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 3 fours in 5 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 breaks 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 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.
SCORES IN BRIEF
INDIA 192/2 in 20 overs (Suryakumar Yadav 68, Virat Kohli 59; M 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.