Pakistan moves in Asian Games cricket semis

Islamabad: Pakistan downed Hong Kong by 68 runs in the 19th Asian Games Men’s Cricket quarterfinals at the Zhejiang University of Technology Cricket Field in Hangzhou, China on Tuesday.

Pakistan would now feature in the second semi-final on Friday, against the winner of the third quarterfinal between Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.

After being put into bat first, Pakistan scored 160 on the board, courtesy of Aamir Jamal’s fiery batting display at death. In the second innings, the Qasim Akram-led spin attack proved too difficult a task for the Hong Kong batters who folded for 92 runs in 18.5 overs.

Nizakat Khan won the toss for Hong Kong and elected to field first. After a bumpy start to the innings, Pakistan eventually ended with a solid total of 160, owing to Aamir’s extraordinary hitting in the final overs of the innings. Coming to bat in the 17th over, Aamir took only 16 balls to score 41 runs, including four maximums and two boundaries.

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Earlier in the innings, veteran Asif Ali and debutant Arafat Minhas stitched a partnership of 36 runs from 26 balls for the seventh wicket. Asif (25, 21b, 1×4, 2x6s) and Arafat (25, 16b, 2x4s, 2x6s) were the second highest scorers after Aamir.

Hong Kong had an impressive day with the ball; Ayush Shukla ended the innings with four wickets and Mohammad Ghazanfar grabbed three wickets.

In turn, Pakistan spinners rose to the occasion, allowing the side to completely command the game. The Hong Kong batters fell victim to the web Arafat, Sufiyan Muqeem, Qasim Akram and Khushdil Shah spun around them. Khushdil got three wickets while the remaining three got two wickets each. Babar Hayat was the highest scorer for the side, after making 29 runs in 27 balls, hitting three boundaries and two sixes.

Scores in brief: Pakistan: 160 all out in 20 overs (Aamir Jamal 41, Arafat Minhas 25, Asif Ali 25, Omair Bin Yousuf 21; Ayush Shukla 4-49, Mohammad Ghazanfar 3-26).
Hong Kong: 92 all out in 18.5 overs (Babar Hayat 29; Khushdil Shah 3-13, Qasim Akram 2-5, Sufiyan Muqeem 2-11, Arafat Minhas 2-19).

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