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  • Sep 18, 2014
  • Updated: 12:04am

Everything to play for and lots to gain

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 18 January, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 18 January, 2009, 12:00am

THE ROAD TO ARGENTINA FOR HK

2006: Runners-up in the ACC Trophy and qualify for ICC World Cricket League Division Three tournament in Darwin.

2007: Finish fifth out of eight teams in Darwin and relegated to Division Four. Appoint ex-England international Aftab Habib as coach and Tabarak Dar as captain. The emphasis moves towards blooding youngsters.

2008: Win ACC Trophy, defeating the United Arab Emirates in the final. Runners-up in the ICC WCL Division Four tournament in Tanzania and qualify for Division Three again.

2009: ICC WCL Division Three tournament in Argentina.

WHO THEY ARE UP AGAINST

Hong Kong will play in a six-team tournament with the top two reaching the ICC World Cup qualifying tournament in South Africa in April.

AFGHANISTAN: Winners of ICC WCL Division Five (beating Jersey in the final) and then Division Four (beating Hong Kong in the final by 57 runs). Most of their players cut their teeth playing the game across the border in Pakistan. Originally, the Taleban banned cricket but there was a change of heart in early 2000 and the government requested help from the Pakistan Cricket Board to become members of the ICC. In 2006, Afghanistan hosted an MCC team led by former England captain Mike Gatting. Afghanistan won by 171 runs. Coached by former Pakistan test player Kabir Khan, they are a dangerous outfit with spinner Mohammed Nabi the player to watch.

ARGENTINA: Cricket has been played in Argentina since 1806 with the international side first making an appearance in 1868 against Uruguay. Made their first-class bow against the MCC in 1912. A regular participant in the former ICC Trophy, which was a qualifier for previous World Cups. Finished runners-up in the ICC WCL Division Three to Uganda and qualified for Division Two. But they lost all their games and were relegated.

CAYMAN ISLANDS: An associate member of the ICC since 2002, they are ranked 24th in the ICC world rankings, the fourth-ranked non-test team from the Americas, behind Bermuda, the United States and Canada. Defeated Hong Kong in the ICC WCL Division Three tournament in Darwin in 2007. Dismissed Hong Kong for 67 the last time they met and will hold the psychological edge.

PAPUA NEW GUINEA: An ICC associate member since 1973. Known as the Barramundi, the national team have been in Brisbane - at Cricket Australia's Centre of Excellence - preparing for the Buenos Aires tournament. The majority of the squad have been involved in the Australian Country Championships.

UGANDA: Formerly East Africa and then East and Central Africa, Uganda became an associate member of the ICC in their own right in 1998. They have competed at the ICC Trophy on two occasions, in 2001 and 2005. They won the ICC WCL Division Three tournament in Darwin in 2007 and qualified for Division Two. However, they finished bottom in this competition which meant they were relegated. Prior to the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa, Uganda stunned African rivals Kenya with a two-wicket win. Have also recorded a win over Zimbabwe.

THE REWARDS

The top two teams qualify for the ICC World Cup qualifiers in South Africa in April. Twelve teams will battle it out for four berths to the 2011 World Cup in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Group A: Ireland, Scotland, Canada, Oman, Namibia and Division Three qualifier 2.

Group B: Kenya, Netherlands, Bermuda, UAE, Denmark and Division Three qualifier 1.

The top six teams in South Africa will also receive ODI status for the next four years as well as up to US$1 million in grants from the ICC annually.

HONG KONG'S SCHEDULE

January 24 - v Argentina

January 25 - v Afghanistan

January 27 - v Cayman Islands

January 28 - v Uganda

January 30 - v Papua New Guinea

January 31 - Final

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