10 July 2015
PREVIEW: Hong Kong targets strong start against Jersey
Nepal takes on Namibia with both sides looking to begin Qualifier campaign with victory
In Saturday’s (July 11) first Group A encounter in the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier 2015, Hong Kong takes on Jersey, the tournament debutant, at the Bready Cricket Club in Bready.
With rain being the forecast on Saturday, Hong Kong’s head coach Charlie Burke reiterated the importance of winning the toss. If rain interrupts the match, teams will want to bat second, so as to have a better idea of the Duckworth-Lewis score they will be chasing.
“There is no doubt some luck with the toss and conditions will play a big part in this tournament,” said Burke. “We just need to be aware of it and take our chances when we can.”
Hong Kong has already borne the brunt of the weather with its second warm-up match against Afghanistan being abandoned without a ball being bowled. It had earlier beaten the Netherlands by nine runs in a low-scoring affair in its other warm-up match.
It will be looking for inspiration from its recently-appointed captain Tanwir Afzal, while Irfan Ahmed has been in sizzling form in the warm-up, snaring 2 for 16 in just three overs, as the Asian side gears up for its third appearance in the competition. Hong Kong has won 10 of its 19 appearances across all editions of the tournament and will look to its strong batting line-up to lay a solid foundation against Jersey.
Tournament debutant Jersey suffered mainly due its batting failure in both its warm-up matches. While it was bowled out for a modest 46 in 10.2 overs by Afghanistan in the first match, it failed to chase down a revised 163-run target against Scotland and sank to a 69-run loss via the D/L method.
But Jersey has young, attacking talent in Peter Gough, who will lead a new-look side having recently won the ICC Europe Division 1 T20 title. The form of left-arm spinner Nat Watkins, who claimed 10 wickets in his last five Twenty20 matches, will also be crucial.
Hong Kong: Tanwir Afzal (captain), Irfan Ahmed, Nadeem Ahmed, Haseeb Amjad, Jamie Atkinson, Waqas Barkat, Mark Chapman, Aizaz Khan, Anas Khan, Nizakat Khan, Giacomo Lamplough, Ehsan Nawaz, Babar Hayat, Anshuman Rath, Kinchit Shah.
Jersey: Peter Gough (captain), Corey Bisson, Dom Blampied, Corne Bodenstein, Paul Connolly, Ed Farley, Anthony Kay, Jonty Jenner, Ben Kynman, Tommy Minty, Rhys Palmer, Chuggy Perchard, Callum Rabet, Ben Stevens, Nat Watkins.
Namibia v Nepal
In the second Group A encounter which will take place later in the day, Nepal, led by Paras Khadka, will take on Namibia at the Civil Service Cricket Club in Stormont, Belfast.
Nepal has won 11 of its 19 matches across four editions of the tournament and will be looking for a bright start to this edition. Nepal had to deal with a devastating earthquake that struck the Himalayan nation and threw the team’s preparations out of gear, but then had a training camp in Dharmasala in India.
Nepal has arrived with a strong side, with Khadka boasting a healthy average of 36.11 in 24 T20Is so far. The 15-man squad also comprises the experienced quartet of Subash Khakurel, Shakti Gauchan, Sagar Pun and Sharad Vesawkar.
However, its preparation for the tournament hasn’t been too ideal, with the first warm-up match, against Oman, ending without a result due to rain, followed by a 20-run loss against the United Arab Arab Emirates in the second match.
Namibia too didn’t enjoy much success in the lead-up to the tournament, losing to Scotland and Canada in the warm-ups by six wickets and 74 runs respectively. Although it lost its opening fixture against Ireland, it still has five more chances to chase its first qualification for an ICC World Twenty20.
For Namibia, much will depend on the form of influential captain Nicholas Scholtz, who has featured in 41 T20Is. Scholtz will have plenty of experienced campaigners around him including Louis Klazinga, Raymond van Schoor, Sarel Burger and Gerrie Snyman, apart from some fresher faces like Michau du Preez, Jason Davidson and Chris Coombe.
Namibia will be making its third appearance in the qualifying tournament and is one of six teams in this year’s competition who has not played in ICC World Twenty20, with the others being Canada, Jersey, Namibia, Oman and USA.
Nepal: Paras Khadka (captain), Pradeep Airee, Binod Bhandari, Shakti Gauchan, Sompal Kami, Karan KC, Subash Khakurel, Siddhant Lohani, Gyanendra Malla, Anil Mandal, Jitendra Mukhiya, Rajesh Pulami, Sagar Pun, Basant Regmi, Sharad Vesawkar.
Namibia: Nicholas Scholtz (captain), Stephen Baard, Sarel Burger, Christopher Coombe, Jason Davidson, Michiel Du Preez*, Gerhard Erasmus, Louis Klazinga, JP Kotze, Bernard Scholtz, JJ Smit, Christiaan Snyman, Gerrie Snyman, Raymond van Schoor, Craig Williams.