India open their Asia Cup 2018 campaign against Hong Kong at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Tuesday, September 18.
When is the match and how to watch it online
The second Group A match of Asia Cup 2018 will start at 3:30 pm local time, 5 pm IST and 12:30 pm BST.
Star Sports 1, Star Sports Hindi, and Star Sports Tamil will provide live television coverage of the match in India. The live stream will be available on Hotstar.
What to expect from the match
All eyes are on India-Pakistan tie, scheduled for Wednesday but Rohit Sharma's men are set to begin their Asia Cup campaign against minnows Hong Kong, 24 hours ahead of the much-anticipated tie.
India will have less than 18 hours to rest and recover for the big clash but they cannot afford to take Hong Kong lightly. In fact, today's tie against the qualifiers gives them an opportunity to get their combination right.
The second-ranked ODI side certainly start as overwhelming favourites to clinch two points. A good start will only help their confidence ahead of the Pakistan tie and the all-important Super Four matches, starting Friday.
Despite the jam-packed schedule, India are unlikely to field a second-string unit for today's encounter. Fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah may be rested, considering he had joined the squad only yesterday after the recently-concluded Test series in England.
Highly-rated left-arm pacer Khaleel Ahmed or Shardul Thakur may replace Bumrah while Bhuvneshwar Kumar is all set to play for the first time since missing the England Tests with an injury.
Where should MS Dhoni bat?
India's inconsistent middle order has been a cause for concern. However, the availability of the likes of Manish Pandey, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav and Dinesh Karthik gives the team quite a few options and a chance to arrive at a settled combination, keeping in mind the 2019 Cricket World Cup.
Quite a few from the cricket fraternity have urged the team management to give MS Dhoni a chance or two to bat at No. 4 or No. 5, considering his waning abilities to finish the innings with a flourish.
The slow surfaces in the United Arab Emirates might also give the veteran wicketkeeper-batsman the extra bit of time he needs these days to get his eye in.
Nonetheless, India will be hoping to flex their batting muscles and send out a warning signal to Pakistan, who have a power-packed bowling line-up in the ongoing tournament.
On the other hand, Hong Kong, who were thrashed by Pakistan on Sunday at the same venue, will be hoping to come up with an improved batting show later today. Quite a few of their batsmen, including captain Anshuman Rath, got starts against Pakistan but weren't able to capitalise on them.
Pitch and conditions
It's going to be another energy-sapping hot day in Dubai and teams wouldn't prefer batting second. The pitches have been slow and the likes of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal are going to enjoy bowling in such conditions.
India vs Hong Kong: Asia Cup TV listings
- US, Australia: Yupptv
- Afghanistan: Ariana TV
- Bangladesh: Channel 9, BTV
- Pakistan: PTV Sports
- UAE: OSN Sports Cricket
- Sri Lanka: SLRC (Channel Eye)