No surprise for coach Charlie Burke as Hong Kong beat Zimbabwe
Coach says his side showed before beating their test-level opponents that they were competitive
Hong Kong's last-ball win over Zimbabwe did not come as a surprise for head coach Charlie Burke, who said the world had been given enough notice that Jamie Atkinson and his men - and a boy, in the case of match-winner Mark Chapman - were here not to just make up numbers.
"I don't think this is a really big surprise. Many people knew already that we are a dangerous unit and we have showed that on a number of occasions in the last few months. But having said that, this is truly a magnificent effort," said an elated Burke.
The four-wicket victory in a warm-up over Zimbabwe was the first time a Hong Kong team had defeated a test-playing side. And it seemed like a warm-up match - for the ICC World Cup - only in name: Zimbabwe looked crushed afterwards.
"This win will enhance our reputation. Over the last few months, we have had some great wins and this just makes it better," said skipper Atkinson.
The last-gasp win gives the team momentum ahead of their ICC World Twenty20 preliminaries, where they are grouped with Nepal, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
Hong Kong arrived in Chittagong last Sunday buoyed by two victories in Dubai over the Netherlands and Ireland, both above Hong Kong in the associate members' rankings.
"We had gained a fair degree of momentum from the last few games and of course today [against Zimbabwe]," said Burke.
"Defeating teams ranked above us is a massive boost and if the guys don't have the trust and belief in their game after this, I don't know what will give them that."
Chapman, 19, faced a nervy last five balls with Hong Kong needing seven runs to win.
An improvised ramp shot gave him a welcome boundary, but then he failed to score off the next two balls from fast bowler Tenden Chatara as the pressure increased.
He pulled the fifth delivery to square leg and scrambled two runs with Tanwir Afzal to tie the score, then kept his nerve to hit a six off the last ball to bring up victory and his half century (53).
"I was pleased with the way I batted and it is one of the best knocks I have played for Hong Kong. The key now is to be consistent," said Chapman.
All-rounder Tanwir's quickfire knock of 37 took the pressure off Chapman in their match-winning 70-run partnership, which overhauled Zimbabwe's total of 153 for seven.
Tanwir had opened the bowling for Hong Kong and conceded just 15 runs in his three overs during the power-play. But his biggest contribution was with the bat, joining Chapman with Hong Kong struggling at 89 for six in the 14th over, as he settled the nerves with some classic drives.
"We still backed ourselves, for we know we [can] bat down the order. At the end of the day we didn't need Haseeb Amjad or Najeeb Amar, both of whom can hit the ball," Burke said.
It would have been a much easier task had Hong Kong not leaked 47 runs in the last three overs as Elton Chigumbura's late rally gave Zimbabwe a challenging score.
"We lost our way a little bit at the end with the ball," Burke added. "But what was most pleasing was that our middle order got us across the line today."