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Asia Cup 2022: Pakistan beats Hong Kong by 155 runs

Pakistan's qualified for the tournament's Super 4s

Pakistan have defeated Hong Kong and qualified for the Super Four stage of the Asia Cup 2022.

Pakistani bowlers sent all of Hong Kong’s batters to the pavilion with the latter scoring 38 runs.

Earlier, Mohammad Rizwan’s unbeaten 78 and a late blitz by Khushdil Shah steered Pakistan to a challenging 193-2 against minnows Hong Kong in a do-or-die Asia Cup Twenty20 clash on Friday.

Rizwan and Fakhar Zaman (53) put on a key stand of 116 after Pakistan lost skipper Babar Azam for nine in a match which will decide the final Super Four berth of the six-nation tournament.

Khushdil hit five sixes including four in the final over to finish with a flourish in his unbeaten 35 off 15 balls as Rizwan watched the blitz from the non-striker’s end in a partnership of 64.

The loser of the contest will go out of the tournament, which acts as a tune-up to the T20 World Cup in October-November in Australia.

Bowlers kept the Pakistan openers under check with a disciplined line and length and spinner Ehsan Khan got the key wicket of skipper Babar Azam for nine in the third over.

Azam hit a boundary off Ehsan’s off spin but the bowler soon got revenge with a caught and bowled to silence a largely Pakistan crowd.

The left-handed Fakhar Zaman joined Rizwan, a wicketkeeper-batsman, and the two attempted to rebuild, hitting a few boundaries between them to improve the scoring rate.

Spinners Yasim Murtaza and Mohammad Ghazanfar kept the batsmen restricted to singles and twos on a slow and low pitch until Rizwan broke the shackles with a straight six.

Rizwan kept chipping away and got his fifty off 42 balls to raise the bat amid raucous applause form the crowd.

Fakhar also changed gears and reached his fifty with a towering six off Murtaza’s left-arm spin, but got out next over to Ehsan after his 41-ball stay.

Khushdil then tore into the opposition bowling and ended the innings with three successive sixes.

Afghanistan, Sri Lanka — both from Group B — and India (Group A) have already made the Super Four.

Earlier, Pakistan lost their first wicket in the third over as Hong Kong’s Ehsan Khan sent captain Babar Azam back to the pavilion.

Hong Kong have won the toss and chose to bowl first with Pakistan taking the field to bat.

Pakistan on Friday is facing Hong Kong in its second match in the Asia Cup 2022 at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.

To qualify for the Super 4s stage in the tournament, Pakistan will have to win this knockout game against Hong Kong.

This will be the green shirts’ last game of the tournament’s group stage. Sri Lanka, India, and Afghanistan have qualified for the Super 4s already.

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