HK have only pride to play for after failures

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 18 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 18 March, 2012, 12:00am


Pride is the only thing left for Hong Kong to play for at the ICC World Twenty20 qualifiers as they face their last three group games with no chance of making it into the top three and keeping alive their World Cup hopes.

Hong Kong spent yesterday's rest day licking their wounds and contemplating what might have been if they had beaten Papua New Guinea and Nepal, both encounters which should have been cut and dried but for indifferent batting.

Head coach Charlie Burke (pictured), looking back at a campaign buried by a batting lineup which failed to deliver, said: 'We only have a bit of pride to play for and to try and see if we can finish as high as we can in our group.'

Hong Kong scored a meagre 131 against Papua New Guinea, and the significance of how much a few more runs might have meant was shown by the fact that PNG scraped home with one ball to spare.

There was a sense of symmetry: against Nepal, Hong Kong failed to chase down a target of 131, losing by 28 runs.

'We could so easily have been in the positon of having won three of our first four games, which was the goal. But sadly, we didn't play smart cricket, especially the batsmen,' Burke said,

With only one win from the opening four games - over Bermuda - Hong Kong are in sixth position in their eight-team pool. They needed to finish in the top three to force their way into the knockout stages. The top two teams from this qualifying tournament will win berths at the ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka in September.

'We meet Denmark tomorrow and we will be looking at trying to win this one. It will do the pride, and confidence, of the team a whole lot of good as we are facing an important next 18 months in the run-up to the World Cup [50 overs] qualifiers,' Burke said yesterday.

Hong Kong's remaining two games are against the two top seeds in the pool, unbeaten Afghanistan and the Netherlands.