The fourth fixture of the Asia Cup takes place on Tuesday, September 18 when India kick-off their 2018 Asia Cup against minnows Hong Kong at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Hong Kong were outmuscled in their opening fixture against Pakistan losing by eight wickets. Hong Kong opted to bat first and got off to a very decent start, but some inexperience and good quality Pakistan bowling halted any forward momentum that they had built up. Pakistan were able to bowl Hong Kong out for just 116 and then proceeded to chase down the total in 24 overs with only two wickets down.
India are fresh off a three-month long tour of England will be looking to get back into white ball mode after a 4-1 Test series loss, which came on the back of a 2-1 ODI series loss.
A very busy schedule means some of the more experienced Indian players are rested, so MS Dhoni is back in the mix while Rohit Sharma will be stand-in captain. With the focus back on Dhoni after the team disappointed in England, the ‘Men in Blue’ will still be looking to him for guidance ahead of the World Cup.
India should get over this little bump in the road with ease as they gear up for the huge clash against Pakistan on Wednesday. The Indian players will be looking for good performances as these ODIs will be counted as full internationals and the statistics will count towards their career stats.
Players to watch: All eyes will be on Dhoni as he creeps towards the end of his career. A good performance in this Asia Cup will silence some of his naysayers. Ehsan Khan is the leading wicket-taker for Hong Kong and should be a key bowler in this game. His right-arm offbreaks picked up Hong Kong’s only two wickets against Pakistan. He currently has 27 wickets in his 14 matches.
Stat attack: India and Hong Kong have played one ODI back in 2008 which India won by 256 runs and have a record five Asia Cup titles along with Sri Lanka. The Men in Blue won the last Asia Cup which was held in a 20-over format in Bangladesh in 2016.