Pakistan open Asia Cup with a comfortable win over Hong Kong

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As expected, Pakistan had the better of an inexperienced Hong Kong side, beating them by eight wickets to give their Asia Cup campaign a fine start in Dubai on Sunday, with the much-vaunted bowling in the frame.

Usman Shinwari led the pace-cum-spin attack which was hard to cope for Hong Kong. Shinwari took 3-19 before limping off but is reported to be in no injury scare while Hasan Ali took 2-19. It was leg-spinner Shadab Khan whose double strike in the middle of the innings which further shook the Hong Kong batting, finishing with 2-31.

That folded Hong Kong for 116 in 37.1 overs and Pakistan made a short shrift of the target by clinching victory in the xx overs, losing Fakhar Zaman (24) and Babar Azam for 33.

Imam-ul-Haq remained unbeaten for 50 off 69 balls studded with three boundaries and a six while Shoaib Malik made nine not out.

Ideally, Pakistan would have liked to bat first to get the much-needed batting practice but their bowlers also had a good work out. Notable, Mohammad Amir went wicketless which could add pressure on him but it could also help him get more motivation to do well against India.

It proved another cakewalk for Pakistan like their two previous victories against Hong Kong, by 173 runs in the 2004 Asia Cup in Colombo and by 155 in Karachi four years later.

This gives Pakistan a fine tune-up for their high profile match against arch-rivals India, also in Dubai on Wednesday.

Hong Kong struggled in their batting after their captain Anshuman Rath won the toss and chose to bat.

Top-scorer Aizaz Khan (27) and Kinchit Shah (26) fought valiantly during their sixth-wicket stand of 53 runs to offer some respite after Hong Kong were left reeling at 44-5.

Skipper Rath (19) and Nizakat Khan (13) were the only other two to reach the double figures.

Earlier the other day, Bangladesh thumped Sri Lanka by 137 runs in the opening match of Group B. Afghanistan, the third team in Group B will take on Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi on Monday.

Top two teams from each group will qualify for the next round of Super Four. Top two teams in the Super Four will feature on September 28 final in Dubai.

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