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Malaysia has been brilliant in the T20 series so far and taken an unexpected 2-0 lead against Hong Kong. All the experience that Hong Kong has and the success it has enjoyed in T20 cricket seems to have come to naught in this series.
While rain could have been blamed for the first loss, there is nothing to hide behind in the second T20.
Can Malaysia wrap up the series in the first three T20 matches itself? Is there a way for Hong Kong to fight back and keep the series alive?
Malaysia vs Hong Kong 3rd T20 is going to be played at the Kinrara Academy Oval, Kuala Lumpur on the 23rd of February 2020.
Virandeep Singh has led from the front in both the matches that Malaysia has played so far. He has ensured that his team does not fall behind in terms of runs needed by taking the responsibility of scoring himself.
His 46 came off just 40 balls and included two hits over the boundary.
Some useful contributions from Ahmad Faiz, Syed Aziz, and the lower-order helped Malaysia to get to 138 in its 19 overs. That is not a huge total but one that gave the Malaysian bowlers something to defend.
As things worked out, Pavandeep Singh, Fitri Sham, and Syazrul Idrus ran through the Hong Kong batting and made it an easy victory in the end.
The form and confidence that Malaysia will have after these two victories are difficult to measure. They are going to be on top of the moon and the chance to win a series in the first three matches is going to be a huge motivation.
Our concern remains the dependence on Virandeep Singh for the runs but he has been able to deliver so far.
Virandeep Singh, Syed Aziz, Aminuddin Ramly, Mohamed Arief, Ahmed Faiz, Sharvin Muniandy, Khizar Hayat , Nazril Rahman, Pavandeep Singh, Fitri Sham, Syazrul Idrus.
Two wickets in the first over and four in the powerplay meant that Hong Kong was never going to come to close to chasing down a par total. Nizakat Khan, Kinchit Shah, Shahid Wasif, and Scott McKechnie were able to score a combined of 6 runs in the previous match.
These are the four most experienced batsmen of Hong Kong and considered to be responsible for scoring the bulk of the runs.
They are going to be quite disappointed with their effort in the series so far.
The bowlers did pretty well we thought as they prevented the Malaysian batsmen from getting away to any sort of flyers. The boundaries were kept under control and the eventual total they conceded should have been easily chaseable.
The blame for the loss has to be taken by the batsmen alone.
There is enough talent and experience in the Hong Kong side not to panic. They also have no option but to fight back otherwise the series is going to be lost without any resistance whatsoever.
Scott McKechnie, Nizakat Khan, Shahid Wasif, Waqas Khan, Haroon Arshad, KD Shah, W Barkat, Aizaz Khan, Ehsan Khan, Aftab Hussain, Nasrulla Rana.
The team that wins the toss is going to want to field first.
Read our guide on toss predictions to learn how we analyze and come up with our tips.
There is a lot of rain expected in Kuala Lumpur on match day and so we could be in for another reduced overs contest. We have to hope to get a large enough window to try and get a result in.
The pitch has been slow but flat. The batsmen have been able to get their eye in and score freely. Another score of around 150 seems to be what teams will be aiming for batting first.
Rain curtailed matches can swing wildly in the matter of a few deliveries. We cannot help but think that Hong Kong will fight back in this contest and try to take the series deep. Virandeep Singh has been scoring runs but if he gets out early then Malaysia is vulnerable.
Bet on Hong Kong to win.
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