GUANGZHOU: Pakistan captain Khalid Latif smashed the first century of the Asian Games cricket tournament on Monday as the favourites crushed China by 128 runs to reach the semi-finals.The 24-year-old opener hit an unbeaten 103 in 69 balls which featured eight fours and five sixes as Pakistan made 183-1 off their 20 overs with Sharieel Khan making 46.It was China’s second successive defeat in the tournament, having lost to Malaysia by 89 runs, and ended their brief, first flirtation with international cricket.China never recovered from their precarious position of 11-4 when they started their reply while five of their batsmen were bowled as they failed to cope with Pakistan pace and direction.
Only Li Jian reached double figures, making 14 with three confident fours.Raza Hassan took 3-10 while Aizaz Cheema finished with figures of 3-15 for Pakistan.Latif said he hoped success at the Games would help resurrect his international career with the 2011 World Cup starting in South Asia in February.”I wasn’t expecting this. I played well in domestic matches and now here with the national team,” said the skipper, who has played in five one-day and five Twenty20 matches.I did well because the Chinese bowling was not good. I definitely hope that my performance here will help me get back into the national team.”China captain Wang Lei described Pakistan as a “champion” team.”We did our best, but we really need time. That will enable us to get better in cricket. Hopefully, we will have more opportunities to play against top teams,” said Wang.Pakistan will likely to be joined in the semi-finals by Bangladesh and Afghanistan with Malaysia, Hong Kong, Maldives and Nepal all hoping to grab the final last-four place – Thenews