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10 July 201513:25

Hong Kong Coach Charlie Burke & Skipper Tanwir Afzal Eyeing on Top of the Group

"I really hope the conditions don’t dictate the best six however I have a feeling it will,” says Burke

Hong Kong Coach Charlie Burke & Skipper Tanwir Afzal Eyeing on Top of the Group - Cricket News

Hong Kong has felt the brunt of the weather with their final warm-up match against Afghanistan being abandoned without a ball being bowled.

The toss will play an important part in Hong Kong’s campaign to book a passage to India for the ICC World Twenty20 next year and new captain Tanwir Afzal will be hoping it will be ‘heads I win’ when the 14-team qualifier gets underway for his team tomorrow (Saturday).

With rain being forecast for Hong Kong’s opening two group A matches in Ireland against Jersey tomorrow and Papua New Guinea on Monday, head coach Charlie Burke will be watching anxiously how the penny drops as Hong Kong bids to win one of six berths to India.

“There is no doubt some luck with the toss and conditions will play a big part in this tournament,” Burke said. “We just need to be aware of it and take our chances when we can. I really hope the conditions don’t dictate the best six however I have a feeling it will.”

Duckworth-Lewis is bound to play a huge part in the results with teams winning the toss bound to put the opposition in and batting last so as to chase a target with reduced overs and all 10 wickets in hand.

Already Hong Kong has felt the brunt of the weather with their final warm-up match against Afghanistan being abandoned without a ball being bowled. Hong Kong had earlier beaten a strong Netherlands outfit by nine runs in a low-scoring affair.

“It was disappointing not to get the final hit-out. We have built on each game and we were ready to polish off a few things,” Burke said. “ Selection is tough with 15 players in the mix.

“We will have a close look at some players in our final full training session as well as look at the ground and expected conditions before naming our final XI,” Burke added.

Ex-captain Jamie Atkinson who suffered a freak accident and injured his foot before the team left home has still not fully recovered and will miss the first few matches.

“Jamie is probably only a 50 per cent chance at this stage. We will pick guys that have performed (in the build-up) and have a clear role to play.”

Apart from Jersey and PNG, the other teams in Hong Kong’s group are favourites Ireland, Nepal, Namibia and the United States. Group B comprises Afghanistan, Netherlands, Scotland, United Arab Emirates, Canada, Kenya and Oman.

The tournament which began yesterday (9 July) will last 18 days and comprise 51 matches. After an initial round robin competition the top team in each group automatically qualifies. The second and third-placed teams play crossover matches with the winners also qualifying. The losers will get another chance to qualify if they beat the fourth-placed team in the opposite group.

So Hong Kong’s first target will be to finish in the top four in their group. But Burke and skipper Afzal will be eyeing that number one slot. But luck is bound to play a role and a lot will depend on the toss.

Hong Kong Squad:
1) Tanwir Afzal [Captain]
2) Mark Chapman [Vice Captain]
3) Aizaz Khan
4) Anas Khan
5) Anshuman Rath
6) Babar Hayat
7) Ehsan Nawaz
8) Giacomo Lamplough (replacing Waqas Barkat)
9) Haseeb Amjad
10) Irfan Ahmed
11) Jamie Atkinson [Wicket keeper]
12) Kinchit Shah
13) Nadeem Ahmed
14) Nizakat Khan
15) Waqas Khan

Officials
Charlie Burke – Head Coach
Jawaid Iqbal - Assistant Coach
Chris Pickett - Team Analyst
Simon Cook - Bowling Coach
Alex Chan – Physiotherapist