The stage is set for the 14th edition of the Asia Cup, which has returned to the UAE, where it was all began 34 years ago in 1984. Sri Lanka will be taking on Bangladesh in the opening match of the tournament on Saturday, September 15. Six teams are participating in this campaign and they have been pooled into two different groups:
Group A consists of India, Pakistan and Hong Kong, while Group B features Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
Hong Kong is making a comeback and this will be their first appearance in the Asia Cup since 2008. They have also been a part of the 2004 edition but got eliminated at an early stage of the tournament. Having won the Asia Cup qualifiers, they are looking to make their presence felt against the powerhouses like India and Pakistan.
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Hong Kong has faced India only once, at the 2008 edition and faced Pakistan twice in the respective years of their qualification.
Hong Kong won 4 out 6 matches of the Asia Cup qualifiers, with big margins and the reason was their bowling line-up. They have a fair mix of spinners and medium pacers who led them to qualify for the Asia Cup 2018.
Here are the top 5 players to watch out for Hong Kong in Asia Cup 2018:
1. Anshuman Rath:
The young blood, who is of just 20 will be leading Hong Kong against the teams like India and Pakistan. Batting is a serious concern for Hong Kong and Anshuman is the only reliable batsmen in the team. He scored a century and a half-century in the Asia Cup qualifiers. In his last 16 ODIs he has a remarkable average of 52.57, including 5 other half-centuries.
2. Nadeem Ahmed:
Spin is the impact-making weapon for the Hong Kong side. Nadeem Ahmed finished as the highest wicket-taker in the Asia Cup qualifiers with 14 wickets and conceded runs at an economy of just 3.46.
3. Ehsan Khan:
Meanwhile, Ehsan Khan ended his campaign of qualifiers as the third highest wicket-taker. He took 11 wickets at an economy of 3.80. This spin-duo will make a great impact in the campaign and will definitely give a tough fight to the Indian and Pakistani batsmen.
4. Aizaz Khan:
The 25-year old bowling all-rounder picked 10 wickets in the qualifiers including a five-wicket haul against UAE in the finals which led Hong Kong to be the part of Asia Cup 2018. He will be a cause for concern in the batting as well for the Indian and Pakistani bowlers.
5. Ehsan Nawaz:
The 23-year old Ehsan Nawaz has the command of seam bowling for the Hong Kong side. He took 10 wickets in the qualifiers.
Hong Kong will begin their campaign against Pakistan on September 16, Sunday.
And, here’s the full Hong Kong Squad for Asia Cup:
Anshuman Rath (C), Aizaz Khan, Arshad Mohammad, Babar Hayat, Christopher Carter, Ehsan Khan, Ehsan Nawaz, Cameron McAuslan, Scott McKechnie, Nadeem Ahmed, Nizakat Khan, Kinchit Shah, Jhatavedh Subrahmanyan, Tanwir Afzal, Waqas Khan