World Cup qualifiers at stake as Hong Kong face Nepal in ICC WCL one-day match
Hong Kong are fifth in the eight-team table and need to finish in the top four in order to advance to the 2019 qualifying tournament
Hong Kong take on Nepal on Friday in the first of two 50-over ICC World Cricket League Championship games, knowing they cannot afford to drop any more matches in the quest to qualify for the 2019 World Cup.
Coach Simon Cook has told the squad to focus on their skills at Mission Road rather than the standings and is confident that the players can bounce back from two defeats by table-toppers Netherlands in February.
“We’re not putting the game on a pedestal, we are playing the game as a game,” said Cook, who will name his final XI out of the 14-man squad on Friday morning. “We know they’ve got the skills and they know the importance of the game but it’s one of these situations where you can’t focus on that.
“The only way to control that is to control what you do on the cricket field, but focusing on performing to the best of your ability.
“We’ve got 14 players who are very strong and challenging for places. We know that if the 11 we choose play somewhere near their best, there’s a really good chance of winning the game.”
Hong Kong are in fifth place in the standings with the top four teams having a chance of playing in the 2019 World Cup qualifiers next year.
With 11 points from 10 games, Hong Kong are one point behind fourth-placed Kenya, who have played two games more but recently boosted their chances with a victory over Netherlands.
Nepal are one place below Hong Kong on eight points from 10 matches and are desperate for victory.
“They look sharp and there’s going to be a lot of spin in their team and a lot of energy on the field. It will be a tough game for us,” said Cook.
The second match is on Sunday at Mission Road.
Hong Kong squad: Babar Hayat (LSWCC) Captain, Anshuman Rath (Hong Kong Cricket Club) Vice Captain, Jamie Atkinson (Kowloon CC), Chris Carter (Kowloon CC), Nizakat Khan (Hong Kong Cricket Club), Shahid Wasif (LSWCC), Ehsan Khan (LSWCC), Aizaz Khan (Kowloon CC), Waqas Khan (LSWCC), Tanwir Afzal (Pakistan Association CC), Ehsan Nawaz (Hong Kong Cricket Club), Tanveer Ahmed (Hong Kong Cricket Club), Jhatha Subramanyan (Hong Kong Cricket Club), Kyle Christie (Midland Guildford).