In the end what was meant to be an informal audition has seen India breaking a lot of sweat. How much bearing will this have on India's performance tomorrow? I had it on my wish list as a question to Rohit Sharma. He did mention they are up for it. Mentally - yes, physically - ?. The answers will unravel tomorrow. Until then, this is Kumar Abhisekh Das who bids adieu on behalf of his esteemed mates - Vineet Anantharaman, Akshay Maanay, Nikhil Jadhav, Hariprasad Sadanandan and Mukesh.
Shikhar Dhawan: 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.
Rohit Sharma, winning captain: 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. 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. We know we are playing back-to-back matches and that is why we rested a few players considering the amount of cricket we have played. We are looking forward to the game tomorrow.
Anshuman Rath, losing captain: (On the 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. (On Hong Kong's fearless brand of cricket) 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. (Whether the team had responded well after the last defeat) 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. (On the positives) Loads of them, Nizakat's innings at the top was really good, he had been batting at 4 during the Qualifiers and 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.
Highest totals by Associate teams vs India:265/5 Ken, Gwalior, 1998259/8 HK, Dubai, 2018 *259 Ire, Hamilton, 2015 Highest opening stands in losing run chases:188 T Dilshan - U Tharanga v Ind Rajkot 2009174 NIZAKAT KHAN - A RATH v Ind Dubai 2018166 J Ryder - B McCullum v Ind Christchurch 2009165 N Knight - M Trescothick v Aus Hobart 2003
India have managed to get out of a self-made maze. They huffed and puffed for a major part of it but held their nerves when it mattered the most to win by 26 runs. It was about the tail-spin! India fluffed their chance of getting beyond 300 by adding only 48 in their last 10 and Hong Kong ran out of fuel when the finish line was at the next bend. Erstwhile, India settled for only 285 despite a Shikhar Dhawan special. They lost too many wickets in the end and even then everyone thought how quickly would India finish it off. But all and sundry were in for a humble pie treat from Hong Kong. An opening partnership of 174 runs from Nizakat Khan(92) and Anshuman Rath(73) ensured India had to pinch themselves out of the nightmare. And once awake, the latex-laden wrists of Kuldeep and Chahal took over. Their 20 overs together went for 88 and more importantly scalped 5 wickets. But that was not it. The debutant - Khaleel Ahmed - might have been an obscure name, not anymore. His spirited spells after the 35-over mark tilted the beam hugely in India's favor as well.
Khaleel Ahmed - 16th Indian bowler to take three wickets on ODI debut. None of the previous 15 took the fourth wicket
Ehsan Nawaz, right handed bat, comes to the crease
Khaleel Ahmed to Ehsan Khan, THAT'S OUT!! Caught&Bowled!!
So, 30 off the final over.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar [8.0-0-44-0] is back into the attack
37 off 12 balls looks beyond Hong Kong's reach now
This young man is here to stay!
This is now the highest total for Hong Kong against a Full Member surpassing 241/8 vs Afghanistan in Bulawayo in 2018
40 off 18 can be done.
Fewest ODIs to 50 wickets:19 A Mendis23 A Agarkar/ M McClenaghan24 D Lillee/ Hasan Ali/ KULDEEP25 S Warne/ M HenryFewest ODIs to 50 wickets for India:23 A Agarkar24 KULDEEP YADAV28 J Bumrah29 M Shami31 I Pathan32 A MishraFewest ODIs to 50 wickets among spinners:19 A Mendis24 KULDEEP YADAV25 S Warne26 Rashid Khan28 Saqlain Mushtaq/ Imran Tahir
Tanwir Afzal, right handed bat, comes to the crease
Kuldeep Yadav to Scott McKechnie, THAT'S OUT!! Stumped!!
Kuldeep Yadav [9.0-2-31-1] is back into the attack
Final over from Kuldeep. He has been excellent as well. Kept it tight for the Indians when the pressure was on. Did not try too many things and just stuck to bowling tight lines.
K Khaleel Ahmed [7.0-0-37-2] is back into the attack
Last 5 overs..Two each from Bhuvi and Khaleel and one from Kuldeep should suffice. Rohit has got Khaleel back into the attack now.
Scott McKechnie, right handed bat, comes to the crease
58 off 32 looks massive
Chahal to Aizaz Khan, THAT'S OUT!! Lbw!!
Aizaz Khan, right handed bat, comes to the crease
Chahal to KD Shah, THAT'S OUT!! Caught!!
Hong Kong just refuse to bow down here. Every time it has looked like that India will pip ahead, Hong Kong have done enough to pull themselves back in the race.
This is now the highest total for Hong Kong in a run chase in ODI surpassing 213 vs Scotland in Edinburgh in 2016
Bhuvneshwar Kumar [6.0-0-33-0] is back into the attack
Nine more overs to go. Three to be bowled between the spinners. The other six will have to be burdened by Bhuvi and other seamers.
Ehsan Khan, right handed bat, comes to the crease
Chahal to Hayat, THAT'S OUT!! Caught!!
Yuzvendra Chahal [7.0-0-25-0] is back into the attack
Last 10 overs and Hong Kong need 88 runs. Still possible and they need to believe in themselves. Hayat will be the key man and if Shah and the rest play around him, they can certainly pull this off. India still have four overs of spin. That might be crucial for them.. Here's Chahal
Kinchit Shah, left handed bat, comes to the crease
Khaleel Ahmed to Christopher Carter, THAT'S OUT!! Caught!!
