Asia Cup 2018, Pakistan v Hong Kong, Match 2: Pakistan Predicted XI

Asia Cup 2018, Pakistan v Hong Kong, Match 2: Pakistan Predicted XI

Pakistan will definitely want to use this game as a warm-up ahead of the all-important fixture against India.

Pakistan Team
Pakistan Team. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Pakistan will kick-start their Asia Cup 2018 with the game against associates Hong Kong. The match will be played at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium in Dubai. With the temperatures soaring up to the late 30’s even during the night, it will be quite a challenge for the players to get used to that on the field. Pakistan will go into this encounter as the hot favourites.

Since it has been their adopted home, Pakistan have the luxury of knowing the conditions in and out. Hence, they could effort to try in a couple of changes ahead of the battle against the arch-rivals India. It is equally important to give the players some quality time in the middle before the big games as they’ve had a decent amount of break since the last game against Zimbabwe in July. Here is the Predicted XI for Pakistan:

Openers (Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq)

It is highly unlikely that Pakistan will make revisions to their opening combination. Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq have turned into formidable forces opening the innings for the side. Pakistan’s fortunes in the tournament will largely depend on how this duo fares.

Both of these batsmen have had time to unwind after the recent Zimbabwe tour. They will thus want to spend as much time as possible in the middle to get themselves prepared for the upcoming challenges.

Middle Order (Babar Azam, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Asif Ali)

There is a possibility that Pakistan tweak the middle order combination a bit. They might as well want to rest the likes of Shoaib Malik who featured in the CPL between the last two international assignments and keeping him fresh for the India game will be a priority. Babar Azam, as usual, is likely to hold on to his No 3 spot in the line-up.

With no Malik in the XI, we could see Sarfraz Ahmed promoting himself to the No 4 position. Sarfraz made a statement recently that he would like to bat at No 4 as a part of World Cup 2019 preparation. So, this would provide him with the ideal opportunity to make the spot his own. Asif Ali, who usually plays the role of a finisher will be there batting at No 5 or No 6 and should shoulder more responsibility.

All-rounders (Harris Sohail, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf)

Harris Sohail is the front-runner for the spot in the XI if in case Shoaib Malik is rested. Sohail will fancy batting at the No 5 position. But, depending on the situation of the game, he could also be slotted down to No 6. His orthodox left-arm bowling should also come in handy for the team as he bowls with a good economy.

Shadab Khan and Faheem Ashraf will be the two bowling all-rounder in the XI. Considering the recent performances, Ashraf could get a nod ahead of Mohammad Nawaz. His pace will suit the conditions in the stadium. Shadab will be the lone genuine spinner in the line-up. He would be eyeing at exploiting the conditions but should be wary of the due factor that could come in if he bowls in the second innings of the game.

Bowlers (Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Junaid Khan)

The fast-bowling department will consist of two left-arm pacers and one right-arm pacer. Hasan Ali would be looking to make his mark in the tournament. The match against Hong Kong could give him the ideal sort of match-practice.

Mohammad Amir and Usman Khan, who are usually the other two pacers could be rested for this encounter. Hence, this will be opening the doors for Shaheen Afridi who is most likely to make his debut. Alongside him, Junaid Khan could be getting another chance in this match and a good performance here could make his spot fixed in the XI.

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