Hong Kong will be spurred by T20 scalp, says Atkinson
Confidence is high going into ACC Premier Trophy after win against Bangladesh last month
The fresh memory of defeating test-playing side Bangladesh will spur Hong Kong on at the ACC Premier Trophy in Kuala Lumpur, said skipper Jamie Atkinson as he left on Sunday at the head of a 14-strong squad for their first overseas assignment since the historic victory in Chittagong at the ICC World Twenty20.
It is a different format - 50 overs - but buoyed by their recent performances in both shorter versions of the game, Hong Kong are eyeing their first ACC Trophy title since winning it in 2008.
"Malaysia holds fond memories for it was in Kuala Lumpur in 2008 that we last won this tournament and we are definitely looking to win again," said Atkinson. "The team is upbeat, boosted by the confidence of knowing we can mix it with the big boys."
The win over Bangladesh came in Hong Kong's final group game against the hosts at last month's ICC World T20. They bowled out their fancied opponents for 108 and then chased it down for a two-wicket victory.
"That was a fantastic way to end the tournament, going out on such a high. This has given us a new measure of confidence, knowing that we claimed a big scalp like Bangladesh and it will give us momentum going into Kuala Lumpur," Atkinson said.
The ACC Premier Trophy is a six-team tournament in a round-robin format. Hong Kong's first game is against top-ranked Asian associate member Afghanistan on Thursday. The other teams are Oman, United Arab Emirates, Nepal and Malaysia.
"We were disappointed with our performances against Afghanistan and Nepal [in Bangladesh] but we have put that firmly behind us. We have made great progress in the 50-overs format, particularly in New Zealand [in January]," Atkinson said.
Hong Kong won ODI (one-day international) status for finishing among the top six associate sides at the ICC World Cup qualifiers in New Zealand. The matches against Afghanistan and UAE will be official ODI games.
There will be three new faces from the squad that went to Bangladesh, with Skhawat Ali, Ankur Sharma and Manjinder Singh coming in for Munir Dar, Najeeb Amar and Kinchit Shah. Talented left-handed batsman Mark Chapman has returned to university in New Zealand.