Hong Kong beat UAE in a thrilling Asia Cup Qualifier final on Thursday (September 6) to make it to the tournament proper. The qualifier started with Hong Kong losing to Malaysia before they bounced back to defeat Singapore, UAE, Nepal and once again UAE in the final.
"It's a great feeling," Hong Kong captain Anushman Rath told ICC. "I think we wanted to show the world what we can do despite losing the ODI status."
Rath scored 209 runs at an average of 41.82 in the tournament and said beating UAE and Nepal, the two ODI nations, shows the ability of their side.
"Beating both ODI nations quite comprehensively in this tournament, and beating one of them twice, just sort of explains how we play our cricket," he said. "And hopefully, to show the rest of the world that the standard of Associate cricket has improved over the last couple of years."
Rath stressed that his team hadn't changed much after the loss in the World Cup qualifier, explaining that the disappointing performance then was merely down to the competition levels among Associate Nations.
"We haven't changed much with our squad. Just a few changes, we still have a young squad," he explained. "But it just goes to show how cut-throat Associate cricket can be. One bad game can essentially cost you (ODI) status. Yet, here we are, playing against India and Pakistan in a week's time.
"So it really meant a lot to the fellows, especially after going through a bit of a down period and then we lost the ODI status. It was something that the boys needed just to reassure ourselves that we can perform at this level and we can do it. All the hard work that has gone in this tournament over the last couple of months really has paid off. And the boys have shown really good character especially after losing that first game to Malaysia in the qualifiers."
First Published: September 8, 2018, 1:26 PM IST