Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Pakistan left-arm seamer Usman Khan took three wickets as his side crushed Hong Kong by eight wickets in the second game of the Asia Cup.
Opting to bat first, Hong Kong made a disappointing start to their innings as opener Nizakat Khan was run out by Shadab Khan for 13.
Captain Anshuman Rath mustered 19 runs before he was caught behind off the bowling of Faheem Ashraf.
With Chris Carter, Babar Hayat and Ehsan Khan falling in quick succession, Hong Kong found themselves in a world of trouble at 44/5.
However, just as Hong Kong were teetering on the edge of a massive collapse, Kinchit Shah and Aizaz Khan came to the rescue with a 53-run partnership.
But, just as Hong Kong were recovering from their dismal start, Aizaz was clean bowled by Usman for 27.
Usman struck twice more in the same over as he removed Scott McKechnie and Tanwir Afzal in consecutive deliveries.
Kinchit went on to score 26 before he was caught by Shadab at backward point off the bowling of Hasan Ali.
Hong Kong were eventually skittled out for 116 when Ehsan Nawaz was run out for nine runs.
Usman was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets, while Hasan and Shadab snapped up two wickets apiece. As for Faheem, he chipped in with one wicket.
Chasing 117 to win, Pakistan made a solid start to their innings as openers Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq amassed a 41-run partnership before Zaman was caught behind off the bowling of Ehsan for 24.
Imam and Babar Azam kept the runs flowing with a 52-run stand before Azam, who made 33, suffered the same fate as Zaman.
However, this was Hong Kong’s last taste of success for the remainder of the match as Imam guided his side to victory with his unbeaten knock of 50, which came off 69 balls and included three boundaries and a six.
Ehsan was the only bowler to take any wickets.
Rath was disappointed with his side’s performance, and said: “Lots of soft dismissals.  was not enough. It was a good wicket. Credit goes to the Pakistan bowlers. Our off-spinners are top class, but we just didn’t have enough runs on the board.
“I think early on, it swung a bit, there was a bit of bounce. We got through the start, but we couldn’t convert it. One fifty-run partnership is not enough to post a good total.”
Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed pleased to have started the tournament on a high, and said: “This was a complete performance. But as captain I saw a couple of things, we’ll work on that as well. For us to go the distance in the tournament, we should have won this game by nine wickets.
“We also need to get early wickets with the ball. Early on, the ball didn’t swing and we had alarm bells. We have time to adjust to this before the India game. It’s good to win, but to win against India, we have to be at our very best.”
Usman was named Man of the Match, and said: “When I came to bowl, I just tried to take a wicket with the new ball. But luck was not with me today. In the second spell, I tried, and with the ball reversing, I was able to take wickets. My fitness is okay. There was a little bit of bleeding in the toe.”