Pakistan enters super 4s seamlessly beating Hong Kong


Mohammad Rizwan and Fakhar Zaman both scored fifty runs for Pakistan, and then Khushdil Shah made a game-changing cameo of 35 not out to lead Pakistan to a 155-run victory over Hong Kong on Friday. This victory allowed Pakistan to advance to the Super Fours of the ongoing Asia Cup 2022 tournament (September 2). After being given the opportunity to bat first, Pakistan startled Hong Kong with a spectacular exhibition of power-hitting during the slog overs, increasing their score from 104/1 at the conclusion of the 14th over to 193/2 overall.

Hong Kong did not have any responses to either Naseem Shah’s quick pace in the powerplay or Shadab Khan’s googlies after that when they were attempting to chase the gigantic total in a game in which the winner takes all. They were all out for 38, earning Pakistan their largest victory in the history of Twenty20 Internationals.

Babar fails to outperform again

On a tough pitch, with the UAE tracks finally living up to their reputation of being slow, it was an easy decision for Hong Kong to put the opposition first in the match that would determine whether or not they would advance to the next round. The bowlers bowled stump to stump at the Pakistan openers and did not give them any free passes. This maintained the bowlers in control of the situation.

They started using spin bowling in the attack as early as the third over, and Ehsan Khan was the one who made the crucial breakthrough. After the off-spinner had been swept for a four on the previous ball, he bowled one that was even slower, and Babar, who was aiming for a single down the ground, ended up providing a low return catch, which caused him to depart for 9 off of 8.

Rizwan-Fakhar partnership build foundation

In the middle overs, Pakistan was unable to make any headway thanks to the disciplined bowling effort that was put forth by the spinners. However, as Zaman pointed out, it was always the idea to maintain wickets in hand for late hitting, and both he and Rizwan executed this strategy to perfection. The two at the second wicket put together an important 116-run partnership, which laid the groundwork for their eventual winning total of 193.

The fifty of the relationship came just before the halfway point, and after that, Rizwan started to break the restraints that had been placed on him. He shimmed down the track and then smashed one straight over Mohammad Ghazanfar’s head for his sole six of the game, and then he proceeded to collect successive boundaries on his way to reaching his fifty off just 43 balls. Zaman had been playing along with a run-a-ball 30 up until that point like he was the ideal second fiddle.

Early blows to Hong Kong pacers  

Despite hitting a handful of boundaries during the powerplay, Hong Kong was not able to keep up with the ferocious pace that Pakistan was bowling at them. He started out with five wides, but in his second over, Naseem more than made up for it when he had Nizakat Khan chip one to cover and Babar Hayat bowled for a four-ball duck, leaving Hong Kong reeling at 16/2. In a subsequent over of the chase, the fifth one, Shahnawaz Dahani took a wicket by dismissing Yasim Murtaza with a bouncer. This brought the score to 19/3.

Spinners throw HK out of the Super 4s race

Shadab (4 for 8) and Mohammad Nawaz (3 for 5) raced through the remainder of the order to speed Hong Kong’s elimination from the Asia Cup, as if the powerplay score of 25/3 wasn’t already awful enough. After the fielding limits were lifted, the two bowlers took seven more wickets between them while only allowing a total of 13 runs to score during the 4.4 overs that they were allowed.

Aizaz and Haroon Arshad were both dismissed by the legspinner after he used the wrong deliveries against them. In between the two strikes, Nawaz produced an over that resulted in a double-wicket for the opposition. In that over, KD Shah was run out after failing in his attempt to slog-sweep the ball, and Scott McKechnie was bowled through the legs while attempting a stroke that was similar to Shah’s.

As a result of his inability to correctly read the googly, Ayush Shukla became Shadab’s third victim. Pakistan spread out the field without being aware of the possibility of a hat-trick, but the leggie only had to wait a couple of deliveries for his fourth, which was also Hong Kong’s last, to ring in the celebrations.

Pak vs HK: Brief scores

Brief scores: Pakistan 193/2 in 20 overs (Mohammad Rizwan 78*, Fakhar Zaman 53, Khushdil Shah 35*; Ehsan Khan 2-28)

Hong Kong 38 all out in 10.4 overs (Shadab Khan 4-8, Mohammad Nawaz 3-5) by 155 runs.


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