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Karachi: Sohail Tanvir helped rescue Pakistan's innings with a half-century and then took two for 20 to complete a 155-run victory over Hong Kong on Tuesday in its opening group match at the Asia Cup. Tanvir's 59 rallied Pakistan to 288 for nine off its 50 overs and then returned with his left-arm fast bowling to lead Hong Kong's dismissal for 133 in 37.2 overs.
The inexperienced Hong Kong batsmen struggled with the pace of Pakistan's bowling, and captain Tabarak Dar had to retire hurt after Umar Gul's bouncer struck him on the head. He later returned, but was soon trapped leg before wicket by Shahid Afridi.
"We were on the up for some sessions but we need to work on match fitness," Dar said. "The more we play against better nations, the more we would improve.
"Zain Abbas had 26 to top Hong Kong's batsmen, but also retired with cramping. Tanvir had Shkawat Ali (8) caught at deep fine leg and then rattled the stumps of Courtney Kruger, who was out without scoring.
Hong Kong slumped to 45 for four when Rao Iftikhar bowled both Irfan Ahmed (0) and Butt Hussain (4). Spinners Afridi (2-30) and Fawad Alam (1-8) also pitched in while Younus Khan's leg-break bowling trapped Najeeb Amar leg before wicket.
Earlier, Tanvir and left-handed batsman Alam featured in Asia Cup's record-breaking eighth-wicket stand when they put on 100 runs after top order batsmen collapsed against 20-year-old left-arm spinner Nadeem Ahmed. Ahmed took four for 51 off 21 deliveries, reducing Pakistan to 161 for seven in the 30th over before Alam (63 not out) and Tanvir (59) came together at the crease.
"Middle-order batting collapse is not something new in international cricket, such things do happen," Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik said. "The situation never got out of our hands especially after Tanvir and Alam's brilliant partnership," he added.
Alam was unbeaten in 77 balls while Tanvir holed out in the deep in an attempt to accelerate the scoring late in the innings. Ahmed, who had played just one limited-overs match against Pakistan at the 2004 Asia Cup, ran through the experienced Pakistan middle order before Tanvir and Alam came to the rescue.
The Alam-Tanvir partnership broke the tournament record for an eighth-wicket stand, surpassing the 52 by India's Ajay Jadeja and Ajit Agarkar against Pakistan in 2000. Pakistan slumped quickly after Malik won the toss and elected to bat.
Medium fast bowler Afzaal Haider found a big edge off opener Salman Butt's bat with his third delivery. Khan (67) and Malik (35) added 67 runs before the Pakistani captain was caught by Butt Hussain at point.
Ahmed began his surge when Mohammad Yousuf (28) top edged a sweep, and Khan was stumped after hitting eight fours and a six in his 65-ball stand. Ahmed also trapped Misbah-ul-Haq (4) leg before wicket and then took a low return catch to dismiss Shahid Afridi (7).
Four-time winner India, the other team in Group B, will meet Hong Kong on Wednesday before taking on hosts Pakistan on Thursday. Two teams from either group will advance to the Super Four Stage.