09 July 2015
PREVIEW: Reinforced Ireland has edge over Namibia
Nepal targets winning start against United States of America
8 July 2015; The Irish launch of the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier that is being co-hosted by Ireland and Scotland from July 9 - 26. Ireland's first game is on July 10th in Stormont, Belfast. The captains are pictured with the ICC World Twenty20 Trophy for India 2016 that 6 teams will qualify for from the Qualifier in Ireland and Scotland. In attendance at the launch are captains of the competing teams, from left, Jack Vare, Papua New Guinea, Muhammad Ghouss, USA, Peter Gough, Jersey, William Por
Ireland v Namibia
In the first Group A encounter of the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier 2015 on Friday (July 10), Namibia will lock horns with Ireland, the winner of the 2013 edition, at the Civil Service Cricket Club in Stormont, Belfast.
Ireland has not had the best of preparation coming into the tournament, with its first warm-up fixture against the United Arab Emirates beinf washed out without a ball bowled and the second game too ending without a result due to rain after the hosts had bowled out Oman for just 91.
But though rain robbed Ireland of last-minute match practice, the recently concluded four-match T20I series against Scotland in June - which Ireland lost 0-2 -- would have given its players a good feel of already familiar conditions. The team will be buoyed by the presence of some key players, namely Paul Stirling, Gary Wilson, Niall O’Brien and William Porterfield, who have recently played in English county cricket.
Home advantage apart, the experience of playing and winning the tournament twice, in 2012 and 2013, will help the players cope with the expectations of their fans.
Tyrone Kane, the right-arm pacer, will be looking to maintain his excellent run of form at club and provincial level for Leinster Lightning and George Dockrell, who has bagged 31 wickets in the tournament over the years, will be eyeing the record held by Majid Haq, the Scotland spinner who has 34 scalps to his name.
Namibia didn’t enjoy much success in the lead-up to the tournament, losing to co-host Scotland and Canada in the warm-ups by six wickets and 74 runs respectively. The African challenger will bank on Nicholas Scholtz, its experienced captain, to boost its chances of qualifying for the ICC World T20 2016 to be held in India.
Namibia will be making its third appearance in the qualifying tournament and is one of six teams in this year’s competition that has not played in the main competition, the others being Canada, Jersey, Papua New Guinea, Oman and the United States of America.
Ireland: William Porterfield (captain), Andrew Balbirnie, Alex Cusack, George Dockrell, Tyrone Kane, Andrew McBrine, Graeme McCarter, John Mooney, Kevin O’Brien, Niall O’Brien, Stuart Poynter, Paul Stirling, Stuart Thompson, Gary Wilson, Craig Young
Namibia: Nicholas Scholtz (captain), Stephen Baard, Sarel Burger, Christopher Coombe, Jason Davidson, Michiel Du Preez*, Gerhard Erasmus, Louis Klazinga, JP Kotze, Bernard Scholtz, JJ Smit, Christiaan Snyman, Gerrie Snyman, Raymond van Schoor, Craig Williams
Nepal v USA
In the second Group A encounter later in the day at the same venue, Nepal, led by Paras Khadka, will take on USA in the fifth match of tournament.
Nepal has arrived with a strong side, with Khadka boasting a healthy average of 36.11 in his 24 T20Is so far. The 15-man squad also comprises the experienced quartet of Subash Khakurel, Shakti Gauchan, Sagar Pun and Sharad Vesawkar.
Till date, Nepal has won 11 of its 19 matches across all competitions and will be looking for a bright start to the tournament after a challenging period led to its players training in Dharamsala in India after a devastating earthquake struck the Himalayan nation.
USA, on the other hand, will be aiming to get off to a good start in the competition, in which it has featured twice previously. The North American team suffered a setback when Steven Taylor, the wicketkeeper-batsman, was declared unavailable, and will now look to Shiva Vashishat, the former Under-19 captain, and fellow newcomer Alex Amsterdam to make an impact after qualifying as runner-up behind Canada in the ICC Americas Division 1 qualification tournament in May.
Led by Muhammad Ghous, whose offspin has yielded 12 wickets in 15 matches so far, USA will look to Naseer Jamali, the left-arm pacer, to spearhead the bowling attack.
Nepal: Paras Khadka (captain), Pradeep Airee, Binod Bhandari, Shakti Gauchan, Sompal Kami, Karan KC, Subash Khakurel, Siddhant Lohani, Gyanendra Malla, Anil Mandal, Jitendra Mukhiya, Rajesh Pulami, Sagar Pun, Basant Regmi, Sharad Vesawkar
USA: Muhammad Ghous (captain), Alex Amsterdam, Fahad Babar, Adil Bhatti, Akeem Dodson, Karan Ganesh, Naseer Jamali, Japen Patel, Mrunal Patel, Timil Patel, Hammad Shahid, Jasdeep Singh, Nicholas Stanford, Timothy Surujbally*, Shiva Vashishat
According to the format of the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier 2015, the sides that top the two groups will automatically qualify for the ICC World Twenty20 India 2016, while the sides that finish second and third in each of the two groups will play cross-over matches with the two winners joining the table-toppers for the India tournament.
The losing sides of the two play-off matches will then play the fourth-placed sides from each of the two groups in cross-over matches with the winners completing the 16-team line-up for the ICC World Twenty20 India 2016.
The fifth-sixth and third-fourth position play-offs as well as the final will be played on the last three days of the tournament based on which these teams’ seeding/groupings for the ICC World Twenty20 India 2016 will be confirmed.