Denmark, Nepal and Papua New Guinea will be the teams that could give them a run for their money
The ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier UAE 2013 (WT20Q) will see 16 teams from around the globe compete for six qualification spots to the ICC World Twenty20 Bangladesh 2014, and Group B of the WT20Q contains two of the teams that have enjoyed success in 2013 – Afghanistan and The Netherlands.
At the previous WT20Q, held in March 2012, Ireland and Afghanistan captured the two qualification spots for the ICC World Twenty20 Sri Lanka 2012. While Ireland is in Group A of the WT20Q 2013, Afghanistan is placed alongside Bermuda, Denmark, The Netherlands, Nepal, Kenya, Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Scotland in Group B.
Afghanistan has enjoyed a very strong preparation for the event, including qualification for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 after finishing second in the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Championship (WCL Championship), and reaching the final of the four-day, first-class ICC Intercontinental Cup, to be played in December. Captain Mohammad Nabi has been instrumental in Afghanistan’s rise in international cricket, the all-rounder currently has 179 T20I runs to his name and 15 T20I wickets.
Nawroz Mangal, who played an important role in leading Afghanistan to victory in the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier 2010 final against Ireland by picking up three for 23, will be an important part of the current squad. Another player to look out for is, Noor Ali Zadran, who was part of Afghanistan’s ACC Twenty20 2013-winning team, and scored a 50 off 48 balls against India in Afghanistan’s inaugural game at the ICC World Twenty20 2010.
Senior players like Mirwais Ashraf, Karim Sadiq and Shapor Zadran are all part of the line-up as Afghanistan bids for a third successive ICC World Twenty20 appearance.
The Netherlands has also enjoyed a good lead up to the event, finishing fourth in the WCL Championship. While the side will be without one of its key players – Ryan ten Doeschate, the ICC Associate and Affiliate Player of the Year in 2008, 2010 and 2011 – it contains a number of names to watch out for, including all-rounder Daan van Bunge, who has played 37 One-Day Internationals and 12 T20Is. Van Bunge’s claim to fame was during the 2003 Cricket World Cup, where he not just scored runs, but also picked up wickets. He also entered the record books when he scored a 38-ball century – the fastest in the history of MCC Young Cricketers.
Elsewhere, Scotland, which recently finished third in the ICC Intercontinental Cup, will be without vice-captain Preston Mommsen, who has been ruled out of the WT20Q with a pelvic injury. He will be replaced by wicketkeeper-batsman Craig Wallace, who was part of Scotland’s qualifying campaign last year.
Scotland will benefit from the experience of ICC World Twenty20 2009-winning former England captain Paul Collingwood, who is its assistant coach. Richie Berrington will be one of Scotland’s key players given that he scored a 56-ball 100 last year against Bangladesh, and has the experience of 29 ODIs and 17 T20Is. Kyle Coetzer’s average of 47.85 in ODIs and 27.20 in T20Is are validation for the impact he will have on Scotland’s fortunes.
Janeiro Tucker has been named captain of Bermuda, which last qualified for a global tournament in 2007, when it made the main draw of the ICC Cricket World Cup. He played a full part in Bermuda’s campaign in the ICC Trophy in 2005, when he averaged 46.40 and picked up seven wickets. The 38-year-old will be joined by David Hemp, the former Glamorgan and Warwickshire batsman, who will be expected to be a key member of Bermuda’s campaign. Hemp has a truckload of experience; he has scored more than 15,000 runs in first-class cricket.
Kenya’s campaign to qualify for the ICC World Twenty20 Bangladesh 2014 has seen 42-year-old Steve Tikolo come out of retirement. Tikolo last represented Kenya two and a half years ago during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 against Zimbabwe. He has played 11 T20Is and 134 ODIs, in which he has scored 260 runs at 32.50, and 3,421 runs at 28.99 respectively, which makes him a key player. Kenya has also recalled Thomas Odoyo, who last played a T20I in 2008.
