It’s time for the 14th edition of the Asia Cup 2018 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The ICC Champions Trophy 2017 winners Pakistan will take on Asia Cup Qualifier 2018 champions Hong Kong in the Group B opening match. Though the names on the paper look like a one-sided affair, you never know what is at the store especially, in a game called cricket. Meanwhile, ahead of the game, we figured out the predicted XI for Pakistan that can feature against Hong Kong in their first game.
Despite the weaker opponent, Pakistan might go with their full strength.
Here is Pakistan’s likely XI against Hong Kong in the Asia Cup 2018:
Openers – Fakhar Zaman and Imam Ul Haq:
Unless any forced injury, Pakistan will probably go with their classic openers, Fakhar Zaman and Imam ul Haq. They both have been pretty exceptional for their side in the recent past and are bound to shoulder the responsibility of delivering for the Men in Green
Southpaw Zaman has been fantastic for Pakistan in the recent past with his exceptional tallies. He is the latest owner of the double century in the ODI cricket and would love to carry on the same momentum for Pakistan.
Meanwhile, Imam would love to make a mark of his own in the tournament. The classy southpaw is aware of the challenges and is playing his first big tournament. He already scored four centuries in his nine appearances for Pakistan.
Number 3 – Babar Azam
Is there any perfect player for Pakistan apart from Babar Azam at number three? I would say No.
Exceptional Azam has got the unique technique of tackling the fast bowlers across the world and can play the anchor role in chasing the tallies.
He is ranked number two in the ICC ODI batting charts and trying to close in Virat Kohli. The success rate of Azam will be directly linked to Pakistan’success in the prestigious Asia Cup 2018.
Middle-order – Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali & Sarfraz Ahmed
Pakistan has got the experienced campaigner in the form of Shoaib Malik. His incredible ability to adapt to the conditions and knack of scoring runs will benefit the team to the core. It is safe to say that Malik is the backbone of the team.
Meanwhile, the youngster Asif Ali will make his first big tournament appearance for Pakistan. He has got all the ingredients to surprise the world with his decent hitting and can be one of the dark horses in the tournament.
Then comes the skipper, Sarfraz Ahmed in the lineup. Of late, Sarfraz is in decent touch with his willow and leading the team from the front. Once again, he will play a key role in the team.
Spinners – Shadab Khan & Mohammed Nawaz
Coming to the spin cordon, Shadab Khan and Mohammed Nawaz will take the spinner roles. The leg breaks from Shadab and the decent left-arm spin from Nawaz will undoubtedly bring the decent variety to the attack.
They both will draw a lot of attention from the spectators throughout the tournament due to their incredible success in the recent past.
Both of them will hold the key for India’s chances to win the trophy as well. Meanwhile, they also got the ability of batting as well.
Fast bowling – Mohammed Amir, Hasan Ali & Usman Khan Shenwari
As always, Pakistan has got the luxury of quality fast bowlers in their ranks. Despite having the big pool of fast bowlers, they have got only three places to fill in the playing XI.
The presence of Hasan Ali and Mohammed Amir is a straightforward pick for Pakistan against Hong Kong. The remaining slot will draw a huge fight between Usman Khan, Junaid Khan, Fahhem Ashraf and Shaheen Afridi.