KARACHI : If there was any doubt, it was alleviated after Pakistan’s dominant win over Hong Kong and now India’s first match against the minnows will be just another winning day on the job for the Rohit Sharma-led squad.
Both groups in the six-nation tournament have one team (Afghanistan in Group B and Hong Kong in Group A) which everyone is looking down upon. The verdict is that they are just there to increase the numbers. And Hong Kong’s mediocre performance on Sunday proved them right.
Just 116 on the board after their whole batting line-up tried their luck with Usman Shinwari, Shadab Khan and Hasan Ali ripping apart the Hong Kong batting line-up, India would have been taking notes.
Pakistan’s pursuit of the target felt rather lethargic as they went past the target of a meagre 117 in 23.4 overs, but the back story would surely be that all players wanted to let the feel on the event sink after a long lay-off since thrashing Zimbabwe, and not the pressure created by the Hong Kong bowling department.
Cutting it short, there is not much to talk about when powerhouse India take on a feeble Hong Kong side, but upsets are the beauty of cricket.
Circumstances for an upset
Indian batting is superb, their bowling is clinical and their fielding is up to the mark, then what can Hong Kong do in order to beat them?
This question has a simple answer, but equally difficult execution.
Let’s visit the 2017 Champions Trophy and replay the memories of Pakistan and India kicking off their campaign. India were ruthless, but only because Pakistan didn’t outperform their rivals in even one department.
Fast-forward to the final and courtesy simple, basic cricket Pakistan thrashed everyone’s favourites by a big margin.
Any team on any day can win a cricket match based on who does what better. Indian batting will be flawless, Hong Kong will have to better their bowling armoury.
The absence of star skipper Virat Kohli demands a huge space to be filled and that is the only weak spot every team will be targeting to outshine India.
But all arguments in favour of Hong Kong rely on the fact that they will have to outdo India in at least two departments, in bowling, batting or fielding, in order to carve out some hope for themselves.