Asia Cup 2018, Match 4: India vs Hong Kong, Preview and Expected Playing XI
After suffering a massive defeat in their first game against Pakistan, Hong Kong will be hoping to secure a solitary win of their Asia Cup campaign when they lock horns with defending Champions India at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium in Dubai on Tuesday, September 18.
Both teams have faced each other just once in this format, in Asia Cup 2008, which India won comprehensively by 256 runs. Batting first India scored 374/4 in their quota of 50 overs before bowling out the Hong Kong lineup for just 118 runs.
Men in Blue have played nine ODIs so far this year, winning six and losing three. After winning six ODI series in a row, they lost their most recent series against hosts England in July 2018. It was a three-match series which they ended up losing 1-2. Despite this, they are red hot favorites going into this clash, which they will see as warm-up for them before the much-anticipated game against Pakistan.
Batting: Skipper Rohit Sharma was India's best batsman after Virat Kohli in the England ODI series with 154 runs and the onus will be on him to score some crucial runs in the middle. Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul are expected to perform the opening duties and the team will need them to fire from the beginning. In MS Dhoni, India have one of the best finishers in the world and he will once again be expected to take responsibility to get India through.
Bowling: Kuldeep Yadav bamboozled the English batsmen and topped the wickets charts with nine wickets in three matches and the wrist-spinner is likely to fox the Hong Kong batsmen with his variations.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah are the backbone of India's bowling line-up and are expected to make early inroads.
Expected Playing XI: Rohit Sharma (C), Shikhar Dhawan, Lokesh Rahul, Ambati Rayudu, Manish Pandey, MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal or Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah.
Hong Kong were not expected to stand toe to toe with Pakistan but will be really disappointed with the way they were thrashed. There was absolutely no intent from Hong Kong's batsmen and they did not have a clue how to deal with the bowlers.
Batting: KD Shaw and Aizaz Khan were the only batsmen to show some intent with their knocks of 26 and 27 respectively against the quality pace attack. All the top order batsmen, including skipper Anshuman Rath, Nizakat Khan, Babar Hayat and Christofer Carter failed to make an impact.
Babar, one of the leading ODI run-getters for the team, was dismissed for just 7 and he will be looking to make up for that. Rath was their best batsman in qualifiers and the onus will be on him to take the team off to a steady start.
Bowling: Ehsan Khan was the pick of the bowlers last time around with two wickets and the team will back him for another good performance. Aside from him, they will also bank on the likes of Left-arm spinner Nadeem, who is the team's leading wicket-taker in ODIs.
Expected Playing XI: Anshuman Rath (C), Babar Hayat, Kinchit Shah, Christopher Carter, Ehsan Khan, Aizaz Khan, Scott McKechnie, Tanwir Afzal, Ehsan Nawaz, Nadeem Ahmed and Nizakat Khan.