New Delhi:Pakistan made Hong Kong realise the gruels of top-level international cricket, handing them a crushing 155-run defeat in a Group B match of the Asia Cup at National stadium on Tuesday night.
Electing to bat, Pakistan overcame early hiccups to post an imposing 288 for nine and then stopped Hong Kong at 133 for nine in 37.2 overs to make an easy winning start.
Hong Kong innings folded without losing all ten wickets as Zain Abbas did not complete his innings after retiring at individual score of 26, which was also highest for them.
Hong Kong, led by Tabarak Dar, did well in the first part stopping Pakistan from reaching 300 but scoring against experienced attack was the real test of their batting line up.
Sohail Tanvir put up a brilliant all round show in Pakistan's victory as he first played a crucial 59-run knock and then picked up two wickets to pile up agony for Hong Kong.
The pace trio of Tanvir (2/20), Umar Gul and Iftikhar Anjum (2/18) intimidated, bruised and then devastated the opponent batting.
Tanvir, Anjum and spinning all rounder Shahid Afridi, who once again failed with the bat, shared six wickets among them.
It was a brave start by Hong Kong as skipper Tabarak Dar and Skhawat Ali put on 27 without loss but Dar had to leave the crease after receiving a nasty blow by Umar Gul.
A bouncer hit the grill of the helmet, leaving Dar stunned and forced to put a break on his innings though fortunately he was not injured seriously.
The side never recovered from the blow dealt to their captain and kept losing wickets. From none for 27 they were reduced to 3 for 32 as Tanvir and Iftikhar rocked the top-order.
It was a lost battle for Hong Kong as they found the going tough against formidable Pakistan attack. Batsmen walked back to Pavilion one after another and it was easy for Pakistan.
After pacers did their job well, Pakistan spinners in Afridi and Fawad Alam and even skipper Shoaib Malik carried forward the good work. They kept a tight line, giving no chance to opponents free their arms.
Earlier, Fawad Alam (63 not out) and Tanvir (59) shared a crucial eight-wicket 100-run stand to propel Pakistan to 288 for nine.
Pakistan, electing to bat, were struggling at 161 for seven against minnows before the spin-pace combo of Alam and Tanvir joined hands to lift the hosts from what appeared to be an embarrassing situation.
Their top-order failed to build on to good starts and surprisingly struggled to negotiate a nascent attack, which did exceptionally well to put their fancied opponents under pressure.
Nadeem Ahmed ripped apart the Pakistan middle order to return brilliant figures of four for 51 after Afzal Ahmed and Irfan Ahmed removed openers.
Paceman Irfan (2/59) chipped in with two wickets.
Pakistan skipper Shoaib Malik (35) opened the batting with Salman Butt (0).
Malik sizzled for a while, hitting seven boundaries in his short stay, before becoming the victim of Irfan.
The hosts batsmen did not build up partnerships and only Younis Khan, who struck a superb 67 showed will to stay at the crease.
Younis played crucial knock, adorned with eight fours and one six, up the order to save his team from blushes.
After big hitter Shahid Afridi (4) and Misbah-ul Haq (2) failed to wield the magic of their batting prowess, Alam and Tanvir ensured they put enough runs on the board for themselves.
While Alam played patiently, building his innings ball after ball, Tanvir's knock was mixture of aggression and calm.
Alam consumed 77 balls for his unbeaten 63 and helped himself with three boundaries.
Tanvir contributed a useful 59, aided by six boundaries, to give his team relief.