In their first match of the 2018 Asia Cup against Hong Kong, Team India might have dreamt of an early finish as they face Pakistan on September 19. However, the Men in Red took the Indian bowlers to the cleaners in the chase.
Hong Kong captain Anshuman Rath won the toss and chose to bowl first. Indian opener and Captain Rohit Sharma took the attack to the HK bowlers; he was out caught for 23 of Ehsan Khan with India on 45 runs. Shikhar Dhawan and Ambati Rayudu added 116 runs for the second wicket and Rayudu scored a well made 60 runs off 70 balls when he was brilliantly caught by the keeper off Nawaz.
Shikhar Dhawan continued his merry way scoring 127 in 120 balls with 15 fours and 2 sixes. He was dismissed by Shah as well. Dinesh Karthik made 33 off 38 and was a victim of Shah. MS Dhoni scored a three-ball duck and India lost their momentum in the last 10 overs scoring 45 odd runs. Kedar Jadhav scored 28* to take India to 285/7.
It was a great effort from HK bowlers to keep India under 300 and Kinchit Shah was the pick of the bowlers with 3/39 and Ehsan Khan, too chipped in with 2/65.
Hong Kong was expected to bow down in front of a fairly large total, but their openers batted to a plan. Nizakat Khan (92 off 115 balls; 12x4s, 1x6s) and Anshuman Rath (73 in 97 balls; 4x4s, 1x6s) added 174 runs for the first wicket in 34.1 overs and the Indian bowlers had no idea how to get them out. They played the spin of Chahal and Kuldeep fairly easily and negotiate the pace of Khaleel with good technique.
However, Kuldeep had Rath caught by Rohit and then Khaleel got Nizakat out LBW and then HK found it difficult to score off the Indian bowlers. Khaleel impressed on his debut and picked Carter as well for 3, while Babar Hayat hit 2 big sixes before Chahal had him caught by Dhoni.
The rest of the overs were spent in Hong Kong batsmen battling the rising run rate and Indian bowlers picking some wickets. Khaleel Ahmed finished with 3/48 in a brilliant debut performance and Chahal too picked three wickets. Kuldeep Yadav completed 50 wickets in ODI cricket in 24 matches.
Hong Kong finished on 259/8 and India won the match by 26 runs.
IND 285/7 (S DHAWAN 127; K SHAH 3/39) defeated HK 259/8 (N KHAN 92; Y CHAHAL 3/46) by 26 runs