Team India is ready to fight against Hong Kong in the 4th match of the Asia Cup 2022 at Dubai International Stadium on Wednesday after a comfortable win over Pakistan. While India opened up their account in the tournament and sits on top of the Group A table, Hong Kong is playing their first match in the tournament after winning the qualifiers.
Team India were brilliant with the ball in the first match and would expect their bowlers to get the same energy and consistency in the game against Hong Kong also. But India’s top order could not get off to a bright start in the game. K. L. Rahul couldn’t get back to his earlier form as he went out early in the match. He may take this opportunity to try an alternative batting approach in the second game like he was in the IPL.
The skipper Rohit Sharma will also try hard in the second match as he has scored only 12 runs off 18 balls. Virat Kohli had scored 35 off 34 balls in the last match and showed a glimpse of his vintage form. If K. L. Rahul is replaced by Rishabh Pant, then Virat Kohli will open the batting along with skipper Rohit Sharma.
The left-handed batter and wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant is a power-hitter and he can change the fate of the match single-handedly. All eyes were on him at the training session on Tuesday evening as he was smashing balls hard and far.
If Rahul is included in the team along with Pant, then Suryakumar Yadav may be omitted. He has scored a run-a-ball 18 against Pakistan. The wicket-keeper batsman Dinesh Karthik also did a good job behind the stumps in the last match. He may be eyeing to get a promotion in batting against Hong Kong.
With his match-winning performance against Pakistan, all-rounder Hardik Pandya is an unavoidable part of the squad. He has been on the top of his game in the recent past. He has picked 3 wickets in the last match along with a match-winning 33 not-out.
Ravindra Jadeja was also economical in the previous match in his two-over spell. Also, he has scored 35 off 29 balls, building a crucial 52-run partnership with Hardik Pandya. But there is a chance to replace him with Deepak Hooda.
In the bowling area, the right-arm pacer Bhuvaneshwar Kumar picked 4 wickets while conceding 26 runs in his four overs against Pakistan. India will expect the same from him in the upcoming matches.
Avesh Khan, Ravi Bishnoi, and Arshdeep Singh will be part of the team for the match. Avesh Khan has conceded 19 runs in his two overs while picking the only wicket of Fakhar Zaman. Arshdeep Singh improved a lot showing his maturity and calmness while bowling under pressure and took 2 wickets in the match. Yuzvendra Chahal may be replaced by R. Ashwin as he remained wicket-less in the previous match.
This will be Hong Kong’s 4th appearance in Asia Cup but this is the first in the T20 format. They had played the qualifiers in the 2016 edition. Now, they secured a place in this Asia Cup with an outstanding performance in the qualifiers. In that game, Hong Kong defeated UAE by 8 wickets at the Al Amerat Cricket Stadium, Muscat. They have some quality players in their ranks and this will be a great opportunity for them to test the squad against some daunting teams.
Hong Kong captain Nizakat Khan was so close to scoring a century against India four years ago. 3 weeks ago, he has hit a century against Jersey in the 3rd round clash of the ICC Challenger League. Also, in the Asia Cup qualifiers in Oman, he scored a half-century against Kuwait.
Babar Hayat is a top-order right-handed batter of Hong Kong who has recently played 5 matches and he has scored 110 runs. Mohammad Gazanfar is a leg-break bowler and he has the capability to pick wickets at an average of 1.4.
Yasin Murtaza is an all-rounder for Hong Kong and in the recently played matches, he has scored 58, 46, and 26 runs. He also bowls decently.
Yazim Murtaza, the 31-year-old all-rounder, who has played 33 T20 matches for Pakistan is with the team and he surely is an asset to the team with his experience in the format. India has won both their Asia Cup fixtures in the 50-over format against Hong Kong. In the 2008 Asia Cup at Karachi, India won the match by 256 runs, and it is the biggest in terms of runs by any team in the Asia Cup. On 2018 September, India won the match by 26 runs in Dubai. Will India continue the same in this Asia Cup? Let’s wait and watch.
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