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Six teams in the ICC World Cricket League Division 3 are aiming to take another step in their aim to qualify for 2015 World Cup when the latest tournament begins in Bermuda at the weekend.
Italy, Nepal, Uganda, Oman, USA and hosts Bermuda are the sides taking part with the first three in that list most fancied to have a chance of progressing to the World Cup Qualifier event in New Zealand which will be held in 2014
Italy captain Alessandro Bonora is expecting a hard-fought week. "As a player you know you are going to come up against tough and consistent opposition and it will no doubt be a rarified and exciting week of cricket, I hope I can step up and hit form early in tournament. I hope we all can," he said. "It will be a tremendous honour for all of us to represent Italy and I will be incredibly proud if we can take it a step further to the 2014 qualifiers.
Having finished fourth in WCL Division 3 in 2011 and 10th at the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier in the UAE in 2012, Bonora wants his side to learn from its experiences against the top Associate and Affiliate teams. "In Dubai, we believed we had a hugely competitive team and proved that to a certain extent.
"We were consistent and dangerous but didn't have that explosive edge to cause a killer blow to a really big team. That taught us a number of lessons about ourselves and how really good teams play the game and we will take that knowledge and confidence with us to Bermuda. The next step for us is to turn it up a gear."
Nepal captain Paras Khadka, who has represented Nepal in three Under-19 World Cups - 2004, 2006 and 2008 - said that reaching the World Cup would be a 'dream' for his nation.
"We are really looking forward for the tournament and are preparing ourselves in the best possible manner with the available resources. Each and every player in the team has come through the domestic system and we have devoted lots of time and effort to climb the ICC rankings; certainly, playing in a World Cup is our greatest and only dream."
Having won promotion to WCL Division 3 after winning WCL Division 4 undefeated in 2012, Khadka is confident of his side's capabilities. "We believe that we are good enough to be in the top six Associate countries. So we will push ourselves to the maximum to reach to main qualifier," he said
On Sunday 28 April, Italy will face Oman at St. David's, Uganda will lock horns with host Bermuda at the National Sports Stadium, and Nepal will face USA at Somerset CC.