COX’S BAZAR - A 220-run opening stand between Imam-ul-Haq (120) and Imran Butt (108), and Usama Mir’s 7 for 14 helped Pakistan beat Hong Kong by 248 runs at Sheikh Kamal International Cricket Stadium.

Choosing to bat first, Pakistan posted 327 for 4, and Hong Kong were dismissed for 79 in 31.2 overs.

Imam maintained a strike-rate of 96.77 for his second consecutive century of the tournament, while Butt’s corresponding figure was 81.81. They were separated when Ehsan Khan sent Butt back off the first ball of the 40th over. He hit ten fours in his innings.

Imam, who hit 12 fours and a six, added 41 runs with Haris Sohail before Tanveer Ahmed removed him in the 45th over. Pakistan added 66 runs in the last 5.2 overs thanks to Hammad Azam’s 15-ball 44, which included five fours and three sixes.

Azam fell in the penultimate ball of the innings to give Ehsan Nawaz his second wicket. Ehsan Khan was the most economical among the Hong Kong bowlers, finishing with 10-0-44-1.

Looking to up the ante right from the start, Hong Kong could not find an answer against a strong bowling attack. Mir, the legspinner, was the fifth bowler used in Hong Kong’s innings, and he struck for the first time in the 22nd over when he had Nizakat Khan caught. Before that Bilal Asif, Khusdil Shah and Zafar Gohar had already taken a wicket each, meaning Mir picked up the last seven scalps all by himself.

He struck twice in the 22nd over before picking up Shahid Wasif with the last delivery of the 24th over. He picked up the rest of his wickets in the 26th, 28th (two off the last two balls) and 32nd overs to end the game in a jiffy.

Anshuman Rath, Hong Kong’s captain and opener, was the highest scorer with 27, and a total of five batsmen failed to open their account.