This Is How Hong Kong Cricket Team Can Beat Pakistan In The Asian Cup 2022
The match will be played at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium in Sharjah.
India, Afghanistan, and Sri Lanka have already qualified for the Asia Cup Super 4 and now there is only one spot left for grabs.
Pakistan is a firm favorite for the contest, but the T20 is a format of fine margins and Hong Kong can have a chance if they execute their plans to perfection.
Injury Concerns For Pakistan Cricket Team
When you talk about a big potential upset in cricket, many factors go against your favorite side. For Pakistan, there are things behind the scenes that are not going in favor of them.
They have already lost their prime fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi due to a leg injury. After landing in the UAE, there was news that Mohammad Wasim Jr. was also sidelined from the continental tournament due to an injury.
Even though the Greens took it to the Indians in their first encounter, it came at the expense of even more worrying news.
Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf suffered from cramps and both struggled to complete their four overs. Mohammad Rizwan also meddled with cramps while keeping.
With a depleted side and more injury concerns after the India clash, Hong Kong cannot have a better opportunity to knock out the two-time Asia Cup champions.
Controlled Bowling In Death Overs
There are things like the toss, pitch condition, and whether that Hong Kong cannot control. However, what the underdogs can control is the Pakistan batting lineup.
They had bowled reasonably well until the end of 15 overs against India, conceding 114 runs and taking two wickets.
Despite the hard work done by the bowlers in the first 15 overs, they completely capitulated in the last five thanks to the heroics of Suryakumar Yadav and Virat Kohli.
Despite conceding 78 runs in the last five overs, they did have a few positive signs in their bowling lineup. Yasim Murtaza, Ayush Shukla, and Ehsan Khan were pretty much economical throughout all of their respective bowling spells.
Shukla also took the wicket of Indian captain Rohit Sharma. The good news for Hong Kong is that Pakistan doesn’t have a devastating batsman lower down the order like Yadav.
If Hong Kong doesn’t give unnecessary runs in the last five overs and their prime bowlers maintain their good bowling form, they have reasons to be optimistic.
Get Pakistan Cricket Team Openers Dismissed In The Powerplay
Pakistan has two of the best T20 batsmen in the world. Captain Babar Azam has led from the front throughout the entirety of his time as the team leader. On the other hand, Rizwan showed his credentials by becoming the 2021 T20 player of the year.
The bad news for Pakistan is that these two are probably the only reliable batsmen that they have on the team right now. With the exclusion of Shoaib Malik from the team, the two-time champions don’t have any anchor in the middle order.
Therefore, the Hong Kong bowlers would know that if they break the opening stand between the No.1 and the No.2 ranked T20 batsmen in the world, they have every chance to restrict the Pakistani batsmen.
Fakhar Zaman hasn’t got going at all ever since winning the PSL with Lahore Qalandars. The rest of the side only has sloggers, such as Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Nawaz, and Asif Ali.
All of these sloggers can either take the game away from the opposition or go back to the dressing room early. Therefore, the key for the Hong Kong bowlers is to attack the opening partnership between Azam and Rizwan.
According to the stats provided by Rehan ul Haq from BBC, Pakistan has the highest percentage of balls faced in a T20 game since the start of 2021 i.e. 68.64. Second, on this list comes India with 55.78.
It goes to show how much importance Azam, Rizwan, and Zaman have in terms of guiding their team to a decent total.
May Take A Tip Or Two From Bangladesh
As much as we have said about how important Hong Kong’s bowlers are to the team, they should also know about the ways of containing runs.
When we talk about containing runs, we don’t just talk about the boundaries scored, it is also about the extras. In the match between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, the Lankans gave away zero extras compared to Bangladesh’s 11.
The match finished on a no-ball, guaranteeing Sri Lanka a spot in the Super 4 of the Asia Cup. If Hong Kong wants to win the match against Pakistan, they should look to avoid extras.
They should look to avoid giving away no balls and wides at all costs. The more extras they give away, the more confidence they will give to the Pakistan batsmen.
Hong Kong Bring Up The Babar Vs Babar Clash
If you look at all the upsets in the ICC and the continental tournaments, all have come on the back of the gun players delivering for the underdogs.
For example, Ireland beat England in the 2011 World Cup thanks to Kevin O’Brain’s fastest hundred in World Cup history.
Similarly, Zimbabwe got the better of Ricky Ponting’s Australia in the 2007 World T20 due to Brendan Taylor’s match-winning fifty.
If Hong Kong wants to repeat a similar storyline against Pakistan, it should take inspiration from these examples. Babar Hayat and vice-captain Kinchit Shah must deliver with the bat and captain Nizakat Khan must bring his A game.
They must know that all the pressure is on Pakistan to deliver in this match. As a result, they should try to compound this pressure by frustrating their batsmen and bowlers.
Hayat’s form has been remarkable ever since he anchored HK to the main event from the qualifiers. Hong Kong fans want only one Babar to perform tonight and he plays for their team.
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