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08 July 201512:19

Looking Back: ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier 2012

Ireland turned the tables on Afghanistan in the final, but both teams made it through to the ICC World Twenty20 2012

Looking Back: ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier 2012 - Cricket News

DUBAI , UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - MARCH 24: Ireland congratulate Boyd Rankin on clean bowling Karim Sadiq of Afghanistan for 16 during the ICC World Twenty20 qualifier final between Ireland and Afghanistan at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on March 24, 2012 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Ian Jacobs/Getty Images)

The ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier for spots in the 2012 edition of the ICC World Twenty20 was played in the UAE between March 13 andMarch 24 that year between ten teams from the regional T20 qualifiers, along with the six teams with limited-overs status.

Format
This tournament had the 16 teams divided into two groups of eight each. The top team from the two groups met in the first qualifying final, with the winner guaranteed a place in the World T20, held in Sri Lanka. The loser of that match played the second qualifying final against the winner of a series of playoff matches. The winners of the two qualifying finals then met in the final. A massive 72 games in total were played over the 12-day period.

Group Stages
Afghanistan, the Netherlands, Canada, Papua New Guinea, Nepal, Hong Kong, Bermuda and Denmark were placed in Group A, while Ireland, Scotland, Namibia, Kenya, Italy, USA, Uganda and Oman formed Group B.

In Group A, Afghanistan, the 2010 champion, won all its matches to finish No. 1 on the table, while the Netherlands and Canada were placed second and third respectively. The top three teams qualified for the playoffs for the first to sixth places.

The surprise in Group B was Namibia winning all seven of its games to finish on top of the table, with Ireland slotting in at No. 2 – its only loss coming again Namibia – and Scotland at No. 3. Those three teams joined Afghanistan, Netherlands and Canada in the playoffs.

Knockouts/Playoffs
Oman beat Denmark by 17 runs in the first of the playoffs, for the 15th place.

The playoffs for the 11th to 14th places saw Hong Kong topping USA, with Bermuda and Uganda bringing up the rear.

Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Kenya and Italy finished seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth respectively after their playoffs.

Scotland beat Canada to finish fifth in their playoff after losing to Netherlands and Ireland respectively in the Elimination Playoffs. In the Qualifying Final 1, Afghanistan beat Namibia, while Ireland beat Netherlands in the Elimination Semi-Final, and then Namibia in the Qualifying Final 2, to book a date with Afghanistan in the tournament final.



Finals
If Afghanistan got the better of Ireland in the final of the previous edition, it was Ireland’s turn to exact revenge this time. Mohammad Shahzad, again, was Afghanistan’s batting star as it totalled 152 for 7 in its 20 overs, Shahzad leading the way with a 57-ball 77. The second best for the innings was Gulbadin Naib’s 17 not out, underscoring Shahzad’s dominance. But Paul Stirling went one better than Shahzad, scoring a 38-ball 79 at the top of the Irish innings, and with Gary Wilson (32) and Andrew Poynter (23 not out) chipping in, Ireland reached the target in 18.5 overs for a five-wicket win.

Top 3 Standout Individual Performances
Alexei Kervezee: 58* in 43 balls for Netherlands v Afghanistan
Afghanistan was the better team, and expected to win. It did, but Kervezee’s rollicking innings, where he hit three sixes, almost ensured an upset win for the Netherlands. Kervezee’s efforts took Netherlands to 149 for 6, and it took the best of Mohammad Shahzad – 54 in 44 balls – to take Afghanistan over the line with just two balls left.

Louis van der Westhuizen: 34 in 16 balls & 2-37 for Namibia v Ireland
Namibia, one-time World Cuppers with an appearance in the 2003 event, was the underdog against Ireland, the eventual champion, but on the day, rode on Westhuizen’s all-round starrer to pull off a four-run win. Westhuizen first top-scored with 34 in Namibia’s 160 for 8, and then sent back Gary Wilson and Trent Johnston to thwart the Irish chase.



Paul Stirling: 59* in 32 balls for Ireland v Namibia
This one stands out mainly because it helped Ireland exact revenge for the group-stage loss and gave the team confidence ahead of the final against Afghanistan. Batting first, Namibia just couldn’t get going, and stuttered to 94 for 6. And then it was over to Stirling, who hit nine fours and a six in his 32-ball blitz, scoring an unbeaten 59 to take Ireland to a nine-wicket win, which was sealed in just 41 balls.

The Top Three Matches
Namibia v Ireland – Group B
This was on the first day of Group B action and it couldn’t have gotten off to a more exciting start, with Namibia getting the better of the 2010 finalist. Louis van der Westhuizen was the star for Namibia, first scoring 34 in 16 balls and then picking up two wickets, as Ireland went all the way down to the wire before falling short. Namibia scored 160 for 8, a big total, and though Ireland chased well, with Gary Wilson top-scoring with 49 in 32 balls, the game ended in Namibia’s favour by just four runs.

Papua New Guinea v Nepal – Seventh-place Playoff
Paras Khadka and Shakti Gauchan, the two best-known Nepal cricketers, had to be at their best to silence the challenge of Papua New Guinea. Batting first, PNG scored 129 for 5, with Gauchan returning 2 for 20 from his four overs. Nepal didn’t lose too many wickets, but it couldn’t give the innings the momentum it needed, finally going over the line with one ball left in its chase – Khadka the hero with an unbeaten 62 from 43 balls.

Canada v Scotland – Fifth-place Playoff
You’d expect Scotland not to have too many problems knocking off the 136-run target Canada had set, but this was a rejuvenated Canada, one that wanted to fight all the way. Richie Berrington, who had earlier returned 2 for 14 from two overs, played a steady hand at the top for Scotland, scoring 47 in 37 balls, but the innings stuttered. Scotland eventually scraped home by four wickets, with the winning runs coming off the last ball of its innings.

Top Three Batsmen
Paul Stirling (Ireland): Games 11, Runs 357, HS 79, Avg 44.62, SR 157.26.
Mohammad Shahzad (Afghanistan): Games 9, Runs 352, HS 77, Avg 50.28, SR 127.07.
Jamie Atkinson (Hong Kong): Games 8, Runs 345, HS 87*, Avg 49.28, SR 149.35.

Top Three Bowlers
Dawlat Zadran (Afghanistan): Games 7, Wickets 17, Best 5-14, Avg 7.88, ER 5.12.
Majid Haq (Scotland): Games 9, Wickets 17, Best 3-12, Avg 11.52, ER 5.49.
Shakti Gauchan (Nepal): Games 9, Wickets 16, Best 4-20, Avg 11.18, ER 4.97