The six captains participating in Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division 3 (WCL Div.3) spoke about their sides' chances in the tournament on Wednesday, with the tournament getting underway in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Thursday.
The tournament sees Bermuda, Nepal, Singapore, Uganda, USA and host Malaysia lock horns in the eight-day, round robin tournament. The final and the play-offs will be played on Thursday, 30 October, with the finalists progressing to Pepsi ICC WCL Div.2, which will take place in Namibia from 17 to 24 January 2015.
The opening day of the tournament will see three matches played, with defending champion Nepal taking on last event's finalist Uganda at Kinrara, USA squaring off against Bermuda at Bayeumas, and host Malaysia facing off against neighbour Singapore at Selangor Turf Club.
Nepal captain Paras Khadka said that all the sides taking part in the event were equally matched, and that his side will take one step at a time. "I would say that all teams are here to progress into Division 2, so we want to take one match at a time. More than rivalry, I think that each team is eagerly waiting to outdo the others. I think it is a great opportunity for us, we played Division 3 last year as well, so it is an exciting challenge.
"We need to play well, it is as simple as that. There are a lot of good teams out here, and in cricket you can't take it easy. So, you have to play to your strengths. If we do that, the results should be positive for us," said the 26-year-old right-handed batsman.
Previewing his side's first match, Uganda captain Frank Nsubugo said: "I think the match is going to be a tough one. We've played Nepal three times, so we know it is a tough team to play, and we are looking forward to coming tomorrow and playing hard."
USA finished third in the 2013 edition of the tournament, losing to regional rival Bermuda in a group match before defeating it in the play-off match.
Looking ahead to the first-day clash against Bermuda, USA captain Steve Massiah said: "This is a different tournament. Obviously, that defeat against Bermuda still hurts us, but we've moved on, made a few changes and brought in a number of talented young players. We've combined that equally with some experienced guys. Obviously this tournament is an opportunity for us to progress."
Bermuda skipper Janeiro Tucker felt his side was in a good position to take on the USA again. "I think it's a different scenario this time, when you look at both teams – the USA and us. We've got a nucleus of different players, but we are still going to play it hard. We'll still go ahead and prepare as usual, and hopefully we come up with the right result," he remarked.
Looking ahead to his side's match against Singapore, Malaysia captain Ahmad Faiz said: "It is normal whenever we participate in an ICC event that we want to move forward. Basically, our plan is always to go for the win, so perhaps this tournament will enhance our standards, and we will go all the way."
Singapore captain Saad Janjua said his side must bring its best performance for each match, not just the first. "Bermuda and Uganda are new teams for us. All the other teams, we have played together before, and we know each other's strong areas. I hope that we will give our best. It all depends on the match day and how the teams will perform. We are looking forward to the tournament."Tournament schedule: