Upbeat India gets ready to steamroll Hong Kong

After a hard-earned victory over Pakistan in a last over thriller, scripted by Hardik Pandya, the focus against Hong Kong will be on batters and their adequate game time.
Dinesh Karthik
Dinesh Karthik

DUBAI: KL Rahul will look to get his rhythm back as a buoyant India get ready to steamroll minnow Hong Kong in its second and final group league game of the Asia Cup here on Wednesday.

After a hard-earned victory over Pakistan in a last over thriller, scripted by Hardik Pandya, the focus against Hong Kong will be on batters and their adequate game time.

KL Rahul, whose first T20I in 2022 was against Pakistan the other night, would want to come out all guns blazing and may take this opportunity to try an alternate batting approach at the onset, compared to what has been his style at the IPL.

In T20Is, teams are going for impact performance and often a 20 ball 45 is of greater value than a 90 not out of 65 balls.

Obviously, the quality of Hong Kong bowling, to put it politely, won’t match up to Pakistan, but there is always a fear as one doesn’t exactly know what to expect from an unknown entity.

Hence, it is important that Rahul uses this opportunity to the fullest to gain his confidence before the start of the Super Fours and business end of the tournament.

Skipper Rohit Sharma has made it clear that experimentation will continue and hence one shouldn’t be surprised if there is another batting order that could be tried out on Wednesday.

For Virat Kohli, the Hong Kong match will be all about another quality hitting time in the middle against an attack that is sure to feel intimidated by his sheer presence in the middle.

Even Rohit, after a subdued game against Pakistan, would like to deposit a few into the stands.

It would be interesting to see if Ravindra Jadeja is sent at No. 4 position against Hong Kong or whether Rishabh Pant is tried in place of Dinesh Karthik, just to give him some game time.

While India’s top-order went back to its old safety-first approach against Pakistan, it had a lot to do with the quality of attack on display even without Shaheen Shah Afridi.

Perhaps, one could safely judge whether India’s all-out attacking display in powerplay can work or not, only when it plays against attacks which have more depth than England, West Indies or Sri Lanka.

Games like Hong Kong does help in beefing up stats and no player would like to sit out.

Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravi Bishnoi could also get a look in, letting Yuzvendra Chahal and Jadeja cool their heels a bit.

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