After Sri Lanka’s exit after three days of the competition, Hong Kong‘s departure followed on Tuesday. But the enormous difference in the effort put in by both teams was quite evident. Both teams performed poorly in their first respective matches in the Asia Cup. Sri Lanka remained consistent on that front even in their second match and were knocked out by their opponents with ease. Hong Kong, on the other hand, made a remarkable comeback in their second game against India. Not only did they maintain grace throughout the game, but also at one point stirred in a fear amongst Indian fans that the minnows might just outshine the second best ODI team in the world.
Sri Lanka’s Poor Performance
In their first match, Sri Lanka got ripped apart with Bangladesh registering their highest ODI win away from home. With Mushfiqur Rahim producing his greatest ODI innings ever, Bangladesh was led to a 137-run victory. Rahim scored 144 off 150 deliveries, hitting 11 fours and 6 sixes. The total put up by Bangladesh was 261 with Malinga securing four wickets but the Sri Lankan batsmen could only manage 124 in 35.2 overs, none of the batsmen could go beyond the score of 30.
Against Afghanistan, the exact same story was repeated by the Sri Lankan players. Thisara Perera bagged a five-wicket haul, more wickets towards the end of the innings, only to restrict Afghanistan to a total of 249. The batsmen failed to defend the score in the exact same way as in the previous match and were bowled out for 158. It was one bowler show versus a collective display of bowling effort with the latter winning the show on both occasions.
Hong Kong’s Fight Back
Hong Kong lost their first match to Pakistan and extremely feeble with only managing a total of 116 runs. Pakistan lost only two wickets, both picked by spinner Ehsan Khan, on their way to transcend that score in a matter of 23.4 overs. Hong Kong lost to Pakistan by 8 wickets.
But that’s worthy of notice, the way they graced into their second match and almost came close to winning a game against India. Despite opener Shikhar Dhawan scoring his hundred, the bowlers of Hong Kong collectively restricted the Indian team to 285/7 letting them score only 40 odd runs in the last 10 overs. Hong Kong displayed a gutsy show of batting right from the start of the second innings of the match.
India finally got their breakthrough when Kuldeep uprooted the captain of Hong Kong in the 34th over. With Anshuman Rath’s(73) departure, Nizakat Khan’s(92) exit followed. India were back in the game with two wickets in two overs and there was no looking back. Debutant Khaleel Ahmed bagged three wickets, so did Yuzvendra Chahal, while Kuldeep Yadav picked up two. The rest of the batsmen couldn’t compete with the momentum in India’s grasp and Hong were 259/8 at the end of 50 overs.
Results- Sri Lanka:
September 15 vs Bangladesh, Dubai International Stadium- Bangladesh beat Sri Lanka by 137 runs.
September 17 vs Afghanistan, Sheikh Zayed Stadium – Afghnanistan beat Sri Lanka by 91 runs.
Results- Hong Kong:
September 16 vs Pakistan, Dubai International Stadium- Pakistan beat Hong Kong by 8 wickets.
September 18 vs India, Dubai International Stadium- India beat Hong Kong by 26 runs.
Asia Cup Group A: India Pakistan Match Review