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18 July 201500:34

PREVIEW: All to play for on last day of Group B action

Five of the six teams in the fray on Saturday - Canada the only exception - have a chance of breaking through from the cluster

PREVIEW: All to play for on last day of Group B action - Cricket News

After Oman lost its opening game, it hasn't looked back, notching up three wins in a row.

Scotland v Oman
Oman is sitting pretty at the top of the Group B points table, but with three matches on Saturday (July 18), including its clash against Scotland in Edinburgh, the qualifying spots are still up for grabs.

Oman would have hoped to consolidate its position after its match against United Arab Emirates on Friday, but heavy overnight rain in Stirling resulted in a washout without a ball being bowled. With one point awarded to each team, Oman is on seven points along with Afghanistan and Kenya, although it has a superior net run-rate.

For Oman, Jatinder Singh and Rajeshkumar Ranpura have been the most impressive. Jatinder has 144 runs in four games while Ranpura, the medium pacer, has picked up seven wickets.

But despite its recent washout, Oman can take solace from the fact that its sole loss in the tournament was in the opening game against Kenya. After that, it hasn't looked back, notching up three wins in a row.

Meanwhile, Scotland hasn’t been as consistent as it would have liked to be. Currently at fourth position on the table, Scotland's fortunes – even if it wins against Oman – will depend on the outcome of the games between Afghanistan and Canada as well as the game between Kenya and the Netherlands.

But Scotland must focus on the variables that are in its control. The key players for Scotland will be George Munsey and Alasdair Evans. Munsey is the highest run-getter for the side in the tournament with 136 runs in five games, while Evans has grabbed nine wickets.

Scotland has secured wins in its last two games and will be hoping to keep the momentum going. Its most recent win came against Canada by an eight-wicket margin and 32 balls to spare. Josh Davey and Evans shared five wickets between themselves to restrict Canada for 135 for 8 before Kyle Coetzer and Munsey helped Scotland overhaul the target.

The spirit is high in both camps, but with a qualifying spot – and possibly even a chance to finish at pole position – at stake, it will boil down to whichever team manages to hold its nerve.

Teams (from)
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.

Scotland: Preston Mommsen (capt), Richie Berrington, Kyle Coetzer, Matthew Cross, Josh Davey, Con de Lange, Alasdair Evans, Michael Leask, Calum MacLeod, Gavin Main, George Munsey, Safyaan Sharif, Rob Taylor, Craig Wallace, Mark Watt.

Afghanistan v Canada
Afghanistan will look to bounce back after its defeat against Oman as it takes on Canada in Stirling in its match.

Afghanistan took an early wicket after sending Oman into bat, but after that its bowlers were unable to prevent the Oman batsmen from forming partnerships. Chasing down 144, Afghanistan’s openers Mohammad Shahzad and Javed Ahmadi had set up the platform for the last ten overs of the chase. However, the rest of Afghanistan’s batting was torn apart by Mehran Khan, and the collapse meant the side could only score 104 in response.

Although Afghanistan won’t be too worried going into its match against Canada, the death bowling could use some improvement after the bowlers were expensive in the final six overs against Oman. Afghanistan will also hope that Hamid Hassan, after his injury in the match against Scotland, will be fit to play. After his 36-ball 74, the onus will be on Shahzad to give Afghanistan a good start again, but the middle order will have to fire after a poor performance against Oman.

Canada, meanwhile, is at the bottom of Group B with five losses in five games and cannot qualify. In its last match against the Netherlands, Canada’s batsmen were able to power the side to 172. Opener Ruvindu Gunasekera provided a solid start to the innings with a fifty while, later in the innings, quick knocks of 28 from captain Rizwan Cheema and 42 from Hamza Tariq helped Canada put up a respectable total.

Unfortunately, the bowlers were unable to deliver and allowed the Netherlands to canter to a win with 15 balls remaining. Cecil Pervez and Nitish Kumar were the only two bowlers to take wickets, with Cheema having to resort to part-timers after Junaid Siddiqui and Jeremy Gordon proved expensive in their two overs.

Canada seems to have found the right batting order after continuous reshuffling in the past few matches. However, changes are likely to come in the bowling department as it looks to end the tournament on a positive note.

Teams (from)
Afghanistan: Asghar Stanikzai (capt), Javed Ahmadi, Aftab Alam, Mirwais Ashraf, Sharafudin Ashraf, Hamid Hassan, Nawroz Mangal, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib, Shafiqullah Shafaq, Mohammad Shahzad, Samiullah Shinwari, Dawlat Zadran, Najib Zadran, Shahpur Zadran.

Canada: Rizwan Cheema (capt), Saad Bin Zafar, Navneet Dhaliwal, Satsimranjit Dhindsa, Jeremy Gordon, Ruvindu Gunasekera, Amarbir Hansra, Shaheed Keshvani, Nitish Kumar, Hiral Patel*, Cecil Pervez, Junaid Siddiqui, Hamza Tariq, Srimantha Wijeyeratne, Ahmad Awais.

Kenya v the Netherlands
As the race for playoff positions heats up, Kenya will take on the Netherlands in Edinburgh.

Kenya has had a strong campaign so far, with three wins, one loss and one washed out game. In its previous match, Kenya romped to a 42-run victory against UAE.

After deciding to bat, Kenya lost two early wickets, but three crucial partnerships helped it reach 144. Narendra Kalyan and Collins Obuya played steady hands early on, and Rakep Patel took on the bowling at the death, scoring 50 off 32 deliveries to lift Kenya to a respectable total on a pitch that favoured the bowlers.

Kenya’s bowlers ensured that UAE didn't get a sniff, striking at regular intervals to bowl it out for 105. Kalyan followed up his batting with an excellent performance with the ball, taking 4 for 16. It was a much-needed victory for Kenya after the seven-wicket defeat at the hands of Scotland, and put them in contention for a qualifying spot.

The Netherlands’ campaign has been more of a mixed bag, with three wins and two losses, though the defeats were against stronger sides Afghanistan and Oman. Morale will be high in the Netherlands camp after an easy six-wicket win against Canada. The bowlers had allowed Canada to reach 172, but Michael Swart and Roelof van der Merwe bowled tidily.

In response, the Netherlands openers took the attack to the UAE bowlers from the first ball, scoring 19 in the first over itself. Stephan Myburgh’s 36-ball 67 and Wesley Barresi’s 15-ball 33 helped Netherlands reach 100 by the end of the seventh over. By the time they were dismissed, the result was almost a foregone conclusion. A similar blaze from the openers could easily shift the game in the Netherlands’ favour against Kenya.

A win for either Kenya or the Netherlands would mean the team is through to the knockouts. The team that loses, though, could still have a chance of sneaking through, but its fate would depend on how the other two games in Group B – Scotland v Oman and Afghanistan v Canada – pan out.

Teams (from)
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.

Netherlands: Peter Borren (capt), Rahil Ahmed, Wesley Barresi, Mudassar Bukhari, Ben Cooper, Ahsan Malik, Stephan Myburgh, Max O'Dowd, Michael Rippon, Timm van der Gugten, Roelof van der Merwe*, Paul van Meekeren, Thijs van Schelven, Pieter Seelaar, Michael Swart.