14 July 2015
PREVIEW: Chance for Afghanistan to consolidate top spot
Kenya takes on UAE, which is in the middle of a poor run of results, in the second Group B game of the day
Afghanistan has a good chance to consolidate its position on top of the Group B table in the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier 2015 when it takes on Oman in the 25th match of the tournament in Edinburgh on Wednesday (July 15).
Afghanistan is currently in first place with three wins from four games with its last game, against Kenya, washed out without a ball being bowled. It defeated the Netherlands by 32 runs in its tournament opener, followed it up with an eight-wicket win over the United Arab Emirates, and then beat Scotland by 37 runs.
The Afghanistan think tank will be particularly pleased with the form Mohammad Shahzad has shown so far, hammering 151 runs at a strike rate of 191.13, and the wicketkeeper-batsman is going to be crucial in the team’s chances going ahead.
If Oman can snap him up early, it is capable of springing a surprise over the favourite. It has showed some ability already, overcoming Canada by seven wickets in a rain-truncated clash and the Netherlands by six wickets.
However, Afghanistan has shown it can bounce back from any position. It was on the mat against the Netherlands after being reduced to 39 for 3, but still posted 162 for 7 and cantered to a win to underscore its status as one of the top teams in the competition.
Afghanistan: Asghar Stanikzai (capt), Javed Ahmadi, Aftab Alam, Mirwais Ashraf, Sharafudin Ashraf, Hamid Hassan, Nawroz Mangal, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib, Shafiqullah Shafiq, Mohammad Shahzad, Samiullah Shenwari, Dawlat Zadran, Najib Zadran, Shapoor Zadran.
Oman: Sultan Ahmed (capt), Yousuf Abdulrahim, Zeeshan Ahmad, Amir Ali, Khawar Ali, Munis Ansari, Aamir Kaleem, Mehran Khan, Ajay Lalcheta, Sufyan Mahmood, Zeeshan Maqsood, Muhammad Nadeem, Rajeshkumar Ranpura, Jatinder Singh, Vaibhav Wategaonkar.
Kenya v United Arab Emirates
Kenya, currently second in Group B, will look lift its game when it meets the United Arab Emirates for the 27th match of the tournament, also in Edinburgh.
Kenya has done well to win two games out of three – defeating Canada by seven wickets and edging past Oman by seven runs, but has in the UAE a tough opponent, one that recently performed impressively at the 50-over ICC Cricket World Cup.
Kenya has shown promise in all departments. Irfan Karim, who smashed a 54-ball 74 against Canada, and Collins Obuya, fresh from a half-century against Oman, have put their hands up, and the other batsmen have done well to bat around them. On the bowling front, the team will bank on Shem Ngoche’s left-arm spin to trouble the UAE batting line-up.
This match is a good opportunity for UAE to arrest its losing streak but the team needs to be on top of its game.
The likes of Mohammad Shahzad, Shaiman Anwar and Swapnil Patil have made noteworthy contributions but the side needs all departments to click together if it wants to seal a place in the ICC World T20 2016, to be held in India in 2016.
Kenya hasn't been a part of the World T20 after 2007 and a win over UAE will boost its chances of making the trip.
Kenya: Rakep Patel (capt), Emmanuel Bundi, Narendra Kalyan, Irfan Karim, Karan Kaul, Lucas Ndandason, James Ngoche, Shem Ngoche, Collins Obuya, Eugene Ochieng, Nehemiah Odhiambo, Nelson Odhiambo, Elijah Otieno, Morris Ouma, Gurdeep Singh.
UAE: Mohamed Tauqir (capt), Fayyaz Ahmed, Amjad Ali, Saqib Ali, Umair Ali, Shaiman Anwar, Faizan Asif, Nasir Aziz, Manjula Guruge, Amjad Javed, Muhammad Naveed, Swapnil Patil, Ahmed Raza, Muhammad Shahzad, Abdul Shakoor.
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.