It was a bittersweet ending for Hong Kong’s Asia Cup campaign because the minnow fell to a 26-run defeat by the hands of India at Dubai International Cricket stadium on Tuesday.
No one gave Anshuman Rath and his males an opportunity against the No2 ranked ODI aspect on the earth after they have been bundled out for just 116 runs in an eight-wicket loss to Pakistan two day in the past on the identical venue.
Having had lost their ODI standing a month in the past, the Associate nation have been predicted to be the whipping boys of Group A with arch-rivals India and Pakistan expected to coast to the Super Four.
India and Pakistan have now superior to the Super Four, however not within the method they might have imagined within the former’s case.
On Tuesday, when Shikhar Dhawan and Ambati Rayudu have been going nice weapons with the bat for India, the expected script appeared to be being adopted.
However, that every one modified after the 40th over of India’s innings with Hong Kong’s slower bowlers pulling issues again properly. Only 48 runs got here for India within the final 10 overs however even a complete of 285 was expected to be too massive a mountain to climb for the Associates who had folded for just 116 against Pakistan.
That expected collapse didn’t include Hong Kong openers Anshuman Rath and Nizakat Khan placing on a report 174-run stand for the opening wicket. For an enormous interval, India have been on the ropes with Hong Kong on target to drag off one of the vital memorable upsets in cricket historical past.
Ultimately, India drew on their immense reserves to extinguish the minnows’ problem however Rath’s males had undoubtedly caught the eye of the cricketing world with their never-say-die spirit. The skipper’s determined dive to finish a good single throughout his 174-run stand with Khan had embodied that spirit completely.
At the post-match, the 20-year-old captain’s combined feelings after the defeat have been clear to see.
“I think today was bitter-sweet. We really proved to the world what we can do. In saying that, we had India by the horns and really should’ve finished it off, if we are being hard on ourselves, which we should be,” Rath had acknowledged.
For a rustic the place cricket nonetheless remains largely an novice sport, Hong Kong’s display against the global powerhouse of the game is much more spectacular contemplating the truth that there are solely three active cricket grounds within the autonomous territory.
In reality, a kind of three is definitely a soccer floor which doubles as a cricket stadium for worldwide matches.
90 per cent of Hong Kong’s player pool comes from 5 groups within the Premier Division league. Only 13 players get pleasure from a full-time contract whereas a lot within the squad need to take up different jobs to assist themselves financially.
With their Asia Cup campaign now over, the longer term remains darkish for Rath and his males regardless of their distinctive exhibiting. Such are the travails of Associate nations in ICC’s scheduling that their subsequent ODI fixture won’t come for one more 4 years.
“We don’t know what the ICC has in plan for us. Hopefully, this performance helps. The next three or four years will be a little bit quiet for us, going into a little bit of a rebuild period. But hopefully ICC recognise that associate cricket has got a lot better and today we just proved that,” Rath had stated on Tuesday.
With the capabilities and spirit Hong Kong have displayed of their brief second under the highlight, one can solely hope that Rath’s plea doesn’t fall on deaf ears.