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Match Reports,07 July 2015

Leie, Phangiso spin South Africa home

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The big stage probably got to us: Atkinson

Hong Kong captain feels the pressure of playing in front of a large crowd was something his boys couldn’t handle

The big stage probably got to us: Atkinson - Cricket News
Hong Kong captain feels the pressure of playing in front of a large crowd was something his boys couldn’t handle.
He wore the look of a man who had been waiting for something years, planning for it assiduously for months, working tirelessly for weeks, only to be let down by the gods on the fateful day. Jamie Atkinson, Hong Kong’s captain, has a mature head on broad young shoulders, and is not given to exuberant displays of emotion, but he could not hide his disappointment after Hong Kong was cut down by 80 runs in a one-sided match against Nepal at the ICC World Twenty20 in Chittagong on Sunday (March 16).
 
“It’s just disappointing how we played today. It’s hard to describe the feeling,” said Atkinson. “All we can do now is show what we can do, a proper reflection of our standard of play.”
 
For starters, Atkinson made no excuses. “It was a really good cricket wicket. There was a bit for the bowlers at the start of the innings, and at the same time it was a decent batting track as well,” he said. “Bowling first, when we managed to keep Nepal down to 149, it was a decent effort in the end. It was the batting that lost us the game today.”
 
Hong Kong has the greater pedigree as compared to Nepal, and in winning their two warm-up matches, against stronger teams – Zimbabwe and the Netherlands – it certainly had the upper hand going into Sunday’s match. “We had a fantastic warm-up for us in the build-up to the game today,” said Atkinson. “In the end, it was probably the big stage that got to us. The lads felt a bit of pressure at the start of the batting innings. We lost a couple of early wickets, that set us back, and we were not able to rebuild from there.”
 
Atkinson did not shy away from giving credit where it was due. “Every time we play Nepal, they are a very well drilled side, they put their bodies on the line for the side and fight to the end,” he said. “They have had a lot of success in the last couple of months and have been able to get to the World T20, there’s a reason for that. They’re a very good side, in the end, they just performed better than us today.”
 
While Hong Kong took confidence from its warm-up wins, Atkinson insisted his side was not complacent, while admitting that the large and vociferous crowd did have a role to play in knocking them off their game. “We had a good build-up to the match, there was a relaxed feeling in the dressing room. It was a big game for Hong Kong cricket, as it was for Nepal. In the end they’ve handled that better than us,” he conceded. “There was quite a big crowd for a Hong Kong game and we haven’t really experienced that in the past. That contributed a bit. There was always going to be nerves among all the players, being a first Twenty20 International for every single player in the team.”

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