Hong Kong upset Bangladesh, taking scalp of test-playing nation for first time
International minnows surprise hosts on home soil at World Twenty20 tournament
Hong Kong are coming home with their heads held high after registering a historic victory over hosts Bangladesh in their final group game at the ICC World Twenty20 in Chittagong.
The international minnows held their nerve for a tense two-wicket triumph and grab the big scalp of test-playing side Bangladesh – the first time a Hong Kong team has defeated a full member of the International Cricket Council at a world event.
“We are absolutely over the moon to beat Bangladesh on their home ground and in front of a big crowd,” said skipper Jamie Atkinson.
"It’s a proud moment for us. It is a moment we will treasure and a very significant win as we have shown that we are closing the gap between us and the big teams."
The victory was set up by bowlers Nadeem Ahmed, whose four wickets for 21 earned him the man of the match award, as well as Nizakat Khan and Tanwir Afzal, who between them grabbed nine wickets to dismiss Bangladesh for 108.
It was then the turn of another bowler, Munir Dar, who is serving a one-year ban from bowling slapped on him by the ICC for a suspect action, to lead the way with the bat.
He top-scored with 36, and together with Irfan Ahmed (34) took Hong Kong close to victory before Haseeb Amjad hit a six to bring up victory with two balls to spare.
The packed stadium had gone wild earlier when the announcement rang across the ground that Bangladesh had qualified for the Super 10 stage.
If Hong Kong had overhauled the target of 108 in 13.1 overs or less, it would have allowed Nepal to qualify on a better net run rate.
Irfan, who had two golden ducks coming into the match, was dropped before scoring, but went on to score 34, which included three booming sixes.
It gave Hong Kong the perfect start and despite a stutter mid-innings – four wickets falling for six runs – and towards the end, Hong Kong reached home.
Earlier in Bangladesh’s innings, every time a wicket fell it was as if someone had hit the mute button at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, where more than 18,000 fans could not believe what was unfolding before them.
Tanwir set the tone of the match when he grabbed two wickets in the first over, bowling the dangerous Tamim Iqbal on the second ball with one that came in slightly and then in his final ball had Sabbir Rahman leg before.
It was a dream start. The crowd, however, started to perk up as Shakib Al Hasan joined opener Anamul Haque and the pair started to find the boundaries.
Shakib hit Tanwir over square leg for the first six of the match and in the next over hit successive boundaries off Haseeb Amjad to calm the nerves of the fans.
Bangladesh reached 50 in the sixth over with Haque smoking three successive fours off Nadeem Ahmed’s first over, but he was out trying to go for a fourth boundary when the left-arm spinner managed to sneak one through to bowl him.
Shakib and skipper Mushfiqur Rahim took the score to 85 before it all started to unravel for the hosts. Irfan Ahmed made the big breakthrough getting the key wicket of the big-hitting Shakib caught pulling powerfully, but failing to clear the mid-wicket boundary where Nizakat Khan held on to a good catch.
Bangladesh captain Rahim should have been out two balls later in the same over, but wicketkeeper Jamie Atkinson spilled an edge.
But the miss did not prove costly as Rahim was out in the next over skying leg-spinner Nizakat to extra cover where Munir Dar held his nerve to settle under and pouch it.
That sparked a collapse as Hong Kong spinners Nizakat and Nadeem Ahmed bowling in tandem gave the home team a taste of their own medicine as Bangladesh slipped from 89 for four to 108 all out in the 16th over.