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16-Sep-2018 04:49:00 GMT
Pak v HK, Asia Cup Match 2, Dubai

In-form Pakistan to Start Campaign Against Hong Kong

Dubai: Pakistan and Hong Kong have faced off in a One-Day International only twice - in 2004 and 2008 - so far with the Men in Green winning both encounters rather easily.

Much of the same will be expected when the two sides kickstart their Asia Cup campaign at the Dubai International Stadium on Sunday.

Pakistan, who are coming off a 5-0 win against Zimbabwe, will be keen to get their tournament kicking with a convincing win. They are playing on their adopted home ground and know the conditions better than anyone.

However, they are known to blow hot and cold all too often, something their captain Sarfraz Ahmed will want to keep reminding them.

In their last three series, Pakistan have swept Zimbabwe 5-0, been whitewashed by New Zealand 5-0 and then have beaten Sri Lanka 5-0.

The trend suggests, once Pakistan are in the groove they are pretty much been hard to stop, whilst also pointing out that one loss can go a long way in denting their confidence.

With India to come next, Pakistan will be hoping for a positive start in their first game and have a good chance of doing so against Hong Kong.

For starters, they have one of the most balanced sides in the competition. Fakhar Zaman recently became the quickest batsman in ODI history to complete 1000 runs while Imam-ul-Haq has also been in tremendous touch.

Babar Azam, who is ranked second place behind Virat Kohli on the ODI rankings, will look to carry on his excellent form while the experience of Shoaib Malik and Ahmed will go a long way in bolstering the middle-order.

The bowling department, as usual, has a fair variety with the likes of Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali, Usman Khan, Junaid Khan and Shaheen Afridi in the mix while Shadab Khan and Faheem Ashraf have donned the all-rounder's hat rather well of late.

Hong Kong, on the other hand, have little to lose. They are returning to the Asia Cup after a gap of ten years and with 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 qualifiers to make it to the final six, and like their captain said will want to "just go out and enjoy themselves".

In Rath and Nizakat Khan, they have a solid opening duo and with the experience of Babar Hayat and Nadeem Ahmed will hope to cause a few upsets at the multi-nation event.


Hong Kong:
Nizakat Khan, Anshuman Rath (Capt.), Babar Hayat, Kinchit Shah, Christopher Carter, Ehsan Khan, Aizaz Khan, Scott McKechnie (wk), Tanwir Afzal, Ehsan Nawaz, Nadeem Ahmed, Cameron McAulsan, Arshad Mohammad, Raag Kapur, Tanveer Ahmed, Waqas Khan, Aftab Hussain

Pakistan: Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed (Capt. & wk), Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir, Usman Khan, Shan Masood, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Nawaz, Junaid Khan, Shaheen Afridi

Pitch and conditions
It’s expected to be bright and sunny in Dubai through the day.

Stats and trivia
It is nearly three years since Pakistan lost an ODI in the UAE. That came against England in November 2015, and since then, Pakistan have won all eight matches they've played there.

Match facts
Sunday, 16 September 2018
Start time: 3.30pm local (11.30am GMT)

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