Hong Kong deserve their place among the world’s elite after stunning hosts Bangladesh at the ICC World Twenty20, ecstatic head coach Charlie Burke said.
With the world, including all the test-playing nations who have turned up for the biggest cricket carnival this year, watching on television, Hong Kong scored their biggest ever win, beating Bangladesh by two wickets.
It was the first time a Hong Kong team have defeated a full member of the International Cricket Council at a world event.
“Hopefully, this will show the ICC and the other test nations how important it is to have associate countries at tournaments like this,” Burke said. “This format is a great way to promote the game and we showed we deserved to be here.”
This tournament in its original form was meant to be a 16-team event – the 10 full members plus six associate members who qualified. But politics and the fact that next year’s 50-overs World Cup was changed to a 14-team event – the ICC had to backtrack after cutting it down to 10 – resulted in the world governing body moving the goal posts at the last minute in a fit of pique and bringing in another qualifying stage before the Super 10 which starts today.
If not for stage fright, and dropped catches against Nepal and Afghanistan, Hong Kong might have still made it through to the Super 10 stage.
But they saved their best for the end and silenced a vociferous full house of 18,000 fans at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium.
“The guys were all disappointed with what had happened but we talked about what a headline it would be if we knocked off Bangladesh,” Burke said. “And it doesn’t come any bigger than beating a test side in the World Twenty20.”
Proud captain and wicketkeeper Jamie Atkinson said: “It’s a proud moment for us. It is a moment we will treasure and a very significant win as we have shown we are closing the gap between us and the big teams.
“It shows how far associate cricket has come as well. It’s a big win and it’s always great when some of the lower-ranked sides can knock off a test nation.”