India will begin its defence of Asia Cup title against Hong Kong on September 18 in Dubai, a day before it faces arch-rival Pakistan. This was decided after Hong Kong defeated UAE in a rain-affected final of the Asia Cup 2018 Qualifiers by two wickets (DLS method) played at the Kinrara Academy Oval, Kuala Lumpur on Thursday. Also Read - Pulwama Attack: Pakistani Fan Who Once Sang India's National Anthem Urges Govt. Not to Boycott ICC World Cup 2019 Clash Between India and Pakistan in Manchester | WATCH VIDEO
A fine five-for from Aizaz Khan first helped Hong Kong restrict UAE to 176/9 in 24 overs, the innings affected by a long rain break, before Hong Kong found enough contributors right through their chase to get to their revised target of 179 with three balls left. Nizakat Khan (38), Anshuman Rath (28), Christopher Carter (33) and Ehsan Khan (29) made significant contributions as Hong Kong emerged victorious. Also Read - Hong Kong Spinner Nadeem Ahmed Charged by ICC For Match Fixing
Earlier, the UAE innings was a two-part affair, of 15.2 overs first and then 8.4 overs, broken by a long interruption because of rain and a wet outfield. Off the last ball, before the players had to go off the field, Aizaz hit Rameez Shahzad’s stumps to send him back to the dressing room.
There was a brief roadblock in the 20th over of the innings, with both Anwar (22 in 14 balls) and Ashfaq sent back by Nadeem Ahmed, but the blitz didn’t stop. Each of Muhammad Usman, Adnan Mufti, Naveed, Amir Hayat and Abdul Shakoor hit one maximum in their brief stays in the middle, and UAE reached a relatively strong score as a result.
Despite the carnage, Aizaz was hugely impressive, his five overs – 3.2 overs before the break and 1.4 after – going for 28 runs as he picked up five wickets with his medium pace. In the end, that made a huge difference.
Hong Kong will now prepare for their Asia Cup opener against Pakistan, to be played in Dubai on 16 September, followed by the fixture against India in Dubai.
Group A consists of India, Pakistan and Hong Kong while Group B comprises Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. The top two teams from each group will qualify for the Super 4 and two teams will then play the final on 28 September in Dubai.
Asia Cup 2018 full schedule
15 September – Bangladesh vs Sri Lanka (Dubai)
16 September – Pakistan vs Hong Kong (Dubai)
17 September – Sri Lanka vs Afghanistan (Abu Dhabi)
18 September – India vs Hong Kong (Dubai)
19 September – India vs Pakistan (Dubai)
20 September – Bangladesh vs Afghanistan (Abu Dhabi)
21 September – Group A Winner vs Group B Runner-up (Dubai)
21 September – Group B Winner vs Group A Runner-up (Abu Dhabi)
23 September – Group A Winner vs Group A Runner-up (Dubai)
23 September – Group B Winner vs Group B Runner-up (Abu Dhabi)
25 September – Group A Winner vs Group B Winner (Dubai)
26 September – Group A Runner-up vs Group B Runner-up (Abu Dhabi)
28 September – Asia Cup 2018 Final (Dubai)
The 2016 edition of the Asia Cup was won by India when they defeated Bangladesh in the finals played at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium. It was for the sixth time that India had won the Asia Cup title in 2016.
India Squad: Rohit Sharma (c), Shikhar Dhawan (vc), KL Rahul, Ambati Rayudu, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (wk), Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur, Khaleel Ahmed