Dubai: Having lost their opening match against Pakistan, Hong Kong will look to raise their game against defending champions India in Dubai on Tuesday.
Hong Kong came into the Asia Cup main draw after coming through the qualifiers with flying colours. They were expected to have it tough against Pakistan and India in the group stage, and the first test didn't go too well - they were beaten comprehensively by Pakistan in their tournament opener, who first bowled Hong Kong out for 116 and then chased down the target quite comfortably with eight wickets in hand.
Only four Hong Kong batsmen got into double figures and Pakistan overhauled Hong Kong's total in just 23.4 overs. But if that was tough, what awaits them in their next match is no sweeter, even if it comes against an Indian side sans Virat Kohli. The second-ranked side on MRF Tyres ICC ODI Team Rankings will be tough to beat.
For Hong Kong, a lot depended on their captain Anshuman Rath, his opening partner Nizakat Khan, and senior pro Babar Hayat. But some disciplined bowling by Pakistan and lack of experience among the Hong Kong batsmen made it a one-sided contest. Rath and Khan scored 19 and 13, respectively, while Hayat managed just seven.
Under Sharma, India have the opportunity to try out different players in the middle order, most importantly the No.4 spot that has become a game of musical chairs of late.
After Suresh Raina's disappointing show in England, Ambati Rayudu, who was originally in the squad for England before failing a fitness test, is back and is one of the contenders to take Raina's place.
MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav and Hardik Pandya should start in the middle order, with Jadhav likely to be slotted at No.6, and be a bit of an all-rounder with his right-arm off-spin, which has proved to be crucial for India in the past.
Hong Kong: Anshuman Rath (Capt.), Aizaz Khan, Arshad Mohammad, Babar Hayat, Christopher Carter, Ehsan Khan, Ehsan nawaz, Cameron McAuslan, Scott McKechnie (wk), Nadeem Ahmed, Nizakat Khan, Kinchit Shah, Jhatavedh Subramanyan, Tanwir Afzal, Waqas Khan
India: Rohit Sharma (Capt.), Shikhar Dhawan, Khaleel Ahmed, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, MS Dhoni (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, KL Rahul, Ambati Rayudu, Shardul Thakur
Pitch and conditions
It is expected to hot and humid in Dubai. The spinners will also play a key role throughout the game.
Stats and trivia
India and Hong Kong have met only once, during the 2008 Asia Cup. In that match, centuries from MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina lifted India to a total of 374 and an eventual win by 256 runs.
After 23 ODIs, Kuldeep Yadav has 48 wickets. If he gets to 50 against Hong Kong, he will become the second-quickest Indian behind Ajit Agarkar (23 matches).
Tuesday, 18 September 2018
Start time: 15:30 Local (11.30 GMT, 5pm IST)