Hong Kong v Zimbabwe, WT20 qualifier, Group B, Nagpur March 7, 2016

Hong Kong eye second Full Member scalp

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Match facts

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Start time 1500 local (0930GMT)

Big picture

A major tournament usually enjoys a blockbuster start and while neither Zimbabwe nor Hong Kong claim to provide that, they promise an intriguing opener. The qualifying round of the World TwentyT20 kicks off with the 13th and 14th ranked sides taking each other on, which means the opener will a lot closer than it may appear.

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.

Form guide

(last five completed matches) Zimbabwe WWLLL
Hong Kong LLLLW

Watch out for

Since his international debut in 2003, Vusi Sibanda has promised much, but has failed to deliver consistently. Sibanda's T20I average is only 19.38, and he has not scored a half-century but has the potential to rectify that anomaly. The reality check of being left out of the 2015 World Cup squad and his experience mean that he has a good chance of breaking through this tournament.

At 44 years and 29 days, Ryan Campbell is the oldest player at the tournament and is all set to become the oldest debutant in T20Is. Campbell has more than two decades of experience as a professional cricketer, having played two ODIs for Australia. He was once left chasing Adam Gilchrist for a spot in the Australia XI, but is now on the hunt for a happy second-coming for his adopted home. Campbell starred in Hong Kong's warm-up win over HPCA XI when he scored 46 off 42 balls and took 2 for 10. He then admitted it felt good to "show you can do it."

Team news

Zimbabwe have settled on Richmond Mutumbami at No.3 to follow Hamilton Masakadza and Sibanda. Their middle-order looks solid with Malcolm Waller, Sean Williams, Peter Moor and Elton Chigumbura all providing big-hitting options. Their puzzle comes in the bowling department where they will need to decide which of Tendai Chatara, Tendai Chisoro, Donald Tiripano, Tawanda Mupariwa or Tinashe Panyangara to play. Wellington Masakadza is likely take the specialist spinner's spot.

Zimbabwe (probable): 1 Hamilton Masakadza, 2 Vusi Sibanda, 3 Richmond Mutumbami (wk), 4 Malcolm Waller, 5 Sean Williams, 6 Peter Moor, 7 Elton Chigumbura, 8 Tendai Chatara, 9 Donald Tiripano, 10 Tawanda Mupariwa, 11 Wellington Masakadza

Hong Kong (probable): 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 Waqas Barkat, 11 Nadeem Ahmed

Pitch and conditions

Usually dry and cracked, the surface at the Jamtha Stadium is likely to be slow and low and could take turn. It's set to be a scorcher in Nagpur, with temperatures reaching 36 degrees.

Stats and trivia

  • Hong Kong and Zimbabwe have only met once before, in a last-ball thriller won by Hong Kong in a warm-up match ahead of the 2014 World T20

Quotes

"Zimbabwe have some dangerous players in their team and are probably the favourites to go through. But we are confident in our own abilities and for the first time for a while we will have our strongest team. The guys just want to do Hong Kong proud."
Captain Tanwir Afzal is aware of the challenge facing Hong Kong in their first match

"It's very different from the Test match wicket. That was a Test match, and this pitch has been prepared for T20, so definitely two different pitches and I think this one will play much better."
Zimbabwe captain Hamilton Masakadza does not expect the Nagpur pitch to be a rank turner

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • SHEREHIND on March 8, 2016, 9:14 GMT

    India is certainly not the favourites, simply because whenever the expectations are high they have failed to deliver. Remember, 1983, 2007, 2011, 2015 every time least was expected of them.

    Therefore as per me, they are not favourites though on paper they always are.

  •   ChEran Poudel on March 8, 2016, 8:56 GMT

    why are teams like Nepal, PNG not promoted enough who have a good fan following and have native population playing cricket whereas in countries like Hongkong, UAE USA its just the waste of money. Just see the stadium when UAE plays at its home ground ; you will not find a single Emirati watching cricket. What's the point in investing for the sake of expatriates?

  • sharrenstone on March 8, 2016, 8:39 GMT

    A lot of people are giving too much chance to india. it true that they are playing at home in these indian conditions and are clear favorites but still believe that T20 is anybodys game. And SA have beaten India in India in T20s. So i would give SA better chance of lifting the cup than this indian team. Also, Eng, NZ and Aus are darkhorses in this tournament. They can surprise anybody on their day.Ban is looking a dangerous side as well. If in Asia cup final they would have sent Mahmudullah 2-3 overs earlier who knows they cud have reached 150-160. Also in bowling they made a few mistakes by picking young bowlers and lost the match. So lookout for Ban also. Pak have an outside chance. They always look like down and out but somehow do miracles in world cup. Therefore, Its going to be an exceptional tournament. I am not giving any chance to SL, WI and Zim as I feel they do not have the team to challenge others.

  • SHEREHIND on March 8, 2016, 7:56 GMT

    We have so many offshoots of Pakistan origin players playing for HONGKONG, UAE, OMAN, USA - is it o.k ?. To me we should better encourage teams like Afghanistan, Nepal and other such countries where expatriates are either not there or only a certain% is allowed to play. In present system , this looking awkward. This is like European teams fielding china origin players in T.T or Badminton. Of course if they are born there or have at least spent more then 10 years they should be allowed to play.

  • Siva Chowday Kondaveeti on March 8, 2016, 7:53 GMT

    pls tell me who will win the match

  • ADAS-IND on March 8, 2016, 7:20 GMT

    Associate members like Afghanistan and Nepal deserve more infrastructure and facilities in cricket from full members like my country India . BCCI provides some facilities to Nepal .But should provide more to them and should built up new ground in Nepal . And BCCI could give some 1000-2000 cricket kits to Afghanistan that will help them to stand up against their poor infrastructure of cricket. But UAE, Oman and Hong Kong like countries have a very few Native cricketers most of their cricketers are mostly from Pakistan and India but these countries have very good infrastructure for cricket where Afgans and Nepalies hardly avail cricket balls . And I tell this to BCCI only not Indian govt. because BCCI is the only independent cricket board in the world and richest .

  • AlexNag on March 8, 2016, 6:48 GMT

    I don't understand these ranking system. Zimbabwe hardly plays the associate nations. It poor ranking will be as a result of losing to the higher ranked nations like Australia SA India etc. On the other hand a team like Hong Kong plays Oman Kenya etc and picks up points and is ranked higher. If Zimbabwe is to revert to being an associate nation would it not be the strongest or among the strongest and will be rated higher. As for these games I just hope Zimbabwe and Bangladesh go through and we can stop these nonsense of full members having to fight for a place with associate nations. If you ask me WI, NZ, Sri Lanka and Pakistan should be playing in the qualifies cause they are not different from Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.

  • Anoop3003 on March 8, 2016, 4:16 GMT

    Where is Sikander Raza? Is he not playing?

  • mrgupta on March 8, 2016, 4:07 GMT

    I think out of all playing the qualifier round BD will be the sure winner, the only question will be who gets the second place. It will be interesting fight between Zim and Afg.

  • Manik_mia on March 8, 2016, 3:47 GMT

    ZIM will stay unbeaten here to go to the next round.

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