The final fixtures of round six in the ICC World Cricket League Championship are about to get underway as Hong Kong host Nepal, with both teams still in contention for a top-four direct qualification spot to the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier (CWCQ) next year.
The journey to ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 continues as fifth-placed Hong Kong (11 points) will face sixth-placed Nepal (8 points) on October 13 and October 15.
Ahead of the final round of matches, both teams are chasing the fourth spot, which is currently occupied by Kenya with 12 points.
The top four teams from the ICC World Cricket League Championship at the completion of round seven will join Afghanistan, Ireland, the Windies and Zimbabwe in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018.
The bottom four teams will join Canada and Oman in the ICC World Cricket League Division 2 2018 to battle it out for the two remaining CWCQ places.
Hong Kong (39 points) also welcome Afghanistan (81 points) for the four-day ICC Intercontinental Cup fixture, which commences on October 20 as Afghanistan look to reclaim the top spot from Ireland, who lead by eight points.
Hong Kong captain Babar Hayat is looking for full points in the ICC World Cricket League Championship matches.
"We have been training hard in the gym in preparation for the ICC World Cricket League Championship matches and the ICC Intercontinental Cup fixture. There are still six teams vying for four qualification spots, so it is important for us to win both matches against Nepal and get maximum points. We will hope to benefit from home advantage.
"The ICC ICup is a good opportunity for us to play four-day cricket and for the young guys in the squad to perform well. We are very much looking forward to playing against strong competition in Afghanistan."
Nepal captain Paras Khadka, who is not taking anything for granted, said, It is a crucial series for Nepal. As a team we have worked very hard in the last month to be fully prepared to win both games and be in the top four in the standings after round seven. We will look to play high-intensity cricket and are looking forward to facing Hong Kong."
Afghanistan captain, Asghar Stanikzai is pleased to be back playing four-day cricket.
"We are excited to be back playing in the ICC Intercontinental Cup, which will be our first fixture in the competition as a Full Member. The ICC ICup gives us the opportunity to play four-day cricket in a competitive context. We are chasing Ireland at the top of the table and are keen for maximum points to recapture the number one position ahead of round seven."
Hong Kong: Babar Hayat (captain), Mohammad Aizaz Khan, Kyle Mullins Christie, James Atkinson, Tanwir Afzal, Nizakat Khan Mohammad, Christopher Carter, Waqas Khan, Jhathavedh Sankrithi Subramanyan, Anshuman Rath, Shahid Wasif, Tanveer Ahmed, Ehsan Khan, Ehsan Nawaz
Nepal: Paras Khadka (captain), Gyanendra Malla, Sharad Vesawkar, Basant Regmi, Sompal Kami, Binod Bhandari, Sagar Pun, Karan KC, Md. Arif Sheikh, Sandeep Lamichhane, Dipendra Singh Airee, Sushan Bhari, Lalit Bhandari, Sushil Kandel.
Afghanistan: Asghar Stanikzai (captain), Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi, Hashmatullah Shaidi, Rahmat Shah, Javed Ahmadi, Nasir Jamal, Dawlat Zadran, Shabir Noori, Ihsanullah Janat, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Afsar Zazai, Yamin Ahmadzai, Zahir Pakten.