Rohit Sharma-led India survived a massive scare as they recorded an eyebrow-raising 26-run win over minnows Hong Kong as they opened their Asia Cup 2018 campaign at the Dubai International Stadium in UAE on Tuesday. Batting first, India got off to bright start as opener Shikhar Dhawan got to his normal flamboyancy in a flat track as he smashed 127 runs off 120 balls as the Men in Blue scored 285/7 after 50 overs.
However, India’s middle order woes continued as the cricketing fraternity witnessed yet another mini-collapse by the Men in Blue. Rohit Sharma’s men failed to cross the 300-run mark against a weak bowling attack of Hong Kong. Former skipper MS Dhoni returned back to the pavilion for a three-ball duck. Ambati Rayudu took a bit of responsibility by scoring a handy 60 runs.
In pursuit of the 286-run target, the opening pair of Hong Kong – Nizakat Khan and captain Anshuman Rath scored a record 174-run partnership as a major upset started to come within the range of vision in what could have been India’s biggest loss in the history of cricket. Nizakat and Rath’s 174-run stand has now become the highest partnership by an associate nation in ODI Cricket.
But after chinaman Kuldeep Yadav scalped the wicket of Rath to open the floodgates. Debutant Khaleel Ahmed then sent Nizakat Khan back to the pavilion as the Hong Kong batsman missed out on a memorable century.
Hong Kong’s lack of experience on the big stage cost them dearly on Tuesday as Kong failed to win the match, but they have definitely won millions of hearts.
India: 285/7 in 50 overs (Shikhar Dhawan 127, Ambati Rayudu 60; Kinchit Shah 3/39).
Hong Kong: 259 for 8 in 50 overs (Nizakat Khan 92, Anshuman Rath 73; Yuzvendra Chahal 3/46).