In match 2 of Asia Cup 2018, Sarfaraz Ahmed’s Pakistan will lock horns with Hong Kong led by Anshuman Rath at Dubai International Stadium in the United Arab Emirates today. Favourites Pakistan will take this game as an opportunity to get familiar with the conditions while Hong Kong would like to put up a spirited performance. More than half of Hong Kong squad has Pakistani heritage, which would make this a special occasion for the team. Both teams have faced off twice earlier – in 2004 and 2008 – with Pakistan winning both encounters easily.
Pakistan Team News
For Pakistan, Asia Cup is the start of a busy season. Right after the multination tournament, they will play home series against Australia and New Zealand, followed by a full tour of South Africa. Coming after an extended break, the team would like to start with a comprehensive win against the minnows. Pakistan’s recent one-day international record makes for a rather interesting read. In their last three series, Pakistan has beaten Zimbabwe 5-0, been whitewashed 5-0 by New Zealand and they have beaten Sri Lanka 5-0. The trend suggests that once Pakistan is in the groove they are hard to stop. Pakistan has a combination of experienced players and young talented players like Fakhar Zaman who is coming after a fantastic ODI series in Zimbabwe where he finished as the leading run-getter with 515 runs. Meanwhile, Shoaib Malik the most experienced batsman in Pakistan line-up is also among the leading run scorers in ODIs with 7,015 runs.
Hong Kong Team News
On the other hand, Hong Kong has little to lose. They are returning to Asia Cup after a gap of ten years and with the new skipper in Anshuman Rath at the helm, will be keen to prove a point after being stripped off their ODI status post a disappointing World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe. They have done well to reach the competition defeating sides likes UAE and Nepal in the Asia Cup qualifiers to make it to the final six. In Rath and Nizakat Khan, they have a solid opening partnership and with the experience of Babar Hayat and Nadeem Ahmed will hope to cause a few upsets at the multi-nation event.
Here are the playing 11 probables of both sides:
Pakistan playing 11 probables: Sarfraz Ahmed, Hasan Ali, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Amir, Junaid Khan, Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali and Faheem Ashraf.
Hong Kong playing 11 probables: Anshuman Rath, Babar Hayat, Kinchit Shah, Christopher Carter, Ehsan Khan, Aizaz Khan, Scott McKechnie, Tanwir Afzal, Ehsan Nawaz, Nadeem Ahmed, and Nizakat Khan.