Singapore confident with home advantage
Six teams start their next step towards the 2015 World Cup on Saturday, as the ICC World Cricket League Division 6 gets underway in Singapore. The diverse nations of Bahrain, Botswana, Malaysia, Guernsey, Norway and Singapore will compete for the two places to gain promotion to Division 5, which is due to be held in Nepal in February 2010.
Former Test players Trevor Chappell and Mohsin Kamal are among the coaches who have high hopes for their teams, and elite umpire Simon Taufel will stand during the tournament. Chappell, the former Australia player, is coach of hosts and tournament favourites Singapore, and is positive about his team's chances.
"I think we're fairly confident for this event, particularly since we're the home side," he said. "However, we can't underestimate our opposition. We only really know Malaysia as a team, and we had a look at Guernsey during its warm-up match, but we've got to concentrate on our strengths, one of which is knowing the conditions for playing here in Singapore. We have a strong batting line-up and I feel our bowlers have the ability to do well here."
Bahrain, who won WCL Division 7, are also confident of success, and their coach, Kamal, has a good feeling ahead of the tournament.
"We've had a good two and half months since winning the last event in Guernsey and we've come here with only two changes to the tournament-winning side from Division 7," said Kamal, the former Pakistan bowler.
"There are some good teams here, but we're only aware of Guernsey who we played in Division 7 so all the other matches will be new to us, but we're confident we can make the grade and win promotion to the next division."
The recent achievements of Afghanistan will be heights that these lesser-known cricketing nations can aspire to. They gained ODI status for four years after this year's World Cup qualifiers, and beat Netherlands in the ICC Intercontinental Cup this week at Amstelveen.
Taufel will be one of nine umpires officiating at the event, which will be overseen by match referee Brian Aldridge. The games are to be hosted on three grounds - Kalang, Singapore Cricket Club and the Indian Association.