Pakistan will still be heavy favourites when they take on Hong Kong on Friday in their attempt to avoid losing in the first round of the Asia Cup despite being winless in T20Is so far in 2022 and under pressure following their loss to India in their tournament opener (September 2).
Pakistan’s batting performance against India fell short; the adversaries used the short-ball tactic to remove the top and middle order and limit them to just 147. Pakistan was unable to bounce back once the threat posed by Mohammad Rizwan was eliminated; he has a propensity to blow up during slog-overs and has an SR of 211.39 since 2021.
This can be attributed in part to their middle order, which has received only 26% of deliveries since the year 2021, compared to their top three, who have been in excellent form and have scored the majority of the points (69%).
Therefore, it would once again be up to the middle order to step up when necessary. Additionally, the chance to test the bowlers at Sharjah, a venue known for its tight boundaries, should give players a lot of confidence going into this game they must win.
That also applies to Hong Kong, which did demonstrate some of the danger they can present. Before Suryakumar Yadav’s stunning innings changed the game and gave Hong Kong a lofty goal, India was only scoring at approximately 7 an over. In response, their batting prevented it from seeming to be a one-sided affair as could have been anticipated given the apparent mismatch on paper. Pakistan would also be relying on it.
When: September 2 at 2 PM GMT/6 PM local
In Sharjah, at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
Another steamy and muggy day is in store. India is the only team to have successfully defended a total at this Asia Cup, which was coincidentally against Hong Kong. Chasing has been successful throughout venues in the UAE.
Naseem Shah appeared to be in pain as he finished the second part of his final over during India’s chase. Mohammad Hasnain will most likely be given consideration if Pakistan decides not to risk him.
Strategies and matchups: Given the conditions of the Asia Cup surfaces, runs against the hard new ball become crucial. The runs at the top are also twice as crucial when establishing aims in the UAE. Babar Azam only scores inside the PowerPlay at 113 since 2021. At 123, Rizwan performs only marginally better. Hong Kong will want to take use of this more.
Asif Ali, Mohammad Nawaz, Naseem Shah/Mohammad Hasnain, Khushdil Shah, Shadab Khan, Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, Fakhar Zaman, Iftikhar Ahmed, Haris Rauf, and Shahnawaz Dahani make up the probable XI.
In Hong Kong
Injury/Unavailability: Barring a last-minute injury, Hong Kong could start the crucial match with the same lineup they used in their first T20I outing against India.
Techniques and match-ups: In their encounter against India, Hong Kong’s spinners outperformed their pace bowling counterparts (1-119 in 10 overs), therefore we can anticipate the likes of Ehsan Khan and Yasim Murtaza to bowl where Pakistan is strongest, at the top. Because they have lost runs at an economy of over 10 in the Asia Cup (including qualifiers), Hong Kong’s pacers may be an easy target for Pakistan’s batsmen as opposed to spin, which has gone at only 6.42.
Yasim Murtaza, Babar Hayat, Kinchit Shah, Aizaz Khan, Zeeshan Ali, Scott McKechnie (wk), Haroon Arshad, Ehsan Khan, Mohammad Ghazanfar, and Ayush Shukla make up the probable XI.
Did you realise?
– The Hong Kong team includes at least five players who were born in Pakistan.
– In 14 T20 matches this season, Naseem Shah has taken 21 wickets, with a top of 5 for 20, but he has also allowed runs at an 8.14 rate. In PSL 2022, he led Quetta Gladiators in wickets taken.
How they spoke
“We’ll examine our death bowling now. We’ll get better.” – Squads of Nizakat Khan:
Mohammad Rizwan, Babar Azam, Iftikhar Ahmed, Fakhar Zaman, Khushdil Shah, Shadab Khan, Asif Ali, Mohammad Nawaz, Haris Rauf, Naseem Shah, Shahnawaz Dahani, Usman Qadir, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Hasnain, and Haider Ali are the members of the Pakistani squad.
Yasim Murtaza, Babar Hayat, Kinchit Shah, Aizaz Khan, Zeeshan Ali, Scott McKechnie (w), Haroon Arshad, Ehsan Khan, Ayush Shukla, Mohammad Ghazanfar, Wajid Shah, Aftab Hussain, Dhananjay Rao, Mohammad Waheed, Ahan Trivedi, and Ateeq Iqbal make up the Hong Kong squad.