Hong Kong qualify for Asia Cup; will face India, Pakistan
On Wednesday, Hong Kong stamped an emphatic eight-wicket win over UAE to march into the Asia Cup 2022, commencing on August 27. The number 23 ranked side chased 148 runs to conclude atop the Asia Cup Qualifier. Opener Yasim Murtaza (58) was the show-stopper, having struck seven fours and a six. Hong Kong will face India on August 31. Here's more.
UAE managed 147 after being put to bat first. Skipper Chundangapoyil Rizwan top-scored with a 44-ball 49, followed by a late onslaught from Zawar Farid (27-ball 41). Spinner Ehsan Khan's 4/24 made light work of UAE's top and middle-order. Hong Kong fetched an 85-run opening stand, with captain Nizakat Khan adding a pivotal 39. Babar Hayat (38*) and Kinchit Shah (6*) steered them home.
Hong Kong bested Singapore by eight runs in the opening match, riding on Ehsan's 3/24. They handed an eight-wicket drubbing to Kuwait in the 152-run chase (153/8). Nizakat (50) and Babar (53*) were the top contributors. And lastly, Hong Kong got past UAE in style.
Hong Kong's squad: Yasim Murtaza, Nizakat Khan(c), Babar Hayat, Kinchit Shah, Aizaz Khan, Scott McKechnie(w), Zeeshan Ali, Haroon Arshad, Ehsan Khan, Mohammad Ghazanfar, Ayush Shukla, Wajid Shah, Aftab Hussain, Dhananjay Rao, Mohammad Waheed, Ahan Trivedi, Ateeq Iqbal.
As per Sportstar, Hong Kong will mark their fourth appearance in the Asia Cup after 2004, 2008, and 2018. Notably, it would be their maiden run in the T20I format. So far, they have a 0-6 win-loss record in the tourney (ODIs).
Hong Kong have joined India and Pakistan in Group A. Group B features Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh. The top two teams from each group will partake in the Super Four taking place from September 3-9. The finale takes place in Dubai on September 11.
India are the most successful side in the Asia Cup in terms of titles. They have won the tournament seven times (1984, 1988, 1990/91, 1995, 2010, 2016, and 2018). India were crowned champions of the only Asia Cup edition that was played in T20 format (2016). The Men in Blue led by former Indian captain MS Dhoni were unbeaten in that tournament.
In terms of match-wins, Sri Lanka lead the way. They have claimed 34 wins from 50 ODI encounters and lost 16. India follow them with 31 wins 49 ODIs (16 defeats). Notably, Pakistan are the only other side to have won more than 10 Asia Cup ODIs (26). India have won the most number of Asia Cup T20I matches (6).
The 15th Asia Cup edition will run between August 27 and September 11, with the matches taking place in the T20 format. India would face arch-rivals Pakistan on August 28. The tournament moved from Sri Lanka to UAE due to mass civilian protests in SL.