Do-or-die test for Hong Kong cricketers in Incheon
Defeat in opener means elimination but victory will seal place in last four
The Hong Kong men's cricket team face an all-or-nothing situation when they start their Asian Games campaign in Incheon next month.
It will be the second time in a row the sport is on the Asian Games programme after Guangzhou in 2010 when Hong Kong finished fifth.
With a favourable draw in Incheon, Hong Kong will go straight into the quarter-finals and need just one victory to put them in a medal match. They will play their first match against the winners of a preliminary group, possibly Nepal.
"It's hard to say whether it's good or bad going straight into the quarter-finals," said 36-year-old veteran Roy Lamsam, the younger brother of Robyn Lamsam, who won a swimming relay silver and a freestyle bronze medal at the 1994 Hiroshima Asian Games.
"If you win, you will reach the last four to compete for a medal, but it can also be game over immediately after one match.
"And the first match is always the most difficult because mentally you need a little bit of time to get into the swing while our opponents have already had competition experience."
Lamsam said the Twenty20 format, which is being used, was a fast-pace game and the players would not have too much time to hit their straps.
"Nepal will not be easy to handle if we meet them in the first match as they are very capable. We have to approach the match with great caution," he said.
Head coach Charlie Burke expressed confidence about returning with a medal, naming defending champions Bangladesh, Sir Lanka, Afghanistan and Hong Kong as the favourites to reach the semi-finals.
"We beat Bangladesh last time when we played them in the World Twenty20 and obviously they want to get back at us and try to fix that up," said the coach. "Sri Lanka are the world champions in T20 and a strong force."
Burke was not too concerned about losing players owing to their ineligibility because of the lack of a Hong Kong passport.
"We have enough replacements in the squad," he said. "The guys performed really well and now they have the opportunity to step up."