For their months of laborious training, the Hong Kong cricket team have earned themselves their first-ever major World Cup tournament entry. Having defeated Papua New Guinea (PNG) by 29 runs in Abu Dhabi on November 28, 2013, Hong Kong secured their berth at the World Twenty20 2014 in Bangladesh.
Hong Kong now joins Afghanistan, Ireland, Nepal, Netherlands and United Arab Emirates (UAE), as the other non-Test playing teams to partake in next year’s competition in March 2014. In the preliminary stages of the tournament, they are slotted into group A, with the hosts Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Nepal. If they pass that phase, our homegrown cricketers could then even be playing against the likes of world-class players like Dhoni, Chris Gayle, and Shahid Afridi.
The team’s journey towards qualifying wasn’t all that smooth – they lost to Ireland and Nepal, and were reduced to 19 for 4 in their must-win game against PNG – the fact that they trumped the odds is what makes their victory even more rewarding. While all players had played their parts in their trip to triumph, Babbar Hayat’s 48 was most crucial for ensuring the team had a sizable total to defend against, and eventually defeat, PNG.