Hong Kong Women’s T20 cricket team are bracing themselves for a tough test in the ICC Women’s Asia Qualifier in Bangkok, Thailand (16-27 Feb).
Hong Kong will play six matches in the ten-day, round-robin with Thailand, China, Kuwait, Malaysia, Nepal and the UAE. The winner books a place in the final global play-offs for the T20 and 50-Over women’s world cups in 2020.
Undoubtedly, Hong Kong’s top threat is Thailand - ranked 12th in the world in T20 and on home turf.
Regardless, team Hong Kong is better prepared than ever and making strides in their increasingly professional approach. National team coach Richard Waite says this team can make history by advancing out of Asia for the first time.
The squad nearly achieved the feat two years ago in Waite’s first ICC outing in charge.
“It was a tough loss for the girls and for me. It was unfortunate, but we have assessed that performance, we know where we went wrong and we have come back stronger.”
However, Hong Kong still won’t take anything for granted despite their increase in confidence and ability.
“There is some strong competition, so you can’t take any game lightly, but if we want to be successful, we have to win it.”
The current squad features a healthy number of experienced leaders like Mariko Hill; vice-captain Kary Chan; Marina Lamplough, currently playing with the Otago Sparks in New Zealand and former England Academy and Nottinghamshire representative Jasmine Titmuss, who made her Hong Kong debut late last year.
At the other end of the scale, the selectors have handed a debut appearance to 15-year old Maryam Bibi, a bowler from Delia Memorial School who plays for Diasqua Little Sai Wan.