DUBAI    -    Defending champions India be­came the first team from Group A to seal their Super Four spot in Asia Cup 2022 with a 40-run win over Hong Kong at the Dubai International Stadium on Wednesday. 

Earlier, Suryakumar Ya­dav’s fireworks in the last seven overs led him to be un­conquered on 68 off just 26 balls and combined with Virat Kohli’s 31st T20I fifty, 59 not out off 44 balls, propelled India to reaching a daunting 192/2. In defence of 192, spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Ravin­dra Jadeja conceded just 48 runs overall to make up for the 97 runs leaked collectively by young pacers Avesh Khan and Arshdeep Singh to reduce Hong Kong to 152/5 in their 20 overs. 

For Hong Kong, bright spots in the bat were a 71-run stand between Babar Hayat (41) and Kinchit Shah (30) while hitting 33 runs in the last two overs. But they were not enough to outshine the efforts of Suryaku­mar and Kohli. Yasim Murtaza hit Arshdeep for fours over backward point and mid-on. But the left-arm pacer had the last laugh, bouncing out Murta­za and fine leg taking the catch on top-edge. 

Hayat set the tone for Hong Kong, slamming sixes down the ground off Avesh and Bhuvnesh­war Kumar. He then showed his leg-side play, slamming 3 fours in 5 balls off Avesh and Arshdeep. But India ended power-play on a high, as Jadeja’s razor-sharp direct hit from point caught Nizakat Khan just short of his crease. Post power-play, Jadeja and Chahal applied breaks on Hong Kong’s scoring rate as just 14 runs came in next four overs. In a bid to break the shackles, Hayat tried to take on Jadeja but ended up slicing to point. 

Shah swept, went inside-out and steered hard to pick bound­aries off Chahal, Avesh and Ar­shdeep. But with the required run rate going upwards, Hong Kong were just unable to catch up with it. Avesh cleaned up Aizaz Khan with a slower deliv­ery, which made things hard for Hong Kong. Shah, in a bid to go big, miscued to a juggling long-off off Bhuvneshwar. 

Zeeshan Ali began 19th over by lofting inside-out over cover for six off Avesh. Scott McKech­nie followed it up with upper cut, flick and neat steer to take a six and two fours in a 21-run over. Zeeshan then hit succes­sive fours off Arshdeep in the final over, but by then India had all but sealed their second con­secutive win in Asia Cup 2022 and a spot in Super four