Hong Kong skipper Atkinson seeks winning platform against Canada

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 16 January, 2014, 11:28am
UPDATED : Thursday, 16 January, 2014, 11:28am

Skipper Jamie Atkinson will again look to his top-order batsmen to create a solid foundation so the rest of “the lads can play with freedom” when Hong Kong take on Canada in their second pool A game at the ICC World Cup (50 overs) qualifiers in Queenstown, New Zealand, on Friday.

A morale-boosting 17-run victory over Scotland – one of the favourites in the 10-team tournament – on Monday has put Hong Kong in a sound position in the race to uncover two more associate teams for the 2015 World Cup. Afghanistan and Ireland have already qualified.

The confidence gained from this win over an ODI country will be great going forward
Jamie Atkinson

“We created a good platform with the bat and if we bat first again, this is what we will be looking for so the rest of the lads can play with freedom near the end of the innings to get us to a score of 250-plus,” Atkinson said.

“I think the key was that everyone contributed, whether it was with the bat, the ball or in the field. We managed to pick up wickets at crucial times and break threatening partnerships. The lads showed calmness under pressure as Scotland neared the target and this allowed us to get through.

“We just need everyone to keep consistently performing in all aspects of the game moving forward. The confidence gained from this win over an ODI country will be great going forward. It’s always great to start a tournament with a win as it sets you up for the rest of the tournament,” Atkinson said.

The United Arab Emirates look to be the main dangers in pool A after convincing wins over Nepal and Canada. In the other pool, Namibia, Papua New Guinea and the Netherlands look the early favourites with Kenya and Uganda also in the running.

The top three teams from each pool will enter the Super Sixes after which the top two qualify for the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand next year.