Giving a high five can be harmful to a bowler as Nadeem Ahmed learned the hard way when he twisted the fingers of his bowling hand after slapping palms with teammate Munir Dar yesterday.
Thankfully that celebration was not premature, nor did the injury prevent left-arm spinner Nadeem from grabbing three wickets as Hong Kong continued their fairytale comeback by defeating Papua New Guinea in their final round-robin match to book a berth in the ICC World Cricket League Division Two tournament in Dubai in April.
The two sides will meet again today at Kowloon Cricket Club to decide who wins the Division Three tournament. That will just be for bragging rights.
What mattered was progressing up the ICC ladder and Hong Kong were over the moon at accomplishing that task with a 93-run victory over PNG, who will also be promoted. No wonder then that the celebrations were also over the top when Hong Kong dismissed PNG's first batsman as they set about chasing a modest total of 221.
The relief that the first wicket had fallen and they were on the way was a good enough reason for high fives, one of which went wrong.
The visitors had progressed to 22 aided by a dropped catch by Hong Kong wicketkeeper Waqas Barkat. When Barkat failed to cleanly grasp the second chance that came his way and the ball popped out of his glove, it looked as if it was not going to be Hong Kong's day. But Hussain Butt, who had earlier anchored Hong Kong's innings of 221 with a battling 68, reacted superbly at first slip to dive and catch the rebound, sending PNG opener Assad Vala back to the pavilion.
That catch left Nadeem in pain. Deliriously happy that the first wicket had fallen, Nadeem slapped palms awkwardly with Dar, his long spinning fingers catching his teammate's palm. He had to leave the field to be treated but thankfully for Hong Kong he returned and was soon doing what he does best - taking wickets.
'It hurt a lot bowling but I somehow managed to finish my 10 overs,' said Nadeem afterwards as Hong Kong celebrated a momentous win.
Batting first, Hong Kong should have reached a bigger total, but soft dismissals just when a partnership was ripening, and a suicidal run-out of skipper Najeeb Amar at the start of the batting powerplay, left Hong Kong feeling as if they were about 30 to 40 runs short.
But they secured victory with good bowling, with Nadeem, Aizaz Khan and Dar outstanding, and were backed up by superior fielding which included two run-outs.
'We are absolutely ecstatic,' said coach Charlie Burke. 'The boys have been great coming back from losing our opening two games and making it through to Division Two. They have stuck together and their will to succeed has been tremendous.'
Hong Kong needed to win convincingly as Oman were breathing down their necks in the race for second place. Oman defeated Denmark handsomely by four wickets at KCC to finish on the same points as Hong Kong but the hosts' superior net run rate saw them through. 'It has been a great team effort over the past few days,' said happy skipper Najeeb. 'Even after we lost our first two matches, we still believed we could do it and now we have qualified for the next division. Our real target is qualifying for the 2015 World Cup and I'm confident this side can do it.'
The Hong Kong Cricket Association executive committee, which promised the players HK$60,000 if they qualified for Division Two, welcomed the triumph. 'If we win [today], we will get an extra HK$40,000,' Najeeb said.
Oman and Italy will remain in Division Three, while the US and Denmark will be relegated to Division Four.