Mon, 24 Jun 2019


In the spotlight

Since the start of the Asia Cup Qualifiers, Christopher Carter has been playing as a specialist batsman, with the keeper's gloves going to Scott McKechnie. He made 33 in the final against UAE, but his batting returns otherwise haven't been great - he's only crossed 20 once in 10 ODIs, and averages 15.57 in List A cricket. Carter will have to score more runs more often to hold his place as a pure batsman.

Another ODI tournament, same old question for India: what to do with the middle order? In the absence of Kohli, and with MS Dhoni and Hardik Pandya settled into the roles of keeper-batsman and allrounder respectively, India will have five batsmen - Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Manish Pandey, KL Rahul and Ambati Rayudu - fighting for three spots. By the end of this tournament, India may well have a clearer picture of their first-choice middle order. Or not.

Team news

They were brushed aside by Pakistan, but Hong Kong might not make too many changes; they played the same XI for the last three matches of their successful Qualifiers campaign.

Hong Kong (possible): 1 Nizakat Khan, 2 Anshuman Rath (capt), 3 Babar Hayat, 4 Kinchit Shah, 5 Christopher Carter, 6 Ehsan Khan, 7 Aizaz Khan, 8 Scott McKechnie (wk), 9 Tanwir Afzal, 10 Ehsan Nawaz, 11 Nadeem Ahmed.

Given the 40-degree heat of Dubai, and the fact that they play Pakistan the day after meeting Hong Kong, India might choose to rest some of their first-choice players. That might mean a debut for the left-arm quick Khaleel Ahmed. "Excited to see Khaleel play," Rohit Sharma said in the pre-match press conference. "He's got what it takes. Pace, swing. Personally looking forward to him doing well."

India (possible): 1 Rohit Sharma (capt), 2 Shikhar Dhawan/KL Rahul, 3 Ambati Rayudu, 4 Manish Pandey, 5 MS Dhoni/Dinesh Karthik (wk), 6 Kedar Jadhav, 7 Hardik Pandya/Axar Patel, 8 Bhuvneshwar Kumar/Shardul Thakur, 9 Kuldeep Yadav, 10 Jasprit Bumrah/Khaleel Ahmed, 11 Yuzvendra Chahal

Pitch and conditions

The match will be held on the same strip that hosted the Hong Kong-Pakistan game on Sunday. Usman Khan, who picked three wickets in that match, said it was the slowest pitch he had ever played on in Dubai. There was grip for the spinners, and India might contemplate playing Axar Patel as their allrounder to complement their wristspin pair of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal. With Kedar Jadhav's low-slung offspin also in the mix, Hong Kong could end up facing a lot of spin.

Stats and trivia

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