Dubai: Hong Kong made India sweat profusely for their victory in the fourth match of the Unimoni Asia Cup at the Dubai International stadium. This associate country, which has very little facility for cricket and having only around 800 registered cricketers playing in their league, displayed the verve to give India, one of the finest teams in One Day cricket, a fright. Hong Kong fell short of the target by only 26 runs.
At one stage, it looked like Hong Kong will record one of the biggest upsets in the history of One Day Internationals. None expected this match to be an exciting or even competitive considering the might and reputation of the India as a One-day side. Though Shikhar Dhawan’s fluent century and Ambati Rayudu comeback knock of 60 gave India a total of 285 for 7, the way Hong Kong restricted India’s run flow was remarkable.
Hong Kong’s Mumbai-born Kinchit Shaw took three wickets with his accurate off spin and in the last ten overs India could muster only 48 runs.
Dhawan cracked 127 runs off 120 balls with 15 boundaries and a six while Rayudu’s 60 runs came off 70 balls with three boundaries and two sixes. Hong Kong, who put India into bat actually walked off the field with their heads held high after giving away only 48 runs in the last ten overs and preventing the mighty Indians from reaching the 300 run mark. In fact, they did not allow any batsmen other than Dhawan and Rayudu to score freely.
Nizakat and skipper Anshuman gave a stunning start putting on 174 runs in 34.1 overs. It was Hong Kong’s highest ever opening partnership, beating their best of 170 between the same pair against Scotland in 2016. Nizakat from Attock in Pakistan reached his half century in style by pulling Shardul Thakur for a six. Twenty-year-old Anshuman, whose parents hail from Orissa in India, who initially played second fiddle began to stroke beautifully. He fell after hitting 73 runs off 97 balls with four boundaries and six when he drove at Kuldeep Yadav uppishly to Rohit Sharma at cover.