Singapore's cricketers open their World Cricket League Division 3 (WCL 3) campaign against Malaysia at the Kyambogo Oval in Kampala, Uganda, today.
Although the national team lost a warm-up match against their Causeway rivals by one run in Nairobi, Kenya, last Thursday, the players are in a positive frame as they performed well with both bat and ball.
They have also beaten the Malaysians in recent matches, most notably to claim the annual Saudara Cup and Stan Nagaiah Trophy last November .
"Our batting has been a problem , but I believe we have overcome it," said Singapore captain Chetan Suryawanshi, 31. "In the warm-up matches, all our batsmen produced good scores and have hit top form at the right time."
Last Wednesday, Singapore lost to a Kenya Selection, who had several national players, by 32 runs (Duckworth/Lewis method) in a rain-affected match in Nairobi and on Saturday defeated another Kenya Selection by one run in the Kenyan capital.
"Both our batting and bowling departments are strong and we are well prepared to deal with the Malaysian side," said Singapore's coach Sarika Prasad, 58. "We have to get off to a good start in the tournament and I feel our all-round abilities will take us through."
Batsman and reserve wicket-keeper Kshitij Shinde suffered a back injury in Nairobi and has been replaced in the squad by explosive batsman Surendran Chandramohan.
WORLD CRICKET LEAGUE DIVISION 3
Chetan Suryawanshi (captain), Amjad Mahboob, Anantha Krishna, Anish Paraam, Arjun Mutreja, Chaminda Ruwan, Dharmichand Mulewa, Janak Prakash, Navin Paraam, Parag Dahiwal, Rohan Rangarajan, Surendran Chandramohan, Suresh Appusamy, Vijaya Kumar Selladorre.
Today: Uganda v Canada (Lugogo); Malaysia v Singapore (Kyambogo); US v Oman (Entebbe).
Tomorrow: Canada v Oman (Lugogo); Malaysia v US (Kyambogo); Uganda v Singapore (Entebbe)
Thursday: Rest/Reserve day
Friday: Singapore v US (Lugogo); Uganda v Oman (Kyambogo); Canada v Malaysia (Entebbe)
Saturday: Uganda v Malaysia (Lugogo); Canada v US (Kyambogo); Singapore v Oman (Entebbe)
Sunday: Rest/Reserve day
Monday: Malaysia v Oman (Lugogo); Canada v Singapore (Kyambogo); Uganda v US (Entebbe)
May 30: Final (Lugogo); 3rd-place play-off (Kyambogo); 5th-place play-off (Entebbe).
Malaysia, who are stronger in batting, depend heavily on captain Ahmad Faiz for their runs, while Pakistan-born Khizar Hayat is a wicket-taking off-spinner and hard-hitter.
The Kyambogo Oval traditionally has a flat wicket and it is expected to have some bounce as the capital has been experiencing sunny weather for the past few days.
The match will give a taste of what lies in store at the SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur in August as Singapore and Malaysia are expected to figure in the men's cricket final.
Singapore also face Uganda, the United States, Oman and Canada in the six-nation WCL 3 that ends with the final and other matches to decide placings next Tuesday.
Both the finalists will get promoted to the World Cricket League Division 2, which will get them closer to qualifying for the 2019 World Cup.