Their tournament started brightly, but inconsistency with the bat cost them their ODI status.
Overall grade: D
Lost to Scotland by 4 wickets
Beat Afghanistan by 30 runs (DLS method)
Lost to Zimbabwe by 89 runs
Lost to Nepal by 5 wickets
Lost to the Netherlands by 44 runs
9th/10th place play-off
Lost to PNG by 58 runs
Positives to take home
A disappointed Hong Kong will head back from Zimbabwe, having lost their one-day international status. Making it harder for them is the knowledge that they began the tournament with such promise.
They bounced back strongly from an opening defeat at the hands of Scotland to pull off one of the upsets of the tournament, against Afghanistan. They batted sensibly to post 241/8 and bowled well to get the better of their opponents and the rain.
They were on course for a Super Sixes place, but slipped in the crucial match against Nepal and given another chance to fight and retain their ODI status, they faltered in the chase against the Netherlands.
The one big positive for them has been their bowling. The veteran off-spinner Ehsan Khan led the way with 15 wickets in six matches. He found good support from Ehsan Nawaz, Nadeem Ahmed, Aizaz Khan and Tanwir Afzal. They ensured six Scotland wickets fell chasing a target of 92, nearly bowled out Afghanistan and Zimbabwe, and restricted the Netherlands to 174.
Anshuman Rath, their batting mainstay, made two half-centuries. While he would have liked to convert them into big scores, Rath again proved his worth to the team.
Areas to improve
The batting department has plenty of room for improvement. They crossed 200 just once, in the win over Afghanistan when they posted 241/8. That apart, Scotland bundled them for 91, while Zimbabwe, Hong Kong and the Netherlands bowled them out for 174, 153 and 130 respectively. In the ninth-place play-off, they lost to PNG by 58 runs, shot out for 142 replying to 200.
Even in the game against Afghanistan, their total was largely down to Rath and the way he built the innings. Aizaz Khan and Ehsan Khan, the No.2 and No.3 batsmen, managed scores of 5 and 2 respectively, and Rath needed to put on partnerships with Babar Hayat, the captain, and the rest of the tail to push the score.
Rath’s aggregate of 186 in six matches apart, no batsman made much of a contribution. With the bowlers doing their job and Ehsan Khan picking wickets in buckets, Hong Kong know that they could have gone a long way in this tournament had their batsmen fared better.
Ehsan Khan took all the plaudits, but Hong Kong had encouraging signs for the future in Ehsan Nawaz. The 22-year-old right-arm paceman ended with eight wickets in six matches, the highlight of which was the 4/47 he picked off the hosts Zimbabwe. He had all of Cephas Zhuwao, Brendan Taylor, Craig Ervine and Sean Williams dismissed to pick up his best figures in ODIs.