Pak defeat Hong Kong by 178 runs

A brilliant all-round display by Shoaib Malik and a maiden ton by Younis Khan helped Pakistan steamroll Hong Kong with a thumping 178-run win

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:07 IST
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Colombo:A brilliant all-round display by Shoaib Malik and a maiden ton by Younis Khan helped Pakistan steamroll Hong Kong with a thumping 178-run win in their last pool-A league match of the Asia Cup cricket tournament match here today. Malik first scored a career-best 118 and was associated with a huge 223-run partnership with Younis Khan, who made 144, to take Pakistan's score to 343 for five in 50 overs. The 22-year-old then returned with figures of four for 19 with his slow off-spin to fashion Pakistan's second successive victory to emerge as group-A toppers. Akhtar rested Pakistan never required the services of their more experienced players in the win as captain Inzamam-ul Haq and Yousuf Youhana did not bat after the side started the match without pace spearhead Shoaib Akhtar, who was rested. Imran Farhat, a part-time leg-spinner also tormented the hapless Hong Kong batsmen with three wickets giving away just 10 runs in his four overs at the Sinhalese Sports Club ground. After Pakistan set an almost improbable target of 344, Hong Kong never looked in the hunt and lost wickets at regular intervals to lesser-known Pakistani bowlers led by Malik. Only Tim Smart (25), Tabarak Dar (36), Manoj Cheruparambil (30) and Afzaal Haider (22) offered some resistance to delay the inevitable before the minnows were bowled out for 165 in 44.1 overs. This was Hong Kong's second loss following the 116-run defeat against Bangladesh in the tournament opener on Friday. Progress into next round Pakistan and Bangladesh now move into the Super League stage where they will be joined by India and Sri Lanka, who are playing at Dambulla today to determine the Pool B leaders. In Pakistan's innings, Inzamam's decision to send the two players up in the batting order after the dismissals of the openers -- Imran Nazir and Imran Farhat -- by the 10th over paid rich dividends as Malik notched up his third century and Younis Khan scored his maiden ton. Malik's 118 was his highest score bettering the 115 he made against New Zeland in Lahore two years back. Younis Khan, who had to wait till his 103rd one-dayer for his first century, made 144. Listless attack The two batsmen flayed a listless Hong Kong attack to share a huge third wicket stand of 223 runs to steer Pakistan to the highest total of the tournament so far. Pakistan lost both the openers to pacer Khalid Khan who came up with a spirited bowling effort in the early part of the match. First to go was Nazir, who was trapped leg before by Khalid in the sixth over when the batsman was on 10 and the team's score 33. Four overs later, Farhat (20) followed his partner back to the pavilion with Khalid removing him, Alexander French taking the catch. The two dismissals saw Malik and Younis Khan joining hands in the middle as both captain Inzamam and his deputy Yousuf Youhana dropped themselves down the order. Cautious start After a cautious start to their innings, both Malik and Younis Khan grew in confidence as the game progressed hitting some glorious shots all around the park. They took Pakistan's score close to the 300-mark when a smart piece of fielding by Afzaal Haider saw the back of Malik. Malik, who hit 10 fours and two sixes in his 110-ball knock, tried to take a short single but was sent back half way by Younis Khan. The direct hit by Haider from the short fine-leg found the batsman well out of the crease. Younis Khan departed in an attempt to step up the scoring in the slog over. He was caught by Nadeem Ahmed off Haider in the penultimate over after making his runs off 122 balls with the help of 8 fours and three sixes. Pakistan did not need the services of their most senior batsmen -- Inzamam and Youhana -- as hitters Abdul Razzaq (18), Moin Khan (11 not out) and Mohammed Sami (9 not out) carried on the good work done by Malik and Younis Khan by scoring some quick runs in the last few overs. (PTI)

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