Hong Kong triumph again UAE to join India and Pakistan in Asia Cup
Hong Kong will take on India in their first game of Group A on August 31.
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The 15th edition of the Asia Cup beckons as Hong Kong qualified for the upcoming tournament, becoming the sixth and final participating nation. They made it through to the main tournament after overcoming the United Arab Emirates in the final qualifying round on Wednesday, 24th of August.
Hong Kong's qualification means that they will now join Asian heavyweights India and Pakistan in Group A. Although they are unlikely to progress to the Super 4 stage, it will be a unique experience for the players battling against some of the best players in the world. Their campaign will commence with a match against defending champions India on the 31st of August and will be followed by a clash against the Men in Green on the 2nd of September.
Ehsan Khan and Yasim Murtaza power Hong Kong to the main Asia Cup tournament
Talking about the final qualifying round match, it saw Hong Kong bundling out UAE on a mediocre total of 147 runs. Veteran spinner Ehsan Khan stole the show with the ball in hand, returning with exceptional bowling figures of 4/24, taking his tally to nine wickets in the three-match qualifying tournament.
The light score was unlikely to trouble the Hong Kong batters as the pitch had no demons in it. The opening batters made a commanding start to the game, which saw them add 85 runs for the first wicket in under 11 overs. Skipper Nizakat Khan's departure did not derail their chase as they raced home with an over to spare and eight wickets in the bag. Yasim Murtaza anchored the chase with a brisk half-century before Babar Hayat ensured their victory with a blistering unbeaten 38 off 26 deliveries. Hong Kong won all three of the qualifying matches, showcasing their tremendous improvement in recent times.
The continental tournament will commence on the 27th of August with a clash between Sri Lanka and Afghanistan at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. But it is the high-profile clash between arch-rivals India and Pakistan on the following day which has been the most anticipated fixture of the group stages.