Hong Kong scare India in Asia Cup but fall to 26-run defeat
DUBAI (92 News) – Hong Kong fell to a 26-run defeat by India in their Asia Cup group A in Dubai on Tuesday, but held their heads high as they gave the favourites an almighty scare during their brave chase.
In the end, India’s experience told as Hong Kong scored 259 runs for the loss of eight wickets in their chase of 286. India had earlier relied on a 116-run second-wicket partnership between man-of-the-match Shikhar Dhawan (127) and Ambati Rayudu (60) that helped them put up a challenging total of 285 for seven.
Hong Kong threatened to haul in that score and cause one of the biggest upsets in the history of one-day cricket, but were unable to go all the way, still performing admirably in batting for 50 overs.
Opener Nizakat Khan fell eight runs short of a century, out lbw for 92 off 115 balls with 12 fours and a six, while skipper Anshuman Rath made 73, putting on a Hong Kong record of 174 for the first wicket.
“We are proud, but it’s bittersweet,” said Rath. “We should’ve probably won it, but lost a few too many wickets in the middle during key times. Credit to the India bowlers for sticking with their plans.
“Going into the tournament we had no pressure and we wanted to play with a smile on our faces. It would’ve been nice if we rolled over the best team in the world, but I’m super proud of the boys.
“Nizakat’s innings at the top was great. He batted at No 4 in the qualifiers, but he’s delivered as the opener. And against the best white-ball side in the world, we showed the kind of cricket we can play. Our bowlers stuck out in the heat, and we pulled India to under 300.”
Hong Kong are now out of the competition after losing to Pakistan in their first match, but showed they have truly recovered from a disappointing World Cup qualifying competition earlier this year in Zimbabwe when they lost their one-day status.
Rath led Hong Kong to victory in the Asia Cup qualifiers in Malaysia two weeks ago, having been handed the captaincy after Babar Hayat stepped down, and has looked the part in Dubai with his air of confidence and batting.