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Cricket Hong Kong

He played for Hong Kong, now he coaches Netherlands ... and Ryan Campbell’s old team need a favour

The Dutch cannot lose their one-day status even if they stumble against Hong Kong, so he may fill his squad with young players to give them experience

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 14 March, 2018, 7:53pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 14 March, 2018, 10:49pm

Hong Kong will be hoping for a favour from their former player Ryan Campbell when they face the Netherlands in an ICC World Cup qualifier on Thursday, knowing that a defeat would mean relegation from the World Cricket League’s top division and the loss of their one-day status.

Defeat by Nepal in their final group B match on Monday meant Hong Kong failed to reach the Super Six phase, while victory would have ensured they kept their place in the top one-day league for associate members.

They now face a must-win play-off clash against the Netherlands – who are already part of a global 13-nation elite one-day competition so are immune from relegation in this tournament, although their failure to reach the Super Six means they lose out on the chance to qualify for next year’s World Cup.

Campbell, Hong Kong’s batting coach and player before he became head coach of the Netherlands in 2017, said after his team’s loss to West Indies in group A that he might field some younger players for the game at the Kwekwe Sports Club ground in Zimbabwe.

“I’ve said all long that we want to keep giving opportunities to younger players,” said Campbell. “We’ve got to get games into them. Some of our senior players have gone okay but others have been disappointing as well but we will make the most of those play-off games to get something out of them, and that something is getting experience for our younger players.”

Hong Kong, at their best, don’t actually need favours from the Netherlands but such is their desperate situation, they require all the help they can get. Defeat would send Hong Kong to certain relegation and a final game against either Papua New Guinea or Nepal to avoid last place.

Victory over the Netherlands, however, would only be the first step in their bid to rescue their one-day status. They would then need to beat the winners of the Nepal-PNG game because, of the four bottom teams in the tournament, two must go down and it can't be the Netherlands.

“We trained well this morning and look forward to the game. It is a must-win game, there’s no doubts about it. There’s no option for the guys and they know that and are aware of it,” said Hong Kong coach Simon Cook.

“We don’t want to put too much pressure on them but they are fully aware of the importance of the game.”

Hong Kong won just one match in their five-team pool, beating Afghanistan but suffering defeats by Scotland, Zimbabwe and Nepal.

Zimbabwe and Scotland tied in their final pool game to share the spoils in group B and reach the Super Six along with Afghanistan.

The Afghans were indebted to Nepal for their place in the last six after the Nepalese beat Hong Kong. As thanks, their skipper Asghar Stanizkai presented Nepal batsman Rohit Kumar – who helped his team across the line against Hong Kong – with a bat.

West Indies, Ireland and United Arab Emirates advanced to the Super Six from group A ahead of Netherlands and Papua New Guinea.