Neil MacRae: Jersey coach says T20 warm-ups were 'morale-boost'

By James LawBBC Sport
Neil MacRae
Former Scotland and Austria coach Neil MacRae has been in charge of Jersey since December 2013

Jersey coach Neil MacRae has said Twenty20 warm-ups against the United Arab Emirates and Kenya have been a "great morale-booster" for his side.

The islanders were beaten by the UAE at Hampshire's Ageas Bowl but rallied to beat Kenya by four runs on Monday.

They are preparing for the global qualifying tournament for next year's ICC World Twenty20, with their first game against Hong Kong on 11 July.

"It was a great morale-booster and huge for confidence," MacRae told BBC Sport.

"In the eyes of the ICC we're definitely punching above our weight but we think we've got an exciting young team that's improving rapidly."

ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier Group A
Hong Kong
Papua New Guinea
Full fixtures

Jersey only became an international cricketing nation in 2005 and reached the world qualifier by winning the European Division One Twenty20 event in May.

The tournament will be held in Ireland from 9-19 July, with MacRae's side due to play further warm-up matches against Afghanistan and Scotland in Edinburgh next week.

Ben Stephens top-scored for Jersey with 62 against Kenya while Matt Watkins made 61 runs in vain against the UAE.

"All down the batting order we've looked aggressive," MacRae added. "We've chipped in, put runs on the board and put in a much improved bowling display as well.

"We've come up to a level where we can clearly be competitive against this standard of side, so it's a really exciting time for us to go and take on more associate teams in the coming weeks."