India vs Hong Kong – Highlights & Summary
India vs Hong Kong was the 4th match in the Group Stage of Asia Cup 2018 and was thought to be a cakewalk for India. Pakistan had defeated Hong Kong in the 2nd ODI very comfortably and the India vs Hong Kong match was expected to be easy pickings for India.
India rested some of their key players for this match as India was scheduled to play Pakistan the next day and wanted their top players to be fresh for the big game. KL Rahul, Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya were rested and Khaleel Ahmed who was uncapped before this match made it to the playing XI.
A less experienced Hong Kong side was to take on the number 2 ODI team in the world and nothing short of a clinical win was expected from India.
Hong Kong won the toss and elected to field first. This was a great opportunity for the Indian batsmen to score runs and get off to a good start in the tournament.
Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan opened the innings for India. Sharma was out early in the 8th over caught by Nizakat Khan and India was 45-1. Ambati Rayudu made a comeback in the international side after a long time and together with Dhawan put 116 runs for the 2nd wicket. Rayudu scored 60 runs off 70 balls with 3 fours and 2 sixes and was out in the 30th over dismissed by Ehsan Nawaz.
Shikhar Dhawan played a fine knock from the other end hitting 15 fours and 2 sixes and scored 127 runs. Dhawan’s dismissal was a turning point in the Indian innings.
When Dhawan was dismissed in the 41st over, India were 240-3 and in walked MS Dhoni at an ideal time in the Indian innings that best suits his batting style.
With MS Dhoni and Dinesh Karthik on the crease and 9 and a half overs to go, India looked comfortable to cross the 300-runs mark. A total of 350 was possible with the kind of hitters India had on the crease.
Ehsan Khan bowled the 42nd over and picked the big wicket, one he would cherish for the rest of his life. He dismissed MS Dhoni for a duck and Dhoni walked back to pavilion without scoring a run. A shocking sight for the Indian fans who were waiting to watch Dhoni hit the big sixes.
5 balls later, Kinchit Shah dismissed Dinesh Karthik. Karthik scored 33 off 38 balls with 3 fours and was caught at deep mid-wicket by Babar Hayat when he tried to hit a slog sweep over mid-wicket.
Bhuvaneshwar Kumar was the next man to be dismissed in the 49th over as he was caught at mid-wicket by Anshuman Rath and that was Kinchit Shah’s 3rd wicket against India in the Asia Cup 2018.
Kedar Jadhav was not out on 28 from 27 balls with 1 six. India finished 285-7 in 50 overs.
In the 3rd power play that is from overs 40.1 to 50, India scored just 48 runs and lost 5 wickets. This was a great comeback from the Hong Kong team to restrict the Indian side to below 300 runs after Dhawan and Rayudu put some great batting performances.
Hong Kong innings
Chasing a target of 286 against India is never an easy task for any team in the world. Hong Kong had never chased a total like this and in their previous match against Pakistan were all out for 116 runs.
What unfolded caught everyone by surprise and forced every single viewer, be it on the ground or in India watching on TV, to take notice of the Hong Kong cricket team.
Nizakat Khan and Anshuman Rath opening the innings for Hong Kong gave the team a great start. Hong Kong scored 56 runs in the 1st power play without losing a wicket. Nizakat Khan dominated the 1st power play and hit some great shots all over the ground.
Hong Kong reached 100 runs in 17.4 overs without a loss and Nizakat Khan had scored fifty and was batting on 59 with Anshuman Rath on 32. The two openers troubled the Indian bowlers and had Rohit Sharma, the Indian skipper restless and frustrated at times when Anshuman Rath and Nizakat Khan were hitting the bowlers out of the park.
The opening pair of Hong Kong took the score to 150 runs in 30.3 overs and Rath had reached 57 with Nizakat Khan batting at 87. By the time 33 overs were bowled, Hong Kong was 167 for no loss with Nizakat Khan (87) and Anshuman Rath (71) looking comfortable and putting their heart out in the field, running the ones and twos, waiting out the spinners, pushing for singles when they couldn’t hit boundaries and played a class innings against the Indian side.
Hong Kong lost their 1st wicket on 174 in the 35th over when Anshuman Rath was caught by Rohit Sharma and Kuldeep Yadav gave India the breakthrough. Anshuman Rath scored 73 off 87 with 4 fours and 1 six.
Nizakat Khan walked back soon after in the next over and was dismissed for 92, his 3rd dismissal in the 90s. His innings saw 12 great looking fours and 1 six.
The two batsmen showed great determination and never gave up setting the stage for the Hong Kong batsmen who were to follow.
Hong Kong were always in the race even after they lost their openers and kept losing wickets regularly thereafter. The required run rate climbed up every over, and there were the odd six or four every now and then from the Hong Kong middle order batsmen keeping their hopes alive and not throwing in the towel.
Khaleel Ahmed dismissed Nizakat Khan, C Carter and Ehsan Khan all at the right time. Ehsan Khan was batting at 22 from 25 balls and with Kinchit Shah on the other end, it looked like Hong Kong could just make it.
Khaleel Ahmed caught and bowled Ehsan Khan, and that was his 3rd wicket in his debut match.
Yuzvendra Chahal picked 2 crucial wickets of Babar Hayat who was the experienced batsmen in the Hong Kong side and Kinchit Shah who hat hit a six and would fight tooth and nail to get his side to the target.
Hong Kong were 7 wickets down after 49 overs and required 30 runs off the final over. Ehsan Khan was the 8th wicket to fall for Hong Kong in the last over and Hong Kong finished 259-8 in 50 overs.
India won by 26 runs and qualified for the Super four stage as Hong Kong are now at the bottom of the table in Group A with 0 points from 2 matches.
A 26-runs victory margin against Hong Kong is not what one would have expected.
Shikhar Dhawan was awarded Man of the Match for his 127-runs innings.
India will have to consider revising many things in their bowling department. Though a win is a win, India’s wicket taking ability was tested in this India vs Hong Kong match and it will definitely be a concern for India going into the next match which is against their arch rivals, Pakistan.