Asia Cup T20 2022, IND vs HK: Can an experimental India bull-doz past Hong Kong?
India is off to a winning start in the 2022 Asia Cup T20. After trumping Pakistan, it faces Hong Kong in Dubai on Wednesday. With the Men in Blue looking to experiment, can it bull-doz past the minnows?
Indian wicketkeeper-opener and vice-captain KL Rahul might have wished for an easier opposition to get his rhythm back. In the same light, a buoyant India is ready to steamroll minnows Hong Kong in its second and final group stage match of the Asia Cup T20 2022 at the Dubai International Stadium on Wednesday. The Group A game would not be more than a heightened net session for Rohit Sharma and co against a side that comprises Pakistani and Indian expats. After a hard-earned conquest over Pakistan in a final-over thriller, scripted by all-rounder Hardik Pandya, the focus against Hong Kong will be on the batters and their sufficient game time.
Rahul, who played his maiden Twenty20 International (T20I) of 2022 the other night, would be desperate to go out all guns blazing while considering taking this opportunity to test an alternate batting system at the onset to what has been his style in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
In T20Is, the sides will be going for impact performance, while a 20-ball 45 is of more excellent value than an unbeaten 90 of 65 deliveries. The quality of an innings and its importance in the larger context of the game is more vital at this stage, as India gets set for the ICC T2O World Cup in Australia from October 16.
To put it politely, the quality of Hong Kong bowling won't match up to Pakistan. Yet, there is always fear, as one doesn't exactly know what to expect from an anonymous entity. Hence, Rahul must use this prospect to completest to earn his belief before the Super Fours and the business end of the competition.
Skipper Rohit has made it clear that he will continue to experiment. So, one shouldn't be surprised if there is a considerable batting shuffle on Wednesday. For Virat Kohli, the HK game will be about another quality hitting time in the middle, while he is sure not to feel intimidated by its bowling attack.
After a quiet game against Pakistan, even opener Rohit would like to get some runs under his banner. It would be fascinating to see if all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja is sent at the No. 4 position against HK or if wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant is pushed in place of fellow wk-batter Dinesh Karthik to give him some game time.
While India's top-order utilised its ageing safety first approach against Pakistan, it had much to do with the quality of the Pakistani bowling attack, even without top pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi. Possibly, one could safely assume whether India's all-out attacking intent in the Powerplay can work or not, only when it plays against teams like England, West Indies, Australia, Pakistan, South Africa, New Zealand or Sri Lanka, which have more bowling depth.
Matches against HK help beef up stats, and no player would want to sit out. All-rounder Ravichandran Ashwin and leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi could also get a look in, letting leggie Yuzvendra Chahal and Jadeja get some rest.
India: Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul (vc & wk), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Deepak Hooda, Dinesh Karthik (Wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravi Bishnoi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Arshdeep Singh and Avesh Khan.
Hong Kong: Nizakat Khan (c), Kinchit Shah, Aftab Hussain, Aizaz Khan, Ateeq Iqbal, Babar Hayat, Dhananjay Rao, Ehsan Khan, Haroon Arshad, Scott McKechnie (wk), Ghazanfar Mohammad, Mohammad Waheed, Ayush Shukla, Ahan Trivedi, Wajid Shah, Yasim Murtaza and Zeeshan Ali (wk).
Date and day: August 31, 2022 (Wednesday)
Venue: Dubai International Stadium, Dubai
Time: 7.30 PM (IST)
Where to watch (TV): Star Sports 1, Star Sports 1 Hindi & Sports Select (Also available in HD)
Where to watch (Online): Hotstar
(With inputs from PTI)