The second fixture of the Asia Cup between Pakistan and Hong Kong is set to take place on Sunday, September 16 (today) at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. Favourites and two-time Asia Cup holders, Pakistan will kick-off their tournament against Hong Kong, a team that they should have no difficulty in beating. Their last encounter was in the 2008 Asia Cup when Pakistan put on 288/9 in their 50 overs and then went on to bundle Hong Kong out for 133 in just 38 overs to win comprehensively by 155 runs.
With the political tensions between India and Pakistan causing the tournament to be switched from India to the UAE, Pakistan may fancy their chances of claiming a third crown.
Pakistan last won the Asia Cup back in 2012 when it was held in Bangladesh and have since been playing most of their matches in the UAE since the attack on the Sri Lankan team back in 2009, so the team should know the conditions better than most.
This will be Hong Kong’s third Asia Cup appearance and their first in ten years after competing in the 2008 edition when they lost both games - they also lost both in 2004.
Hong Kong have had a real up and down year after first losing their ODI status at the start of the year during the World Cup qualifiers, before managing to recover and claim the last spot for this year’s Asia Cup after beating hosts UAE in the qualifier final.
Expect that winless streak to continue here and the next game when they play India. But both these ODIs will be counted as full internationals and a good performance could help the nation reclaim their full ODI status.
Players to watch: Fakhar Zaman is Pakistan’s most inform batsman at the moment and currently averages 76.07 with the bat with a strike rate of over 100.00.
Nadeem Ahmed is currently the leading wicket-taker for Hong Kong and his left-arm spin will play an important part in Hong Hong’s bowling attack. He has best figures of 4/26 and has taken 38 wickets in his 23 matches so far.
Stat attack: Pakistan and Hong Kong have played two ODIs with Pakistan winning both.
With Mohammed Hafeez out the Asia Cup, Shoaib Malik is the leading run scorer playing in this tournament at the Dubai International Stadium with 187 runs from five matches.
Hong Kong have only ever won one ODI game versus a full member nation, and that was against Afghanistan this year!