Hong Kong became the sixth and the final team at the Asia Cup 2022 after they defeated United Arab Emirates in the qualifier on Wednesday. Hong Kong, thus completed Group A, joining India and Pakistan for the continental showpiece. Group B includes Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. (More Cricket News)
Buoyed by their comprehensive win against Singapore in the ICC Men’s T20 Global Qualifier Group B, Hong Kong were in top form coming into the Asia 2022 Qualifiers. And they maintained that by winning all three games beating Singapore, Kuwait and United Arab Emirates in the process.
The experience of former Ireland international Trent Johnston as head coach also worked well for Hong Kong as they top class in all the aspects of the game. While the top order consisting Babar Hayat, Yasim Murtaza and skipper Nizakat Khan were among runs at the top of the order, the bowlers were led by 37-year-old Ehsan Khan.
The only area of concern of Johnston will be the middle order who weren’t tested baring the Singapore match as Hong Kong won both matches against Kuwait and UAE by identical eight-wicket margins. Against the likes of India and Pakistan, Hong Kong middle order will have to play a big role.
The Asia Cup tournament was originally scheduled to take place in 2020 but had to be postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic. Sri Lanka was due to host the rescheduled tournament but with the economic and political crisis going in the island country, the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) shifted the six-team competition to the United Arab Emirates.
However, Sri Lanka Cricket remains as the host of the tournament. Started in 1984, the Asia Cup used to be played in ODI format until 2016 when the tournament was played for the first time in the shortest format of the game – as a preparation for the T20 World Cup a month after.
The Asia Cup 2022 will be the second time the competition will be played in T20 format – once again seen a pre-cursor to the T20 World Cup in Australia later in the year.
Hong Kong’s Asia Cup Record
This will be Hong Kong’s fourth Asia Cup appearance. They reached the group stage in 2004, 2008 and 2018 losing all their matches.
This is the 4️⃣th time that Hong Kong have qualified for the Asia Cup🏏— Cricket Hong Kong (@CricketHK) August 25, 2022
🔸2004 (Qualified from ACC Trophy 2000)
🔸2008 (Qualified from ACC Trophy 2006)
🔸2018 (Won the 2018 Asia Cup Qualifier)
We will now play against India 🇮🇳 and Pakistan 🇵🇰!#ACC #AsiaCup2022 #GetReadyForEpic pic.twitter.com/ksj9fJCURV
Key Players To Watch Out For
Yasim Murtaza: Yasim Murtaza will be Hong Kong’s go-to-man for runs at the top of the order. After scoring just 26 in the first game against Singapore, the Pakistan-born cricketer played match-winning knocks against Kuwait and UAE leading Hong Kong to comprehensive victories.
Ehsan Khan: Ehsan Khan has been the star of the Asia Cup 2022 qualifiers with nine wickets from three matches. Not only the right-arm off-break bowler has the best average (of nine) in the tournament but also played a crucial role in giving Hong Kong timely breakthroughs.
Hong Kong’s Asia Cup 2022 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
Hong Kong’s Asia Cup 2022 Fixtures
Hong Kong will open their Asia Cup 2022 campaign against India on August 31 at the Dubai International Stadium. They will take on Pakistan on September 2 in Sharjah.
How To Watch Asia Cup 2022 In India?
Star Sports Network has the broadcast rights of Asia Cup 2022 in India. The Star Sports channels will live telecast the Asia Cup 2022 cricket tournament in India while Disney+ Hotstar will live stream the whole competition.