In 2014 T20 World Cup, Hong Kong surprised everyone by winning their match against Bangladesh. Zimbabweans must have learnt the history and will have to take their rivals seriously. Today the qualifying round will start with the T20 match between Zimbabwe and Hong Kong who 13th and 14th ranked sides respectively. Zimbabwe will be seeking to kickstart their journey on a victorious note while Hong Kong should be interested in repeating history.
Zimbabwe will fancy their chances of taking an early advantage in the race for the tournament proper, but will do well not to get ahead of themselves. Hong Kong had upset Bangladesh at the same stage in the 2014 World T20, and will eye another Full Member takedown, having played enough T20 cricket. Hong Kong have already identified Zimbabwe as the favourites in their group, but both sides must be confident, following a thorough warm-up program.
Zimbabwe had played a handful of games in the UAE and then rebounded from the loss against Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association XI to beat Ireland. Hong Kong went down in each of their three matches in the Asia Cup, and also suffered a thrashing against Ireland, but picked themselves up with a tense win against HPCA XI.
Hong Kong will hope that Zimbabwe will not be as tough as UAE and Afghanistan were on them, but Zimbabwe will be keen to put their foot on Hong Kong’s throat and get their campaign off to a winning start.
Zimbabwe Team: 1 Hamilton Masakadza, 2 Vusi Sibanda, 3 Richmond Mutumbami (wk), 4 Malcolm Waller, 5 Sean Williams, 6 Sikanda Raza, 7 Elton Chigumbura, 8 Donald Tiripano, 9 Tinashe Panyangara, 10 Wellington Masakadza, 11 Tendai Chatara
Hong Kong: 1 Jamie Atkinson (wk), 2 Ryan Campbell, 3 Babar Hayat, 4 Mark Chapman, 5 Nizakat Khan, 6 Anshuman Rath, 7 Kinchit Shah, 8 Tanwir Afzal (capt), 9 Aizaz Khan, 10 Haseeb Amjad, 11 Nadeem Ahmed