for five as the Pakistan pace duo of Hasan Ali and Faheem Ashraf bowled in the right areas, and the Hong Kong batsmen fell pretty cheaply.
Kinchit Shah and Aizaz Khan shared a 54 runs partnership to get Hong Kong back on track. They took the score near the 100-run mark, but the run rate was never past the four runs mark.
Usman Khan was the pick of the bowlers for Pakistan:
For Pakistan, the pick of the bowlers was Usman Khan, who bagged three wickets for 19 runs in 7.3 overs. Hasan Ali and Shadab Khan also bagged a couple of wickets each. For Hong Kong, Aizaz Khan was the top scorer with 27 off 47 deliveries.
Pakistan began pretty well with openers Zaman and Imam sharing a good partnership of 40 runs. Fakhar wasn’t quite at his aggressive best and took some time to get along with things.
Imam, on the other hand, batted sensibly as usual. Babar Azam also looked in great touch and scored a 33 of 35 deliveries which included three fours and a six.
However, by then, the target was within touching distance. Eventually, Imam-ul-Haq scored a half-century as Pakistan reached the target with 26.2 overs to spare.
Here is what Man of the Match Usman Khan said at the post-match presentation:
“Thanks to God and my parents. Obviously, when I came to bowl in the first spell, I tried to pick wickets with the new ball, but luck was not with me. In the second spell, I got the ball to reverse swing, and I managed to take wickets. It’s alright. I was bleeding from my feet but all is fine right now, and I am fit,” thrilled Usman said.
“I just slipped a little bit so I thought it would be safe to get it checked. I’m happy with the bowling and I managed to bowl like I wanted to. It’s fun to bowl with competition, some healthy competition amongst the bowlers, and we play our cricket from session to session and give our best at all times,” Usman concluded.