On the back of some extraordinary batting from Suryakumar Yadav, India eased past Hong Kong in an Asia Cup 2022 Group A encounter at the Dubai International Stadium on Wednesday (August 31).
After being asked to bat first, India failed to hit the tempo in the first half of the innings. However, as soon as Suryakumar (68* off 26) walked out in the middle, he escalated India’s flow of runs with some swashbuckling strokes.
Virat Kohli too chipped in with a well-made 59* as the Men in Blue registered 192 on the board.
The Hong Kong batters knew they had a difficult task at hand. They did put up a fight, but ultimately fell 40 runs short of the target.
With the win, India became the second team after Afghanistan to qualify for the Super 4 stage.
On that note, let’s take a look at the hits and flops from Match 4 of the Asia Cup 2022 between India and Hong Kong.
Asia Cup 2022 – #4 Flop – KL Rahul (India)
KL Rahul has looked a shadow of himself since making a comeback from an injury. After scoring just 31 runs in two innings against Zimbabwe, the Karnataka-born cricketer recorded a humbling golden duck in India’s Asia Cup opener against Pakistan.
While Rahul made 36 runs against Hong Kong on Wednesday, he looked rusty and took as many as 39 deliveries during his stay. The Hong Kong bowlers stuck to a disciplined line and length and ensured that Rahul couldn’t press the accelerator as the Indian opener smashed no boundaries in the innings. Rahul did hit two brilliant maximums, one of which came off a free-hit.
Rahul’s less than run-a-ball innings mounted pressure on his opening partner Rohit Sharma (21 off 13), who perished while trying to up the ante during the fifth over.
#3. Hit – Virat Kohli (India)
After his valiant 35 against arch-rivals Pakistan on Sunday (August 28), Virat Kohli racked up some confidence-boosting runs under his belt. While it wasn’t one of his best innings, he remained unbeaten and registered his 31st T20I half-century, scoring 59* off 44 balls.
Kohli took his time to settle before unleashing some shots to gain momentum. Although slow by his benchmarks, he reached fifty from 40 deliveries, but it was an innings he required.
The former Indian skipper shared a terrific unbeaten partnership of 98* with Suryakumar Yadav and smashed a boundary and three trademark sixes during his knock.
India will hope Kohli builds on the momentum he gathered from the Hong Kong game and work his magic in the upcoming fixtures.
#2. Flop – Avesh Khan (India)
Avesh Khan is one of the three fast-bowlers who are part of the Indian squad for the Asia Cup. While he is still in the early days of his career, Avesh is yet to make an impact in the Indian jersey.
After some mediocre performances in the previous game, Avesh once again failed to impress and didn’t inspire much confidence against Hong Kong. The associate nation’s batters lined up the right-armer and mustered as many as 53 runs from his quota of four overs.
To his credit, Avesh did manage to pick up a wicket of Aizaz Khan. However, barring that one ball, Avesh proved to be a weak link for India throughout the game. The Madhya Pradesh pacer finished the innings with an alarming economy of 13.2 and holds the worst economy rate for India in a calendar year in T20Is (9.10 in 2022).
#1. Hit – Suryakumar Yadav (India)
‘Player of the Match’ Suryakumar Yadav proved to be the difference-maker between the two sides on Wednesday. The Mumbai cricketer gave a 360 degree masterclass for his half-century, scoring an unbeaten 68 runs off just 26 balls.
In a stunning display of brutal but effortless batting, Suryakumar clobbered six boundaries and as many maximums. Maneuvering himself according to the fielders, the Mumbai Indians batter displayed some exquisite and well-crafted strokeplay.
Suryakumar laid an onslaught on the hapless Hong Kong bowlers and finished the innings with four sixes in the last over, claiming 26 runs in total – the most by any Indian in the 20th over of a T20I game.