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Who said what: The cricketing world reacts as India survive Hong Kong scare in Asia Cup

Vishwanath RT
ANALYST
News
4.54K   //    19 Sep 2018, 04:47 IST

It was shaping up to be the shock of the year, as Hong Kong looked determined to put one past overwhelming favorites India. In the end, normal service resumed - but not before Rohit Sharma's men were given a mighty scare.

India, who were put into bat first by Hong Kong, lost their skipper Rohit in the eighth over. But a 116-run partnership for the second wicket between Shikhar Dhawan and Ambati Rayudu put them in command.

After Rayudu's departure for 60, Dhawan put together a 79-run partnership with Dinesh Karthik. However, things went haywire after the partnership was broken.

Karthik and Dhoni followed Dhawan back to the pavilion within a span of three overs. After that three-wicket setback, India never really recover and managed only 285 after being in a situation where 350 looked possible.

During the chase, Hong Kong got off to a wonderful start as their openers Anshuman Rath and Nizakat Khan put together a 174-run partnership for the first wicket. When things started looking bleak for India, Kuldeep Yadav provided a breakthrough as he dismissed Rath for 73. And in the very next over, Khaleel Ahmed picked up the wicket of Nizakat, who missed a century by 8 runs.

After breaking the opening partnership, India kept picking up wickets at regular intervals, ultimately winning the match by 26 runs. Debutant Khaleel Ahmed was impressive with the ball as he picked three crucial wickets. Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav were the only other wicket-takers for India as they took three and two wickets respectively.

Here's how the cricketing world reacted to India's marginal win over Hong Kong:

Anshuman Rath

The Hong Kong captain spoke at length about his team's performance - "We are proud but it is bitter sweet. We were in a position to win and probably should have. We had a good start but lost too many key wickets in the middle but credit to the Indian bowlers. They bowled well and bowled to their plans."

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He also spoke about the fearless brand of cricket that they play - "We have had no pressure coming into the tournament and wanted to play with a smile on our faces on the big stage. We've done that and done ourselves proud."

On being questioned about the whether the team recovered after their loss to Pakistan, this is what he had to say - "Yes, would have been great if we had rolled over the best team in the world, wasn't to be but super proud of the boys."

Before he concluded the talk he also spoke about the positives for his side from the match - "Loads of them, Nizakat's innings at the top was really good, he had been batting at 4 during the qualifiers and (we) gave the nod to bat up.

"Then our bowling in the death, gave just 48 off the last 10 overs and that against the best ODI side in the world really means a lot. Shows the brand of cricket we play.

"The way Shikhar batted, Rayudu batted well and they could have got 350 but we stuck at it in this heat to pull it back."

Rohit Sharma

The Indian skipper spoke about the importance of learning during a tournament - "Not a lot of things went to plan. But to win the game is very important.

"We always knew it was not going to be easy. We had a pretty inexperienced bowling line up but having said that, there are no excuses. We made our mistakes where we could have attacked or we could have defended better.

"This tournament is all about learning. And these guys will learn. But in the end, these guys have done the job in the past. When the going gets tough, you need characters and a couple of the characters did well.

"You have to give credit to Hong Kong. They played really well and showed good determination. Great partnership and great batting from those two openers.

"Great learning for the bowling group. To handle the situations was important. It was better to have this in the first game of the tournament."

Before concluding the Indian captain had a few words of praise for the man of the match Dhawan and for the debutant Khaleel - "Shikhar was a great positive. He had a long tour of England but he came back determined. It was not easy out there. Ambati got a brilliant fifty as well.

"Khaleel is a very exciting player to have in our squad. Today, he showed that despite not starting well he found a way to come back. And that is what as a captain I need. He stuck to his strength and got his rewards."

Shikhar Dhawan, the Man of the Match 

"I was doing my process and was working hard. I was being patient. I knew that runs gonna come and had the belief in my process. I was not taking extra risk today and was just playing on the merit of the ball. My intent was always positive.

"They were bowling in the right areas as well. One of their bowlers was not very quick but he landed it in right areas on a pitch where the ball was coming slowly on to the bat."

Harsha Bhogle

Aakash Chopra

VVS Laxman

Mohammad Kaif

Ayaz Menon

Daren Sammy

Jatin Sapru

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