Kenya hasn’t qualified for an ICC World Twenty20 tournament since its maiden appearance in 2007, and will hope to turn that trend around this year.
PNG travelled to New Zealand for the EAP Championship earlier this year and defeated Vanuatu in the final, having been unbeaten in the group stages, to become the only team from the EAP region to advance to the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier 2013. PNG will be boosted by the presence of Geraint Jones, a former England wicketkeeper, who has been named in the team. He has played 39 Test and 49 ODIs for England at an average of 23.91and 24.69 respectively.
Denmark last competed in the ICC WT20 Qualifier back in 2009, when it finished last. This year it will hope to make amends to that status with a chance to qualify for the ICC World Twenty20 2014. Michael Pedersen, the captain, would look to lead from the front in Denmark’s bid to qualify for global cricket’s most exciting event.
Nepal will be among the other teams in Group B to fight for a place in the main draw after having finished second to Afghanistan in the ACC Twenty20 Cup 2013. Paras Khadka, the captain, will play an important role in their campaign after having been instrumental in helping Nepal qualify and being named the player of the tournament.
Group B squads
Afghanistan: Mohammad Nabi, Merwais Ashraf, Hamid Hassan, Amir Hamza Hotak, Afsar Khan, Nawroz Mangal, Gulbadin Naib, Mohammad Shahzad, Shafiqullah Shafaq, Karim Sadiq, Samiullah Shinwari, Najeebullah Zadran, Shapor Zadran, Dawlat Khan Zadran, Noor Ali Zadran.
Bermuda: Janeiro Tucker, Kamal Bashir, Derrick Brangman, Christian Burgess, Lionel Cann, Allan Douglas II, Christopher Douglas, Terryn Fray, David Hemp, Malachi Jones, Kamau Leverock, Tre Manders, Jacobi Robinson, Dion Stovell, Kwame Tucker.
Denmark: Michael Pedersen, Aftab Ahmed, Christo Botma, Basit Javed, Carsten Pedersen, Yasir Iqbal, Frederik Klokker, Pawan Kumar, Kamran Mahmood, Rizwan Mahmood, Jakob Rubin, Kasper Rubin, Bashir Shah, Hamid Shah.
Kenya: Collins Obuya, Ragheb Aga, Duncan Allan, Dhiren Gondaria, Irfan Karim, Shem Ngoche, Alex Obanda, Thomas Odoyo, Nehemiah Odhiambo, Nelson Odhiambo, Elijah Otieno, Morris Ouma, Rakep Patel, Steve Tikolo, Hiren Varaiya.
Nepal: Paras Khadka, Pradeep Airee, Binod Bhandari, Amrit Bhattarai, Mahesh Chhetri, Shakti Gauchan, Subash Khakurel, Avinash Karn, Gyanendra Malla, Anil Mandal, Jitendra Mukhiya, Sagar Pun, Basant Regmi, Sharad Vesawkar, Rahul Vishwakarma.
The Netherlands: Peter Borren, Wesley Barresi, Mudassar Bukhari, Daan van Bunge, Atse Buurman, Ben Cooper, Tim Gruijters, Vivian Kingma, Ahsan Malik, Paul van Meekeren, Stephan Myburgh, Michael Rippon, Pieter Seelaar, Michael Swart, Eric Szwarczynski.
Papua New Guinea: Chris Amini, Charles Amini, Mahuru Dai, Willie Gavera, Andrew Hicks, Geraint Jones, Chris Kent, Van Vagi Morea, Kila Pala, Pipi Raho, John Reva, Assad Vala, Norman Vanua, Jack Vare , Tony Ura.
Scotland: Kyle Coetzer, Richie Berrington, Neil Carter, Matty Cross, Gordon Goudie, Majid Haq, Moneeb Iqbal, Michael Leask, Matt Machan, Calum MacLeod, David Murphy, Safyaan Sharif, Rob Taylor, Craig Wallace, Iain Wardlaw.