Asia Cup 2022: India enter Super Four stage with 40-run win over Hong Kong
IANS

Asia Cup 2022: India enter Super Four stage with 40-run win over Hong Kong

Dubai, August 31, 2022

Defending champions India became the first team from Group A to seal their Super Four spot in Asia Cup 2022 with a 40-run win over Hong Kong at the Dubai International Stadium on Wednesday.

Earlier, Suryakumar Yadav's fireworks in the last seven overs led him to be unconquered on 68 off just 26 balls and combined with Virat Kohli's 31st T20I fifty, 59 not out off 44 balls, propelled India to reaching a daunting 192/2.

In defence of 192, spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Ravindra Jadeja conceded just 48 runs overall to make up for the 97 runs leaked collectively by young pacers Avesh Khan and Arshdeep Singh to reduce Hong Kong to 152/5 in their 20 overs.

For Hong Kong, bright spots in the bat were a 71-run stand between Babar Hayat (41) and Kinchit Shah (30) while hitting 33 runs in the last two overs. But they were not enough to outshine the efforts of Suryakumar and Kohli.

Yasim Murtaza hit Arshdeep for fours over backward point and mid-on. But the left-arm pacer had the last laugh, bouncing out Murtaza and fine leg taking the catch on top-edge. Hayat set the tone for Hong Kong, slamming sixes down the ground off Avesh and Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

He then showed his leg-side play, slamming three fours in five balls off Avesh and Arshdeep. But India ended power-play on a high, as Jadeja's razor-sharp direct hit from point caught Nizakat Khan just short of his crease.

Post power-play, Jadeja and Chahal applied the brakes on Hong Kong's scoring rate as just 14 runs came in next four overs. In a bid to break the shackles, Hayat tried to take on Jadeja but ended up slicing to point.

Shah swept, went inside-out and steered hard to pick boundaries off Chahal, Avesh and Arshdeep. But with the required run rate going upwards, Hong Kong were just unable to catch up with it. Avesh cleaned up Aizaz Khan with a slower delivery, which made things hard for Hong Kong. Shah, in a bid to go big, miscued to a juggling long-off off Bhuvneshwar.

Zeeshan Ali began the 19th over by lofting inside-out over cover for six off Avesh. Scott McKechnie followed it up with upper cut, flick and neat steer to take a six and two fours in a 21-run over. Zeeshan then hit successive fours off Arshdeep in the final over, but by then India had all but sealed their second consecutive win in Asia Cup 2022 and a spot in Super Four.

Earlier, Suryakumar Yadav's fireworks in the last seven overs and Virat Kohli's 31st T20I fifty propelled India to reaching a daunting 192/2.

At 94/2 in 13 overs, when K L Rahul's struggle ended at 36 off 39 balls, Suryakumar walked in and changed the complexion of India's innings. With his drives, slashes, scoops and sweeps apart from audacious wrist play, he brought out a barrage of boundaries to remain unbeaten on 68 off 26 balls, hitting six fours and as many sixes.

His stroke-play made other batters in the side look as if they were batting on a very different pitch. Suryakumar also shared a 98-run stand off just 42 balls with Kohli, who made 59 in 44 balls, hitting four fours and three sixes and brought out some shots in the end as India got 78 runs in the last five overs.

For Hong Kong, who did well in keeping India to 70 at the half-way mark and managed to keep Rahul as well as Kohli quiet with their tight lines and lengths on a sticky pitch, they simply had no answers and were clueless in front of Suryakumar and his scintillating stroke play after electing to field first.

After a watchful start, Rohit Sharma broke the shackles by dancing down the pitch and smacking a six over Haroon Arshad's head. Rahul smashed Arshad for a six over deep square leg on a free hit, before Rohit ended the 22-run over with a boundary punched between point and cover.

With Rahul taking time to find his timing, Rohit continued to be aggressive, launching a boundary over Ayush Shukla's head. But the young pacer had the last laugh as Rohit was late in pulling an off-cutter and took the top-edge to diving mid-on.

Hong Kong bowling at slower pace, mainly bowling on back of length and impressive in their tight lines meant Rahul as well as Kohli were kept quiet for 3.2 overs. Rahul broke the shackles in the ninth over by whipping off wrists for a six over deep mid-wicket off Aizaz Khan.

Kohli finally got his first boundary the 20th ball he faced, dancing down the pitch to smack over Mohammad Ghazanfar's head. While Rahul was not at his fluent best and desperate attempts to reverse sweep twice not working, Kohli brought the fifty of the partnership in 7.5 overs with a nice slog-sweep off Ghazanfar.

Rahul's tepid struggle finally ended at 36 off 39 balls when he tried to drag a sweep from a Ghazanfar delivery outside off-stump, but it took an edge behind to wicketkeeper catching on rebound off his chest.

Suryakumar got going with back-to-back sweeps through deep square leg region off Murtaza. He then got his third boundary in six balls, sweeping hard past a mis-fielding fine leg off Shukla.

Kohli upped the ante by dancing down the pitch and lofting Aizaz Khan for six over deep mid-wicket while Suryakumar backed away to slash hard over short third man for four and scooped the very next ball over fine leg for six as 20 came off the over.

Suryakumar upped the ante by slamming Shukla for back-to-back fours - a slap over cover was followed by a slash past short third man. After surviving lbw and stumping appeals, he brought out an astonishing flick off his toes for a six over deep square leg.

After reaching his fifty in 40 balls, Kohli deposited a six off Ehsan Khan, going down on one leg and picking the ball well to dispatch over deep mid-wicket fence. In the final over, Suryakumar swung his arms for successive sixes over cover off Arshad, second of which got him his fifty in 22 balls.

He was still not done yet, presenting full face of the bat while lofting down the ground for a hat-trick of sixes and got his fourth six of the over by pulling over fine leg to help India reach a total which was a far possibility at the half-way mark.

Brief Scores: India 192/2 in 20 overs (Suryakumar Yadav 68 not out, Virat Kohli 59 not out; Mohammad Ghazanfar 1/19, Ayush Shukla 1/29) beat Hong Kong 152/5 in 20 overs (Babar Hayat 41, Kinchit Shah 30, Ravindra Jadeja 1/15, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 1/15) by 40 runs

IANS

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