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18 July 201523:46

PREVIEW: Group A teams eye play-off spots

Namibia, PNG have opportunity to finish at the top of the group, but all six teams in action are in the running to qualify for play-offs

PREVIEW: Group A teams eye play-off spots - Cricket News

Ireland might have expected to be at the top of the table given its experience and pedigree, but is currently a point behind PNG and Namibia.

The only Group A side not in action on the final day of the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier matches that will take place on Sunday (July 19) is Nepal, the bottom-placed team with three points from six games.

For the rest, it promises to be a very important day, with each of Namibia, Papua New Guinea, Ireland, Hong Kong, Jersey and the United States of America in with a chance of ensuring their hopes of qualification to the ICC World Twenty20 2016 in India next year stay alive.

Ireland will take on Jersey in the first match of the day, while later on, PNG will face off against USA and Hong Kong will play against Namibia.

Ireland v Jersey
Ireland has six points from five games, with three wins and two losses. The defending champion might have expected to be at the top of the table given its experience and pedigree, but is currently a point behind PNG and Namibia, who have seven each.

Both will be in action in the later matches, so all Ireland can do is win this match and wait on the results, with a top-of-the-table finish not a very likely outcome since it would need both PNG and Namibia to lose their matches.

Even so, winning against a rejuvenated Jersey side won’t be straightforward. Jersey is fresh off a convincing seven-wicket win against Nepal, and if it wins this match it will have a very good chance of finishing fourth, and thus keeping its hopes of qualification alive with a play-off match. Jersey’s hopes will be pinned on Peter Gough and Jonty Jenner’s run-making skills, alongwith Nat Watkins’s ability to take wickets. All three played crucial roles in the win against Nepal.

Teams (from):
William Porterfield (capt), 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.

Jersey: Peter Gough (capt), Corey Bisson, Dom Blampied, Corne Bodenstein, Paul Connolly, Ed Farley, Anthony Kay, Jonty Jenner, Ben Kynman, Tommy Minty, Rhys Palmer, Chuggy Perchard, Callum Rabet, Ben Stevens, Nat Watkins.

USA injected some late momentum into its campaign with a seven-wicket win over Hong Kong, and has four points from five matches. It finds itself in much the same position as Jersey, though with a lower net run-rate. Therefore USA too needs to win to remain in the qualifying race.

Akeem Dodson has been USA’s most consistent batsman, while Timil Patel and Hammad Shahid lead the wicket charts. Patel’s economy rate of 5.9 is also outstanding, and USA will need him to exert control over the PNG batsmen.

PNG has been among the success stories of the tournament, and if it wins against USA, and Namibia doesn’t get full points against Hong Kong, it could end up topping the group and earning direct qualification for next year’s World Twenty20. Even if it doesn’t top the group, PNG is assured of a spot in the play-offs, and given the form it has shown so far, there is no reason to believe it won’t make it to the mega event in India. It has three wins and one no-result from five matches, the same as Namibia.

PNG did suffer a reverse on Friday, with Namibia winning their match by 49 runs to leapfrog to the top of the table on net run-rate. For its final league match, PNG will count on its bowlers once again, with the likes of Willie Gavera, John Reva and Norman Vanua among the wickets and Assad Vala doing well with bat and ball.

Teams (from):
Jack Vare (capt), Charles Amini, Sese Bau, John Boge Reva, Mahuru Dai, Willie Gavera, Loa Nou, Kila Pala, Pipi Raho, Lega Siaka, Chad Soper, Tony Ura, Vani Vagi, Assadollah Vala, Norman Vanua.

USA: Muhammad Ghous (capt), 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.

Namibia v Hong Kong
Namibia’s stunning win against an in-form PNG side has put it in pole position to top Group A and join Scotland – the Group B toppers – as the first two sides to earn direct entry into the ICC World Twenty20 2016. Namibia’s rise has been fuelled by Stephan Baard’s consistency, with Gerrie Snyman also contributing valuable runs. Among the bowlers, Bernard Scholtz has nine wickets at an economy rate of 4.5, and has been incisive.

Hong Kong has had an up-and-down campaign, with two wins, two losses and one no-result from five games. But if it wins against Namibia, it will be assured of a play-off spot, and a chance at making it to two successive ICC World Twenty20 tournaments.

The bowlers have been Hong Kong’s strength so far, and the likes of Irfan Ahmed and Haseeb Amjad, who have 13 wickets between them, will have to be relied on to stop the Namibia batsmen.

Namibia: Nicholas Scholtz (capt), Stephen Baard, Sarel Burger, Christopher Coombe, Jason Davidson, Michau du Perez, Gerhard Erasmus, Louis Klazinga, JP Kotze, Bernard Scholtz, JJ Smit, Christiaan Snyman, Gerrie Snyman, Raymond van Schoor, Craig Williams.

Hong Kong: Tanwir Afzal (capt), Irfan Ahmed, Nadeem Ahmed, Haseeb Amjad, Jamie Atkinson, Waqas Barkat, Mark Chapman, Aizaz Khan, Anas Khan, Nizakat Khan, Giacomo Lamplough, Ehsan Nawaz, Babar Hayat, Anshuman Rath, Kinchit Shah.