India survived a scare against Hong Kong after Shikhar Dhawan’s ton as they battled to a 26-run win over the minnows in the Asia Cup 2018 on Tuesday.
Chasing 286, Hong Kong gave their illustrious opponents a run for their money with an opening stand of 174 runs before collapsing to 259-8 in 50 overs.
India were lifted to 285-7 with the help of punishing 127 by Dhawan – his 14th ODI hundred – and an attractive 60 by the recalled Ambati Rayudu.
The Group A match was expected to be a one-sided affair, but Nizakat Khan scored a brilliant 115-ball 92 with 12 fours and a six, with skipper Anshuman Rath adding 73 to make India sweat for victory. Their stand is the best for any wicket by Hong Kong in an ODI, bettering the 170-run stand for the fourth wicket by the same pair against Scotland at Mongkok in 2016.
But both fell in successive overs to give India a sigh of relief ahead of their high-profile match against Pakistan on Wednesday.
Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal (3-46) and debutant paceman Khalil Ahmed (3-48) were the pick of Indian bowlers.
Here’s how Twitter reacted:
A huge round of applause to Hong Kong for their resilience and determination in giving India a run for their money. Good innings from @SDhawan25 & @RayuduAmbati and Khaleel Ahmed was very impressive #AsiaCup
— VVS Laxman (@VVSLaxman281) September 18, 2018
Well played Hong Kong. Tough game for India. Sometimes good to get asked tough questions before a big game.
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) September 18, 2018
India survive scare to clinch match, but Hong Kong win honours for a truly spunky show…
— Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) September 18, 2018
— Harbhajan Turbanator (@harbhajan_singh) September 18, 2018
Most centuries by Indian left-handed batsmen in ODIs:
22 – Sourav Ganguly
14 – Yuvraj Singh, SHIKHAR DHAWAN*
11 – Gautam Gambhir #INDvHK
— Umang Pabari (@UPStatsman) September 18, 2018
Brilliant effort from Hong Kong first with their bowling in the last ten overs and than being in the game with the bat for a large part of their innings. Tomorrow the big one #IndvsPak
— Mohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) September 18, 2018
Khaleel Ahmed has grown up idolising Zaheer Khan. Wants to better his role model by one wicket. Well the start is auspicious. Zak claimed 3/48 on debut vs Kenya, Khaleel registers the same figures on a challenging night. Go well young man #IndvHK
— Jatin Sapru (@jatinsapru) September 18, 2018
This is some really good and matured batting from Nizakat and Anshuman. Irrespective of the result @CricketHK has been brilliant, has made the cricketing world sit up n take notice. #INDvHK #AsiaCup2018
— Deep Dasgupta (@DeepDasgupta7) September 18, 2018
Well played Hong Kong! You surely have won many hearts tonight, came so near to upset India. The only difference between two sides was experience!
— Faizan Lakhani (@faizanlakhani) September 18, 2018
Congratulations @SDhawan25 paaji for your 💯!! 🎉✌️
— Wriddhiman Saha (@Wriddhipops) September 18, 2018
Thrilled for Shikhar Dhawan. But even more delighted for the selectors. This hundred in an ODI against Hong Kong in the UAE is just what they need to pick him for the Tests in Australia. #AsiaCup
— Raunak Kapoor (@RaunakRK) September 18, 2018
Kuldeep Yadav – 50th ODI wicket in his 24th match. Only Ajit Agarkar has done it quicker (23rd ODI) for India.
But by far the quickest by an Indian spinner – Amit Mishra did it in 32 matches!
(Yuzvendra Chahal has 48 wkts in 27 games)#IndvHK#AsiaCup #AsiaCup2018
— Mohandas Menon (@mohanstatsman) September 18, 2018
— Saj Sadiq (@SajSadiqCricket) September 18, 2018
Remarkable effort from Hong Kong- number 18 in ODI cricket – to push India – number 2 – so close. Another reminder that international cricket's depth has never been better – even as England Australia and India got their way in cutting World Cup to 10 teams
— Tim Wigmore (@timwig) September 18, 2018
— AsianCricketCouncil (@ACCMedia1) September 18, 2018