Hong Kong armed with self-belief for clash with Kenya in Super Sixes
Hong Kong will take on Kenya on Sunday in their opening game in the Super Sixes at the ICC World Cup qualifiers in Christchurch, New Zealand, armed with self-belief after beating them in a practice match before the tournament, said coach Mark Wright.
"We will take confidence from that game, but we are left in no doubt as to the challenge that Kenya will pose," said Wright.
Hong Kong edged to a two-run win in the warm-up match, with left-hander Mark Chapman top-scoring on 69 and Babar Hayat 46, in a match where everyone chipped in to help set a target of 243. Hong Kong then restricted Kenya to 240 for six, with Irfan Ahmed taking three wickets.
Kenya will be buoyed by their last-gasp win over the Netherlands in their final pool game, which clinched the last and third spot in their group. The Africans chased down 265 in less than the required 36 overs to pip the Dutch on net run rate.
"Kenya will be confident in the way they finished the group stage, but at the same time we are also confident in the manner that we have performed thus far," Wright said. "We need to continue to nail our basics and in doing so I have no doubt that the squad will look forward to the challenges that the Super Sixes opposition will provide.
"Morale is high within the squad and we look forward to the rest of the competition."
Hong Kong beat Scotland (by 17 runs), Canada (nine wickets) and Nepal (10 wickets) to win a place in the Super Sixes. Their only loss in the pool stage came at the hands of the United Arab Emirates (22 runs). Hong Kong take two points into the Super Sixes where they meet Kenya, Namibia (on Tuesday) and Papua New Guinea (Thursday).
The top two teams at the end of the Super Sixes will enter the finals, and more importantly qualify for the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, joining fellow associate members Afghanistan and Ireland.
"The guys are in good shape. We didn't play well against UAE, but we have put that result behind us," Wright said.