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Slowly but steadily, the lesser known teams are making their mark in international cricket. Just a few days ago, Nepalese fans announced themselves with a superb support for their home team in the home matches. Hong Kong and Malaysia are playing cricket from a long time now and will be looking to make a mark in the upcoming series. The first of the three-match T20I series between Malaysia and Hong Kong is to be played on 20th February at Kinrara Oval, Kuala Lumpur. With Malaysia at 39th and Hong Kong at 20th place in the ICC World Men's Cricket Rankings, the difference between the two sides is well and truly apparent. However, Malaysia are playing at home and should not be dead weights, as far as offering some resistance is concerned.
It's been almost three months since Hong Kong last played a competitive game of cricket. They were a part of CWC Challenge League, in which they did pretty well with batting as well as bowling both doing pretty well.
In the last one year, from March 2019 to February 2020, Kinchit Shah has been their star batsman and has 274 runs to his name in total in T20Is. Haroon Arshad and Nizakat Khan have done well as bell and containing this trie is not going to be easy for the Malaysian team.
With the ball, the likes of Kyle Christie, Nusrulla Rana, and Ehsan Khan have been brilliant. Nasurlla Rana, in particular has a spectacular average with eight wickets to his name in eight matches. Overall, Hong Kong appears to be a pretty good unit and beating them could be a lot tougher than it actually appears on paper.
Bhushan Save, Ahmed Faiz, Aminuddin Ramly, Virandeep Singh, Sharvin Muniandy, Pavandeep Singh, Mohamed Arief, Fitri Sham, Khizar Hayat , Syazrul Idrus, Syed Aziz.
Like Hong Kong, Malaysia, too, do not get to play much competitive cricket. They last played a match almost six months ago, the match which was played when Vanatu toured Malaysia. Malaysia lost the home series 2-3 to Vanatu and that was a disappointing sight for Malaysian cricket side.
On the batting front, they appear to be a little too over-reliant on Syed Aziz who has 415 runs to his name in the last one year. He will be looking for assistance in the middle-overs and Virandeep Singh and Shafiq Sharif are most likely to bail Malaysia out of trouble in case they end up being in one.
While their batting looks a bit thin, their bowling is actually pretty good. Pavandep Singh, Fitri Sham, and Anwar Rahman have 37 wickets between them at a reasonably good average. Having said that, they lack a quality quick bowler and that could be a cause of concern for them in the upcoming contest.
Aftab Hussain, Ehsan Khan, Haroon Arshad, KD Shah, Aizaz Khan, Mohsin Khan, Nizakat Khan, Scott McKechnie, Shahid Wasif, Waqas Khan, Hamed Khan.
It's not often that either of these two teams get to play competitive cricket. With this series, Malaysia and Hong Kong have the chance to prove themselves in the shortest format of the game. On the basis of form, recent results, and the team composition on paper, Hong Kong appear to be a better unit, and are, therefore our pick to emerge on top in the upcoming contest.
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