Dubai: Shikhar Dhawan struck his 14th ODI hundred in familiar surroundings of white ball cricket on a flat deck as India scored 285 for seven against Hong Kong in their Asia Cup group league opener here, Tuesday.
Left-handed Dhawan (127, 120b, 15×4, 2×6) made merry in easy conditions against a weak opposition on a low and slow continental pitch. However, even his effort failed to take India past the 300-run mark against the minnows of the tournament.
Together with comeback man Ambati Rayudu (60, 70b, 3×4, 2×6), Dhawan put on 116 runs for the second wicket off 130 deliveries, to lay the foundation for India’s total after the early dismissal of skipper Rohit Sharma (23).
But just when it seemed the duo would smash the opposition to cleaners, Rayudu edged an Ehsan Nawaz (1/50) bouncer to Scott McKechnie behind the stumps, trying an upper cut.
After the end of Dhawan-Rayudu partnership, the Indian batsmen found the going tough against slow bowlers of Hong Kong, especially on a relatively slow pitch, where shot making was not easy for a new batsman.
Dhawan and next man Dinesh Karthik (33) then shared 79 runs for the third wicket to take the side forward before Hong Kong picked up three quick wickets to put brakes on India’s scoring rate.
Dhawan himself wasted a golden opportunity to score a big hundred, holing out to Tanwir Afzal off off-spinner Kinchit Shah’s (3/39) bowling in the 41st over.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s stay at the crease was limited to three deliveries as he failed to gauge the slowness of the pitch and edged one to McKechnie off off-spinner Ehsan Khan (2/65) in the next over.
Towards the end, Kedar Jadhav made a 27-ball 28 that took India past the 280-run mark.