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2022 Asia Cup: India wins by 40 runs over Hong Kong

Team India claimed a win by 40 runs over Hong Kong on Wednesday at the Dubai International Stadium in the 2022 Asia Cup to qualify for the Super Four stage.

The Men in Blue started steadily behind Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul. The duo scored 38 runs for the first wicket before Sharma got dismissed. Previously, Sharma also scored 21 runs off 13 balls. India struggled at 94/2 after 13 overs when Sharma was dismissed after Virat Kohli joined Rahul in the middle.

As soon as Kohli and Rahul took over, they attempted to slowly build their play to a strong finish. Unfortunately, Rahul was eventually dismissed after having scored 36 runs in 39 balls. Kohli, on the other hand, scored 59 off 44 balls.

Rahul’s performance in this match attracted criticism from former India fast bowler Venkatesh Prasad, especially since, at the time, India was looking for a way to play aggressively.

"Is there something in the pitch that is not visible. Simply can't fathom this approach especially from KL Rahul. #IndvsHkg" Prasad tweeted.

Rahul has been criticised for scoring runs at a slow rate. While he scored many runs during his time in the IPL, his team frequently lost advantage due to Rahul’s sluggish performance.

Suryakumar Yadav came in to bat after Rahul, slamming an unbeaten 68 off 26 balls, and launching the team to score 192/2 in 20 overs. He gave team India a massive lead over Hong Kong.

Rahul's underwhelming performance

Throughout the match, Rahul struggled against the opposing team’s bowling attack. He took 39 balls to score 36 runs, all while looking somewhat rusty throughout his stay in the middle.

While he smashed two sixes in the match, he played too many dot balls with a 92.31 strike rate. Mohammad Ghazanfar eventually dismissed Rahul after the latter edged the ball to the wicketkeeper.

So far, his return to cricket after his injury has been somewhat underwhelming. Previously, Rahul was dismissed for a golden duck in India’s opening game against Pakistan. His form and fitness have also been a subject of debate.

After surgery for a sports hernia after IPL 2022, he eventually rejoined team India in the 3-ODI match series against Zimbabwe. However, his return to the team cost Deepak Hooda his spot in the playing XI.

As a result of being dismissed on 36 against Hong Kong and his overall slow performance, Rahul was considered one of the weakest highlights of the match, drawing criticism from Indian fans.

“Kl Rahul as an opener in T20Is is something I never liked! I would rather prefer opening with Rishabh Pant even if that means a lot of risk!” a fan tweeted.

Former selector Saba Karim said that if Rahul failed to perform as an opener in upcoming matches, Rishabh Pant should be in the playing XI instead.

“I don’t think Pant will get opportunities if India sticks to their last combination. He can only get into the side if KL Rahul does not find his form. Only then, he could get a chance to play," Saba said.

Gian Chacko

Sports enthusiast with love for cricket, football and sports in general. Holds 10+ years of following and writing about sports and lately also betting.