Minnows Hong Kong have their work cut out against in-form Pakistan

Denzil Pinto 20:08 15/09/2018
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Pakistan should face no real problems against Hong Kong

Two-time champions Pakistan begin their quest of clinching another Asian title on Sunday when they take on minnows Hong Kong at Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

Here are the talking points ahead of their Group A opener.

PAKISTAN AIMING TO BUILD MOMENTUM FOR PAKISTAN CLASH

Everyone is talking of the eagerly-anticipated match between arch-rivals Pakistan and India on Wednesday but even before their arrival in the UAE, Sarfraz Ahmed reiterated the importance of building momentum ahead of the group match. He gave the example of last year’s Champions Trophy triumph in which they carried forward the momentum built from the South Africa and Sri Lanka series and the 31-year-old made it clear he wants the same in the UAE.

Fortunately for them, they take on a Hong Kong side who only qualified for the event last week. On paper, Pakistan should breeze past the Associate nation given their lack of experience of playing at the top level.

It’s a game where they really shouldn’t have to hit top form meaning it’s the perfect opportunity for the likes of Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam and Hasan Ali to fine-tune and build the momentum that Sarfraz wants ahead of the crucial India game.

Fakhar Zaman is in fine form for Pakistan

Fakhar Zaman is in fine form for Pakistan

TOUGH TASK FOR HONG KONG

Reaching the showpiece event is a big achievement in itself for Hong Kong considering they lost ODI status earlier this year. They beat the likes of Oman, Nepal and the UAE to claim the only qualification berth in the Qualifiers in Malaysia. Their performances in Kuala Lumpur would give them a lot of confidence but it will be a completely different ball game when they take on the elite in Dubai on Sunday afternoon.

There would be no doubt Hong Kong would be relishing themselves of taking on Asia’s best especially given opportunities of these kind of fixtures have been very limited. It would require each individual to play to their potential while hoping Pakistan have an off day for any chance to pull off a major upset.

LIKELY LINE-UPS:

Pakistan: Sarfraz Ahmed (C), Hasan Ali, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Amir, Junaid Khan, Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali and Faheem Ashraf.

Hong Kong: Anshuman Rath (C), Babar Hayat, Kinchit Shah, Christopher Carter, Ehsan Khan, Aizaz Khan, Scott McKechnie, Tanwir Afzal, Ehsan Nawaz, Nadeem Ahmed and Nizakat Khan.

Venue: Dubai International Cricket Stadium

Start: 15:30

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