Dhoni and Rohit involved in a long discussion. Might be regarding the bowling changes. For now Khaleel will continue..
The ball is stuck in a place inside the sightscreen where it is not accessible. So the fourth umpire comes out with a box of old balls. Umpire Tucker selects one.
Highest score for maiden victim (India):S Anwar (95) - R Dravid 1999Nizakat Khan (92) - Khaleel Ahmed 2018*J Edrich (90) - S Venkatraghavan 1974B Taylor (81) - Vinay Kumar 2010
Christopher Carter, right handed bat, comes to the crease
Khaleel Ahmed to Nizakat Khan, THAT'S OUT!! Lbw!!
Babar Hayat, right handed bat, comes to the crease
Kuldeep Yadav to Anshuman Rath, THAT'S OUT!! Caught!!
Kuldeep Yadav [6.0-1-22-0] is back into the attack
Highest partnerships for HK in ODIs:172 A RATH - NIZAKAT KHAN *170 A Rath - Nizakat Khan (4th) v Sco, 2016142 A Rath - Babar Hayat (2nd) v PNG, 2017120*A Rath - Babar Hayat (4nd) v PNG, 2016101 Tanvir Afzal - Aizaz Khan (8th) v UAE, 2015
K Khaleel Ahmed [3.0-0-16-0] is back into the attack
Time for drinks.. Both teams need to get their thinking caps on. India have managed to get the asking rate to above 7 and we all saw what happened when a new batsman tried to force things. A wicket soon will tilt it in their favor. On the other hand, the two batsmen must be telling themselves to take it as deep as possible and not throw it after doing all the hard work. The game is set up beautifully.. Buckle up folks
Highest individual scores by Associate batsmen vs India in ODIs:87* NIZAKAT KHAN, Dubai, 201883 M Odumbe, Gwalior, 199879 K Otieno, Cape Town, 200377 S Tikolo, Bengaluru, 199876* D Hemp, Port of Spain, 2007
Run-out check sent upstairs. Indians are not confident. It was a direct hit and Rath was diving in. He's made it in. Not Out!
100+ partnerships for HK in ODIs:170 A Rath - Nizakat Khan (4th) v Sco, 2016165* NIZAKAT KHAN - A RATH142 A Rath - Babar Hayat (2nd) v PNG, 2017120*A Rath - Babar Hayat (4nd) v PNG, 2016101 Tanvir Afzal - Aizaz Khan (8th) v UAE, 2015
Yuzvendra Chahal [6.0-0-22-0] is back into the attack
Shardul Thakur [3.0-0-28-0] is back into the attack
Last ten overs: 34 runs. What that has done is taken the asking rate over 7. Hong Kong so far have weathered everything throw at them. How will they cope with the pressure of the asking rate? Let us wait and watch..
Bhuvneshwar Kumar [5.0-0-29-0] is back into the attack
Decently quiet overs being slipped in here. But India wouldn't be pleased. Hong Kong wouldn't be worried. Well they shouldn't be. It's that time of the night when you keep things simple.
The fielder from mid-wicket goes to backward point. Why not add a slip?
Dhruv Kapoor tweets: If Hong Kong wins... then all the more reason to watch India vs Pakistan tomorrow! #CBhaveyoursay
Kuldeep Yadav [3.0-1-12-0] is back into the attack
Nizakat's leg cramps seem to have caught up with him. But he'll have to make his peace with some rehydration here .. oh he has to bat on for HK's sake.
The umpire has a chat with Jadhav who seems be getting in the line of vision with his unusual action.
Kedar Jadhav, right-arm off break, comes into the attack
India have turned to their man with the golden arm, the slinga spinner Kedar Jadhav. Let's see if his low trajectory can make a difference.
The last time India won an ODI when the opposition put together 100+ for the 1st wicket was in Mirpur in 2012 against Pakistan - Sachin Tendulkar's last ODI
Highest opening stands for HK in ODIs:99* NIZAKAT KHAN - A RATH84 J Atkinson - A Rath v PNG, Dubai, 201771*A Rath - KD Shah v UAE, Dubai, 201563 A Rath - Waqas Barkat v UAE, Dubai, 2015
Drinks are on the field now. Excellent stuff from the Hong Kong openers, especially Nizakat Khan who has dominated the bowlers. The trial with spin has just begun but they've both fared decently thus far. Still way too many runs for India to be worried but they would want a breakthrough sooner than later.
India review. Dhoni isn't sure about it as the batsman was in front of him but Rohit goes for it anyways. Let's see. Seems like pitching outside leg. Yup, it is outside leg. India lose their only review.
How is Nizakat Khan going to deal with this? Not going to die wondering, that's for sure.
Kuldeep Yadav, left-arm chinaman, comes into the attack
Spin from both ends now as the Chinaman gets the ball. This passage of play will determine if Hong Kong have the ammunition to test India tonight.
The field can change now but Nizakat Khan is the ideal man for Hong Kong to take the Free Hit. Not that he needs one to attack.
Yuzvendra Chahal, right-arm leg break, comes into the attack
Stat this: This is the FIRST 50+ opening stand against a Full Member side for Hong Kong. It's been some fine some fine strokeplay so far and has certainly lit up the game. They have that spin test coming up though.
Shardul Thakur, right-arm fast medium, comes into the attack
K Khaleel Ahmed, left-arm fast medium, comes into the attack
Nizakat Khan and Anshuman Rath are at the crease. Nizakat Khan is on strike. Bhuvneshwar will open the attack