India expectedly had no trouble defeating minnows Hong Kong in the Group A encounter of the Asia Cup 2022 to qualify for the Super Four stages. This was India’s second win in as many games as the Rohit Sharma-led outfit earlier defeated Pakistan in the opening game.
Sent to bat first, Indian batters had a merry time during the lopsided match as they clobbered the hapless Hong Kong bowlers at will to take post a huge 192/2 in 20 overs. To the minnows’ credit, they did managed to go past 150 and played the entire quota of 20 overs against quality Indian bowling.
There were plenty of points worth pondering about during the game and Firstpost takes a look at them:
Suryakumar Yadav smashes bowlers at will
Hong Kong bowlers should have felt happy with their efforts midway through the innings as they contained the Indian top-order to mere 70 runs in the first 10 overs. All that changed once Suryakumar Yadav arrived in the 14th over with 94/2 on the board. The 31-year-old batter, who has been in fine form of late, scored a 26-ball 68 to give Indian bowlers a solid total to defend.
The highlight of his knock was certainly the final over of his innings as he whacked an inexperienced medium pacer Haroon Arshad for 26 runs. The blitzkrieg included four sixes as he distorted the line and length of the 22-year-old Hongkonger throughout the park.
Virat Kohli hits first half-century in T20I since February
Surya’s firework overshadowed Virat Kohli’s return to form as the former Indian captain scored a 44-ball 59, laced with three boundaries and a six, for his first half-century since February in T20I. For the record, the last fifty. also his first of the year came against West Indies at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.
By his own high standard, the 33-year-old batter won’t claim it to be his best of innings as the amount of boundaries he hit during his knock. Kohli, in particular, was at discomfort against spinners for a change on a slow Dubai surface and could be a weakness for stronger teams to exploit later in the day.
Also, a half-century against a weak Asian side won’t please many skeptics but could give Kohli the rhythm and confidence for the rest of the series.
KL Rahul 39-ball 36 pleases few
KL Rahul managed to get some runs out of his bat with a 36-run knock after falling for a first-ball duck against Pakistan in the group opener. However, taking 39 deliveries for the knock and hitting just two sixes meant the opener had to face the ire of the fans and was soon the butt of all jokes on social media.
During the last IPL, Rahul’s credential as a T20 batter was questioned as his inability to accelerate after the powerplay did opponents more favour than trouble.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar pick among bowlers again
Indian senior pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar has turned his career around since IPL this season. It’s hard to believe the same pacer was struggling to earn the faith of other franchises at the auction earlier this year and could only fetch 4.20 crore against his 2 crore base price.
And on Wednesday, the 32-year-old Indian pacer gave away just 15 runs in three overs while picking a wicket. His spell, along with Ravindra Jadeja (1/15) and Yuzvendra Chahal (0/18), never gave Hong Kong a shot at chasing.
His spell comes after Bhuvi took 4/26 against Pakistan in the group opener, making him the most reliant pacer of the team.
Avesh Khan and Arshdeep Singh go for a plenty
That’s because the remaining Indian pacers in the playing XI in Avesh Khan and Arshdeep Singh failed to impress and went for plenty against a weak batting outfit. The inexperienced of the duo was found wanting as Avesh gave away 53 runs in four overs while Arsdeep coughed up 44 runs in as many.
And something that may bother India in the remaining games against considerably stronger teams is spinner Chahal goes another match without picking a wicket.