ICC CWC 2015 trio Afghanistan, Scotland and UAE among leading lights
Preston Mommsen’s men will approach the qualification tournament for ICC World Twenty20 India 2016 in high spirits having defeated fellow co-host Ireland 2-0 in a friendly series last week and are buoyed by the inclusion of the experienced Kyle Coetzer. Much will depend on the prolific skills of all-rounder Josh Davey, while Craig Wallace has also been included in the squad along with hard-hitting George Munsey as the Scots bid to win the title for the first time.
The UAE, for its part, will be led once more by Mohammad Tauqir but will undoubtedly miss the experience of Khurram Khan who has ended his 14-year career. However this will provide ample opportunity for some of the young guns to shine, and Tauqir can also call on familiar heads such as Amjad Javed and Shaiman Anwar for the tournament while the seam attack is likely to be headed by Mohammad Naveed and left arm paceman Manjula Guruge.
The second game of the opening day’s double-header promises to a mouth-watering encounter when Afghanistan, who impressed during ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, face the Netherlands who will be gunning to qualify for next year’s competition in India. Afghanistan also has a new leader in Asghar Stanikzai who takes over from Mohammad Nabi. Afghanistan, who won the 2010 competition, will be aiming to build on the experience gained in Australia and New Zealand earlier this year and are amongst the leading contenders to claim back the title.
For the Netherlands, this competition presents an opportunity to secure a passage to India and a lot will depend on reliable skipper Peter Borren who has 45 appearances under his belt in this format. Wesley Barresi and Ben Cooper will provide a lot of experience, while medium pacer Mudassar Bukhari, on 33 wickets, is one scalp shy of becoming the leading wicket-taker in the tournament’s history. The Dutch have never won the qualifier outright but shared the 2008 crown with Ireland and will therefore be keen to go one step further this month.
Canada will face Kenya the following day () and the north Americans, who have participated in all five competitions, will bank on the experience of all-rounder Rizwan Cheema who leads the side following its victory in the ICC Americas Division 1 T20 title. Canada includes, once more, veteran seamer Khurram Chohan and batting all-rounder Saad Bin Zafar as well as exciting youngster Nitish Kumar and will be bidding to reach the World T20 next year for the first time.
For Kenya, the challenge will be to adapt to the shortest format of the game having convincingly swept past UAE in the four-day Intercontinental Cup recently. Wicket-keeper Irfan Karim and skipper Rakep Patel offer strength in its middle order and if the batsmen click, bolstered by left-arm spinning all-rounder Shem Ngoche, it could make for some long sessions for opposing bowlers. Shem’s brother James, a right arm off spinner, has also been in good form of late in the longer format and boasts an effective economy rate. Kenya’s record in qualification matches to date stands at 11 wins in 24 games.
Oman, meanwhile, will be looking to claim some scalps in this tournament but faces a daunting task in such a strong group. Led by Sultan Ahmed, the Asians will look to left arm spinner Ajay Lalcheta and Munis Ansari to steer the bowling attack, while Jatinder Singh is a positive batsman at the top of the order. Oman opens its account against Kenya in Myreside, Edinburgh on Saturday, 11 July.
The top six sides from the 18-day tournament, during which 51 matches will be played, will join the 10 Full Members for the ICC World Twenty20 India 2016, which will be held from 11 March to 3 April 2016.
For ICC World T20 Qualifier fixture information, click HERE
The two groups are:
|Group A||Group B|
|A1 – Ireland||B1 - Afghanistan|
|A2 – Nepal||B2 – UAE|
|A3 – Hong Kong||B3 – Netherlands|
|A4 – PNG||B4 – Scotland|
|A5 – Namibia||B5 – Canada|
|A6 – USA||B6 – Kenya|
|A7 – Jersey||B7 – Oman|