LAHORE    -   Babar Azam will lead Pakistan against Hong Kong in the last group match of ACC T20 Asia Cup 2022 today (Friday) in Sharjah. This will be the first match between the two teams in the shortest format. 

Pakistan’s opening pair of Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan are currently placed at the first two spots in the ICC T20 Batters Rankings. Paki­stan is confident of clinching a place in the Super 4 stage of the tournament by defeating Hong Kong, who were beat­en by table-toppers India on Wednesday in Dubai. Pakistan lost a nail biter against India on Sunday as well. 

Sharing his views, Fakhar Za­man said: “It was a tight game against India, the morale is high in the camp and all our players are confident of doing better in the upcoming game. “T20 is a short format which provides an equal opportunity for both teams to show-case their strengths. To aim for the Super 4, we have to ensure we minimise our errors and put up a good show. 

“Hong Kong has played good cricket in the qualifiers but we will try to stick to our plans. The weather is hot here in UAE but we are trying to keep our­selves hydrated. We’ll be play­ing against some competitive teams in Super 4 and for that we need to be in perfect shape.” The match will be played at the his­torical Sharjah Cricket Stadium.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong Cap­tain Nizakat Khan deems to fol­low in Pakistani Skipper Babar Azam’s footsteps. “Babar Azam is consistently performing. I try to follow in his footsteps in bat­ting and captaincy. Playing for Pakistan was his dream but he couldn’t follow his dream be­cause he moved to Hong Kong.”

Nizakat expressed his excite­ment over representing Hong Kong as a captain and playing against team Pakistan. “We are confident that we will play well against Pakistan. The way Paki­stani pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi bowls is amazing and that’s why he is my favourite cricketer.”

There’s a cloud around Nas­eem Shah’s fitness. In case of his absence, Mohammad Hasnain would be the like-for-like re­placement. On the other hand, despite the defeat to India, Hong Kong will have been encour­aged by their performance, with the bat in particular so there is no change expected from them. SQUAD (PROBABLES)

PAKISTAN: Babar Azam (capt), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Fakhar Zaman, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Shadab Khan, Asif Ali, Mohammad Nawaz, Mo­hammad Hasnain, Haris Rauf, Shahnawaz Dahani. 

HONG KONG: Nizakat Khan (capt), Yasim Murtaza, Babar Hayat, Kinchit Shah, Aizaz Khan, Zeeshan Ali, Scott McKechnie (wk), Haroon Arshad, Ehsan Khan, Ayush Shuka, Mohammad Ghazanfar.