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HomeAsia CupAsia Cup 2nd Match: Pakistan vs Hong Kong Preview

Asia Cup 2nd Match: Pakistan vs Hong Kong Preview

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Last Updated on 6 years by Charbel Coorey

Asia Cup 2nd Match: Pakistan vs Hong Kong Preview Cricket Blog CricBlog Cricket Preview
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It is fantastic to see an Associate Nation get a chance against the top nations. Ideally, of course, it’d be great to see it more often, but the addition of Hong Kong in this tournament is a nice touch, even looking at the mammoth challenge that awaits.

More than half of Hong Kong’s squad is of Pakistani heritage, and in very hot and dry conditions that will suit spin, the men in red are sure to give their absolute all in this one. Ten of their 17-man squad are yet to reach 24 years of age, and against the Champions Trophy holders, this is huge test of their abilities. Of course, even thinking of a win is far-fetched, but a competitive performance here will deliver much hope for the future.

For Pakistan, they have the opportunity to get their tournament off on the right foot, ahead of their huge clash against India. In familiar conditions in the UAE, they have a genuine shot at lifting the Asia Cup for the first time since 2012, but will want to ensure they show no signs of complacency against a side they are expected to beat well. With an easy win in the recent ODI series against Zimbabwe, it’s easy to think forward to the bigger games, but this one has to be of focus.

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Key to a Pakistan win

What holds Pakistan in good stead is their amazing ability to continue producing quality bowlers. Their expected seam attack will be a handful for Hong Kong, even in extremely hot conditions. Add Shadab Khan to the mix and Pakistan have an attack that will genuinely test all teams in this tournament. Can they be ruthless against Hong Kong?
Also, the performance of Pakistan’s batsmen will be an interesting watch throughout this tournament. Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq and Babar Azam all had a very cruisy tour of Zimbabwe, but these three in particular will be looking to hit top form ahead of the India game. Zaman in particular is one to watch out for, as Bimal Mirwani also suggests here: https://battingwithbimal.com/2018/09/13/fakhar-zaman-best-performer-asia-cup/
If Pakistan are ruthless in this game, it is a good sign. It means they are focused.

Key to a Hong Kong win

Hong Kong’s strengths lies in their spin, but playing in an Asian tournament, spin alone won’t win you games. Hong Kong’s fielding is so vital today in restricting Pakistan’s batsmen as much as possible, coupled with tight bowling. In the recent Asia Cup Qualifiers, Nadeem Ahmed, Eshan Khan, Aizaz Khan and Ehsan Nawaz all took at least 10 wickets in the tournament. 
Can they get regular breakthroughs to halt Pakistan’s progress?
Also, somehow Hong Kong’s batting needs to find the fight to withstand Pakistan’s quality attack. Losing Mark Chapman, who has gone to try his hand in New Zealand, is a blow, but Anshuman Rath, the Hong Kong skipper, needs to help his team get a good start. If they can avoid losing wickets in clumps, Hong Kong can put a respectable total on the board. 
As mentioned, a competitive effort will be a fine day out.
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Possible teams

Pakistan possible XI: 1. Fakhar Zaman, 2. Imam-ul-Haq, 3. Babar Azam, 4. Shoaib Malik, 5. Sarfraz Ahmed (c & wk), 6. Asif Ali, 7. Shadab Khan, 8. Faheem Ashraf, 9. Mohammad Amir, 10. Hasan Ali, 11. Usman Khan
Hong Kong possible XI: 1. Nizakat Khan, 2, Anshuman Rath (c & wk), 3. Babar Hayat, 4. KD Shah, 5. Chris Carter, 6. Ehsan Khan, 7. Aizaz Khan, 8. Scott McKechnie, 9. Tanwir Afzal, 10. Ehsan Nawaz, 11. Nadeem Ahmed

Stats and Facts

  • Pakistan have won both matches against Hong Kong – by 173 and 155 runs in 2004 and 2008 respectively.
  • Pakistan have won eight ODIs in a row in the UAE, dating back to 2015.
  • Babar Azam needs 27 runs to become joint fastest to 2,000 ODI runs (45 innings).

Prediction

Pakistan will win this, but more importantly for them, it’s about getting their processes right ahead of the bigger games. 
If they can do that, they’ll certainly be too good here, and will set themselves up nicely in the tournament.
Thanks for reading!
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Charbel Coorey
Charbel Cooreyhttps://cricblog.net
Charbel is the owner & founder of cricblog.net, based in Sydney, Australia. He started the website to fulfill his love for the game of cricket. Charbel has also been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at charbelcoorey@cricblog.net.

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