DateLine: 25th June 2008
All-rounder Sohail Tanveer shone with both bat and ball to steer Pakistan to a 155-run win over Hong Kong in their Group B match in the Asia Cup at National Stadium here on Tuesday.
Tanveer hit a 55-ball 59 and added an invaluable 100-run eighth wicket stand with Fawad Alam (63 not out) to lift Pakistan from 161-7 after left-arm spinner Nadeem Ahmed had hit the home team hard with a burst of four wickets.
Tanveer then took 2-20 to bundle the qualifiers out for 133 in 37.2 overs.
Hong Kong never seriously challenged the imposing target, with only skipper Tabarak Dar (24) and Zain Abbas (26 retired hurt) looking comfortable against a strong Pakistan bowling line-up.
Earlier, Younus Khan (67) and captain Shoaib Malik (35) had put Pakistan in a strong position before Nadeem chipped in with four wickets off 21 balls in the space of 40 runs.
Nadeem, who finished with 4-51, was surprisingly kept away from the attack early on, allowing Alam and Tanveer to do their worst. Tanveer hit six boundaries before holing out in the 47th over.
Alam hit three boundaries during his steady knock and created a new eighth-wicket record in the Asia Cup, beating 54 set by Indian batsman Ajay Jadeja and Ajit Agarkar at Dhaka eight years ago.
Malik said the middle order collapse was not unique.
"It happens in cricket and at times you have to trust on the lower order. The situation was never out of hand and Alam and Tanveer doing well is a good sign for future," said Malik.
Dar blamed lack of fitness for his team letting Pakistan off.
"There were stages when we had an upper hand, but we lack match fitness and that allowed Pakistan to escape," said the Hong Kong captain.
Pakistan, who beat India to lift the tri-series cup in Bangladesh on June 14, got off to a disastrous start here when opener Salman Butt edged Afzaal Haider to wicket-keeper Jamie Atkinson off the third delivery of the match.
Malik, who opened the innings, added 67 runs for the second wicket with Younus before he cut straight into the hands of cover off paceman Irfan Ahmed.
Nadeem then came into his own, breaking a 54-run third-wicket stand by removing Yousuf (28) and Younus in successive overs. He had Yousuf caught sweeping at square-leg and then lured Younus out of his crease for a stumping.
Nadeem, who made his debut as a 16-year-old against Pakistan in the Asia Cup four years ago, then trapped Misbah-ul Haq (two) and caught Shahid Afridi (four) off his own bowling to leave Pakistan reeling at 150-6.
Nadeem's figures were the best by any Hong Kong bowler in their short three-match one-day international history, beating the previous best of 3-46 by Ilyas Gul against Bangladesh in the 2004 Asia Cup in Colombo.
India, three-time winners of the Asia Cup, are the third team in Group B.
Titleholders Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and United Arab Emirates are in Group A, based in Lahore.
The top two teams from each group will qualify for the Super League where each team plays three matches to decide the July 6 finalists.
(Article: Copyright © 2008 AFP)
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