Hong Kong gave India a real scare at the Asia Cup.
Hong Kong gave India a real scare at the Asia Cup.

Hong Kong give India big ODI scare

OPENER Shikhar Dhawan hit a superb century as India survived a major scare to secure a 26-run victory over Hong Kong at the Asia Cup in Dubai.

Batting first in the Group A fixture, Dhawan guided India to 2-240 from 40 overs, chalking up his 14th ODI hundred before he was dismissed on 127, with 15 boundaries and two sixes.

Ambati Rayudu had earlier made 60 off 70 balls, but the Hong Kong spinners responded following Dhawan's departure with a late flurry of wickets to restrict India to 7-285. Kinchit Shah finished with 3-39.

The Associate Member side then threatened an unlikely result as Hong Kong captain Anshuman Rath (73) and Nizakat Khan (92) put on a stand of 174 for the first wicket - only to swiftly lose both men within two overs.

The middle order failed to produce enough support in the run chase, despite Ehsan Khan's rapid 22 late on, as Yuzvendra Chahal and ODI debutant Khaleel Ahmed, 20, each took three wickets with Hong Kong finishing on 8-259.

India, now safely through to the super-four stage, will be back in action on Wednesday when they face rivals Pakistan, who also beat Hong Kong in their opening fixture.

Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed is taking nothing for granted as one of the most famous rivalries in world cricket resumes

Pakistan won the last encounter between the two rivals - a huge 180-run victory over India in the final of the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy.

But Ahmed, who has won 18 out of 25 games as Pakistan's ODI captain, isn't getting over-confident.

"You could say it is Pakistan's home ground, but the conditions here are same for all the teams," Ahmed said of the match being played in the UAE, where Pakistan plays the bulk of its home matches.

"The weather is similar to India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and the pitches too are playing the same way. So it isn't a home ground for any team. It is equal for all."