CHITTAGONG, Bangladesh- As cricket’s big guns lock horns at the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh, the minnow nations can take pride in their performances as they seek to make progress on the global stage.
The tournament has reached the Super 10 round, for which the top eight nations qualified automatically, joined by Bangladesh and the Netherlands.
Six International Cricket Council (ICC) associate teams tried their luck in the group stage at the fifth World Twenty20 alongside Test-playing nations Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, who were pipped by the Dutch in Group B.
The stand-out results were a win for unheralded Hong Kong against the hosts and victory for Ireland over Zimbabwe. Nepal pushed Bangladesh hard for a place in the Super 10 round.
Former Pakistan captain-turned-commentator Wasim Akram said he had been impressed with the performances of the associate members.
“I am impressed with Nepal and Hong Kong,” Wasim told AFP. “To begin with, some people might say there were too many associate teams but the format, with minnows battling out in the first round justified that many new teams.
“I must say that the Netherlands and Nepal were the stand-out teams among the associates and for me Hong Kong beating Bangladesh was the biggest upset,” said Wasim.
The Netherlands rewrote the record books by hitting 19 sixes — the most in a T20 international — during their stunning six-wicket win to qualify for the Super 10s on Friday.
They edged out Zimbabwe and fancied Ireland and will be confident they beat one of the top teams in a repeat of their shock win against England at the 2009 World Twenty20.