India pummel Hong Kong in Asia Cup(Lead)

June 26th, 2008 - 12:42 am ICT by IANS  

Karachi, June 25 (IANS) Suresh Raina struck his maiden century and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni hit his fourth as India whacked novice Hong Kong by a thumping 256 runs in their first Group B match in the Asia Cup here Wednesday. Dhoni won the toss and decided to bat as the Indian batsmen made a mockery of hapless Hong Kong bowling attack to make a mammoth 374 for four, the highest Asia Cup total.

In reply, the Hong Kong batsmen crumbled to meagre 118 runs in the 36.5 overs. Piyush Chawla picked four for 23.

Indian openers Virender Sehwag (78) and Gautam Gambhir (51) gave a perfect start to the innings as they feasted on a lacklustre Hong Kong attack. The duo raced to 100 in just 10.5 overs. Rohit Sharma, coming after Sehwag’s dismissal, was the only Indian batsman to fall cheaply when he was run out by Nadeem Ahmmed on 11.

Rohit’s departure brought Raina, whose blitzkrieg 101 off 68 balls is the second fastest hundred by an Indian. The 21-year-old hammered the bowlers all over the ground. Raina’s cracking innings had seven boundaries and five sixes.

Skipper Dhoni played a second foil, as he along with Raina piled up 166 for the fourth wicket, which is also an Asia Cup record.

Hong Kong bowlers never offered any resistance sans Najeeb Amar who snapped two wickets for 40 runs in his 10 overs.

After their bowlers’ debacle, the Hong Kong batsmen hardly proved to be a match against the experienced India and fell like nine pins.

R.P. Singh sent opener Skhawat Ali back to pavilion in the second over and from then on Hong Kong batsmen wilted under pressure while trying to accelerate.

The batsmen could not put up any partnership. Tabarak Dar and 17-year-old wicketkeeper James Atkinson did attempt to brave the Indian attack but three stumpings by Dhoni off Chawla left Hong Kong little to do.

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