Hong Kong defeated the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the final of the Asia Cup 2018 Qualifier in Kuala Lumpur to get a chance to compete at the Asia Cup 2018. In a rain-curtailed match, Hong Kong won a thrilling match by two wickets to qualify for the Asia Cup 2018.
Hong Kong was set 179 to win from 24 overs. Aizaz Khan was the pick of the bowlers with a five-wicket haul. In reply, Hong Kong never really felt comfortable in the chase but still managed to win the match. For the host nation UAE, opener Ashfaq Ahmed had scored 79 off just 51 balls while the rest of the batsmen failed to put up a decent contribution.
Hong Kong shattered the dream of the host nation to play at the Asia Cup 2018 in front of their home crowd. Hong Kong coach Simon Cook believes that cricket is largely an amateur sport in Hong Kong and even now, they play one week and then have three weeks off.
Very less number of matches in the domestic circuit makes it difficult to pick players for the national team. But still, a lot has been done over the years to promote the game. Contracts given to 13 players is a step in the right direction.
The average age of the current side is 25, which is kind of a peak age for a cricketer. The performance in the Asia Cup will help the sport receive the kind of attention it deserves back home.
Here we take a look at 5 things of note about the Hong Kong cricket team:
#1 Participation in Asia Cup
Hong Kong has taken part in the Asia Cup twice before. They have earlier participated in 2004 and 2008 editions. In the 2004 Asia Cup, they lost matches against Bangladesh and Pakistan and thus were eliminated from the tournament.
In the 2008 edition, they lost to India and Pakistan. Their journey in 2018 also looks tough after being drawn in Group A with India and Pakistan again.
#2 Highest Total
During the ICC World Cricket League Championship 2017 in Dubai, Hong Kong registered its highest team total. They scored 323 for four against Papua New Guinea. The team won the match by 93 runs.
It is to be seen how their batsmen perform against the seasoned bowling line-ups of India and Pakistan. They can take some inspiration from Afghanistan’s performance against Sri Lanka on Monday.