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SHARJAH: A masterclass from Pakistan on a slow-turning wicket helped them rout Hong Kong to secure a place in the Super Four stage of the Asia Cup 2022.
Pakistan had set a 194-run target for Hong Kong in a must-win game for both teams to stay in the tournament.
However, a bowling masterclass from Pakistan ensured that Hong Kong were dismissed for a meagre 38 runs, ensuring a win for the Men in Green by 155 runs. This is the lowest total made by any team against a full member side.
Naseem Shah’s double-wicket in the third over of Hong Kong’s innings helped set the tone. After that, the wickets fell like a ten-pin.
The bowlers kept on exerting pressure by giving little space to Hong Kong to score, while regular wickets added more pressure. It was in the 11th over that Shahab Khan took the last wicket to end Hong Kong’s misery.
For Pakistan, Shadab ended with four wickets, Mohammad Nawaz took three, while Shahnawaz Dahani took one wicket.
Pakistan were off to a slow start after losing skipper Babar Azam in the third over and with 13 runs on the board.
However, Mohammad Rizwan and Fakhar Zaman built a 116-run partnership to set the stage for Khushdil Shah’s fireworks in the last three overs.
Zaman contributed 53 off 41 balls before being dismissed on the first ball of the 17th over.
But the partnership had built a strong foundation for Khushdil Shah to exploit the Hong Kong bowlers. Khushdil’s cameo of 35 off 15 balls propelled Pakistan to 193/2.
Mohammad Rizwan carried the bat till the end of the innings and remained unbeaten on 78.
For Hong Kong, off-spinner Ehsan Khan was the only bowler who took wickets by dismissing Babar and Zaman in his four overs at the cost of 28 runs.