The defending champions India will play their first match of the Asia cup 2018 against Hong Kong, a day before the big showdown with arch-rivals Pakistan.
Team India is playing in the UAE after more than a decade and this is only their second ODI against HK a team that they beat in the 2008 Asia Cup by 256 runs. Rohit Sharma and MS Dhoni both played that game in Karachi and today, Rohit leads the Indian team in a marquee event for the first time.
Though India is missing out on their big weapon in Virat Kohli, their batting and bowling remain strong as ever with the likes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, the spin twins Chahal and Kuldeep in the fray. Batting will be led by Rohit Sharma the skipper and Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Ambati Rayudu and Manish Pandey will clamor for the middle order spots and we might see the return of Kedar Jadhav in the mix.
For Hong Kong, their annihilation at the hands of Pakistan is followed by a run in with the no.2 ranked ODI team in India. They had a decent enough show in the batting department, but given their limited amount of exposure against top-tier teams, the hopes of an upset are minuscule.
India might look at the group games to try out players on spots no.4 and no.6. Also in absence of Virat Kohli, the no.3 spot in the batting order has also opened up and should they qualify to the Super Fours - which they are very likely to - going in with a bit of a settled middle order will do them no harm.
Hong Kong have won the toss and have opted to field
Hong Kong : Nadeem Ahmed, Aizaz Khan, Ehsan Nawaz, Babar Hayat, Nizakat Khan, Kinchit Shah, Tanwir Afzal, Anshuman Rath (c), Christopher Carter, Scott McKechnie (wk), Ehsan Khan
India Rohit Sharma (c), MS Dhoni (wk), Shikhar Dhawan, Dinesh Karthik, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Khaleel Ahmed, Kuldeep Yadav, Shardul Thakur, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav