Much has been spoken about Hong Kong’s absolute mind-boggling performance against World #2 ranked ODI team India in their match in the 2018 ACC Asia Cup in Dubai on 19th Sep 2018.
Come next day and after few weeks, most of the supporting comments and statements about how Hong Kong showed their mettle will start dying a slow death as no one will see them in action in the near future again against a Full member nation. It happened after Scotland’s victory over England earlier this year. So, nothing out of the extraordinary should be expected out of this as well. After all, FM fans will only remember that they ran India close but eventually lost the match.
It’s funny because only in 2018 itself, the number of victories from Associate member countries over Full member (including newcomers Afghanistan and Ireland) has been on a staggering rise but by the time the year comes to a close, the debate on whether they deserve more than what they get will only remain as it is, a debate.
But what Hong Kong did was provide evidence and data on how consistent number of matches improve performances to International Cricket Council, who are supposedly doing a review for ODI status to multi-team tournaments and beyond the currently allocated 16 nations (12 Full members and 4 Associate members).
Let’s have a look at some of the numerical data points from yesterday’s match between India and Hong Kong.
1) Hong Kong kept India below 300 and conceded only 45 runs in their final 10 overs, picking 5 wickets
2) A 174 runs opening stand against a bowling attack comprising the likes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav & co
3) Hong Kong spinners (who bowled more than 2 overs in the match) conceded 143 runs in 29 overs at less than 5 runs-per-over and picked up 5 wickets against a batting line-up which thrives on spin-friendly conditions
4) Held all the catches which resulted in the 7 wickets that fell for India
5) Hong Kong batsmen scored 116 runs off Indian spinners, albeit losing 5 wickets, but showing that they can handle spin-bowling for a team which has struggled regularly in the recent past
6) Scored more than 5 runs-per-over and batted full 50 overs (a rarity not seen quite often, but of course, how many scheduled matches like these do happen?)
7) An opening batsmen (Anshuman Rath), who now has scored two half-centuries and a century against 3 ODI status accredited countries within the space of less than 3 weeks
8) An off-break bowler (Ehsan Khan), who has now taken 10 wickets in his last 4 matches against 3 ODI status accredited countries within the space of less than 3 weeks
Data points like this support the case of consistent fixtures cause the numbers don’t lie. Hopefully, ICC’s review will bring a positive outcome for Associate members. Only time will tell.