The Preview by Peter Della Penna in Kampala 204d

What to look for at the WCL Division Three

Cricket, ICC World Cricket League Division T

For the first time in nine years, the World Cricket League is back in East Africa as Uganda plays host to Division Three. Tanzania hosted Division Four in 2008, when Afghanistan were in the midst of progressing through to Division One that eventually paved way for an ODI status.

This time around, the competition feature six teams - Canada, Malaysia, Oman, Singapore Uganda and USA - who have been in the wilderness, hoping to return like prodigal sons back to Division One, where they once belonged.

For Canada, that was as recent as 2014, but Singapore and Malaysia - two countries who were staples of the World Cup Qualifier in the ICC Trophy era since its inception in 1979 throughout the 1980s and 90s - haven't been to the World Cup Qualifier since 2001.

As Uganda captain Davis Karashani told ESPNcricinfo on the eve of the tournament, teams "aren't here to see mountain gorillas, they're here to try and qualify for the next division". Here's a look at the prospects for the tournament with the top-two teams advancing to WCL Division Two.

Uganda (sixth at 2015 WCL Division Two)

Home team advantage has been a massive factor in the WCL. In the current cycle that began in 2009, fifteen out of twenty host teams have been promoted. Six of those promotions have come in the last seven tournaments. On the previous two occasions that Uganda were relegated from Division Two, they bounced straight back with promotion from Division Three, at Bermuda in 2013 and Malaysia in 2014. After suffering relegation two years ago in Namibia, they are hoping to go right back up again.

They dominated a five-match series against WCL Championship side Kenya in the lead-up to the tournament. Uganda's biggest asset is their fielding and catching. Shrewd captain Davis Karashani, an offspinning allrounder, and coach Steve Tikolo form the management team while the heartbeat of the side for the last 15 years is Karashani's fellow offspinning allrounder Frank Nsubuga. The third member of Uganda's spin trio, Henry Ssenyondo, ensures the pressure never lets up.

Uganda also hold the psychological edge over many teams, particularly Singapore after they stole a one-run win at Division Three in 2014. With Singapore needing 16 off three overs and four wickets in hand, Uganda snagged three wickets, including a run out off the final ball with three needed to win. In four career meetings, Uganda has also never lost to USA.

Canada (fifth at 2015 WCL Division Two)

After appearing in three straight World Cups from 2003 to 2011, Canada is attempting to arrest a decline similar to Kenya's. The administration has invested time and money over the last decade. The new generation squad is led by 23-year-old captain Nitish Kumar, with mystery spinning allrounder Nikhil Dutta and hard-hitting wicketkeeper Hamza Tariq forming the bedrock.

The focus on blooding youth is also evident in 17-year-old opening batsman Bhavindu Adhihetty's selection. However, Canada's selectors are hoping the return of former captains Rizwan Cheema and Jimmy Hansra after some time out of the side will provide the side with the requisite experience to get them through the pressure and intensity of the tournament.

Malaysia (third place at 2014 WCL Division Three)

Malaysia don't invoke fear, their depth isn't quite the same as some of the others in the group but they have shown the capability to pounce on any team that underestimates them, such as Afghanistan in 2014. Captain Ahmad Faiz is their batting anchor at No. 3 while allrounder Khizar Hayat provides support in the middle order.

Leading into the tournament, Malaysia was hammered at the Asian Cricket Council Emerging Teams Cup. But one of the few to emerge with credit was medium pacer Derek Duraisingam, who took 4 for 50 against Afghanistan and 3 for 52 against Sri Lanka. Malaysia will be depending heavily on him to get breakthroughs with the new ball.

Singapore (fourth place at 2014 WCL Division Three)

Singapore has always been talented but somehow manage to find themselves on the outside looking in on promotion. A crowd riot on the last day of the 2010 Division Five match between USA and Nepal in Kathmandu resulted in a DL adjusted target that helped the hosts stay above Singapore on net run-rate. Then in Malaysia, in the Division Three in 2014, a one-run loss to Uganda got in the way of promotion.

Wicketkeeper Chetan Suryawanshi is their wildcard at the top of the batting order while Anish Paraam maintains balance in the middle. The unavailability of star 21-year-old Abhiraj Singh, who is currently attending Durham MCC University, is a setback for Singapore.

USA (first place at 2016 WCL Division Four)

USA has stumbled in each of their three attempts at Division Three. They defeated eventual champions Hong Kong by seven wickets in 2011, only to be bowled out for 44 by Papua New Guinea three days later on the way to relegation. In 2014, Jermaine Lawson ripped through Nepal's top order before rain forced a restart on the reserve day. Lawson missed the replay due to injury and Nepal prevailed by nine wickets on the way to promotion.

Before this tournament, two preparation camps were held in Houston in March and April. The team also travelled to Potchefstroom for additional warm-up games.

A shaky middle order has been shored up by the addition of two former first-class players from India and Windward Islands, Ibrahim Khaleel and Camilus Alexander, respectively. Left-arm spinning allrounder Mrunal Patel was recalled after a strong show in the Southern California Cricket Association, where he finished as the leading scorer in 2016.

Oman (second place at 2016 WCL Division Four)

Oman gained twin promotions at Division Five and Four last year and then began 2017 with a semi-final appearance at the inaugural Desert T20.

After not being part of both WCL events last year, wicketkeeper Sultan Ahmed will return to lead Oman. Fast bowler Munis Ansari struggled at Division Four and was dropped for the Desert T20, but was recalled to partner Bilal Khan, who clocked speeds close to 140 kph in the Desert T20, with the new ball.