HomeEventsMen's T20 World Cup QualifiersGlobal Qualifier B Preview – Zimbabwe favourites, followed by free-for-all

Global Qualifier B Preview – Zimbabwe favourites, followed by free-for-all

The last two spots at the 2022 World Cup in Australia go on the line this week, with eight teams competing in Global Qualifier B in Zimbabwe

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The last two spots at the 2022 World Cup in Australia go on the line this week, with eight teams hopeful of a place in the finals. The teams in Global Qualifier B are divided into two groups of four, with the top two teams advancing to the semi-finals. The winners of each semi-final will qualify for the World Cup.

Zimbabwe

Sean Williams returns to the Zimbabwe squad ahead of the qualifiers

How did they get here?

Zimbabwe missed out on the 2019 Qualifiers through their board’s suspension, and so missed the chance to qualify for the 2021 World Cup. They return to the global qualifies based on their T20I ranking.

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Squad News

Zimbabwe are approaching a full strength squad coming into the tournament. Sean Williams, Wellington Masakadza and Richard Ngarava all return to the side following absences. Craig Ervine captains the Chevrons squad, which also features experienced franchise cricketers including Ryan Burl and Blessing Muzarabani.

Strengths and Weaknesses

With pitches in Bulawayo likely to offer assistance for the spinner, Zimbabwe will look to lean into their home advantage with a spin-heavy bowling line up. Sean Williams, Sikandar Raza and Ryan Burl will be primary options with the ball, with Muzarabani offering seam to top and tail the innings. Although they often struggle with the bat on the full member circuit, Zimbabwe’s batting still offers a threat, but may be vulnerable to early pressure.

Expectations

As the hosts, and the sole full member in this pool, anything less than qualification will be a failure for Zimbabwe. Although they have the strongest squad on paper, recent defeats to Namibia and the cut-throat tournament format mean that nothing is certain.

Netherlands

Netherlands
Scott Edwards takes up the captain’s armband following Pieter Seelaar’s retirement

How did they get here?

Netherlands suffered crushing defeats to Ireland, Namibia and Sri Lanka in the first round at the 2021 event, and fall back to the global qualifiers.

Squad News

The Dutch are much closer to full strength than the squad picked for their recent ODI series, with several county players including Brandon Glover, Paul van Meekeren, and Fred Klaasen returning. However, following the retirement of Peiter Seelaar, and the unavailability of Roelof van der Merwe and Colin Ackermann, the Dutch are weaker on paper than the side that lost all three games in the 2021 World Cup. The form of Max O’Dowd and Bas de Leede offers cause for optimism, as does the return of Stephen Myburgh to the squad after his retirement from ODI cricket.

Strengths and Weaknesses

The Dutch seam bowling unit is back to full strength, and will offer the same venom that saw them blow away sides in the 2019 qualifier in UAE. But the batting looks much weaker on paper than it has in past events, missing van der Merwe, Ackermann, ten Doeschate and Seelaar that has formed the Dutch middle order in years gone by. Extra responsibility falls on the shoulders of O’Dowd, de Leede and new captain Scott Edwards. The Dutch will also need strong showings from the returning Myburgh and Tom Cooper.

Expectations

The Dutch are favourites to qualify after Zimbabwe, but missing two key allrounders impacts their chances. With a highly competitive field behind them, and a cutthroat tournament format, the Men in Orange will know they need an improved showing to make sure of a fourth consecutive T20 World Cup.

Papua New Guinea

T20 World Cup Kits
Papua New Guinea have won only five of their last thirty games

How did they get here?

PNG’s first senior World Cup ended with three defeats, bested by each Oman, Scotland, and Bangladesh. PNG return to the global qualifiers for the 2022 event.

Squad News

Papua New Guinea continue with the same squad that drew 1-1 with Singapore last month, though features several changes from the 2021 World Cup squad. Asad Vala leads the squad, which features a familiar core of players including Norman Vanua, Tony Ura, Charles Amini and Chad Soper.

Strengths and Weaknesses

The difference between ‘all-rounder’ and ‘bits-and-pieces player’ is a subjective definition, but the slide in competitiveness of the Barramundis makes their team of all-rounders look more like the latter. Nevertheless, captain Asad Vala still has a plethora of options at his disposal if he wants to exploit matchups with bat or ball. Perhaps PNG’s greatest strength has been in their unity and discipline in the field, but with an ageing side, it remains to be seen if this will hold up.

Expectations

Papua New Guinea’s fall from their 2019 peak, which includes only five wins in their last 30 matches, leaves them outsiders to book consecutive T20 World Cup appearances. With fixtures against Uganda and Hong Kong, two teams aiming for promotion to CWC League 2 at PNG’s expense, the stakes are raised beyond the next week for the Barramundis.

Singapore

Mumbai Indians’ allrounder Tim David is not available for Singapore in the qualifier

How did they get here?

Singapore advanced to the global qualifiers based on their T20I ranking, featuring in the top 20 at the cut-off date.

Squad News

Tim David’s absence headlines the Singapore squad. The globetrotting all-rounder has chosen to prioritise his T20 Blast contract with Lancashire, and will miss international duty for Singapore. The squad is a continuation of the one that took on Malaysia and PNG in recent series, with Amjad Mahboob leading the side. Surendran Chandramohan will be a key player with the bat, following his recent century against PNG.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Missing Tim David’s all-round talents will be a major blow for Singapore’s hopes, as will recent defeats to Malaysia and PNG last month. Having played only 5 matches since the beginning of the pandemic, Singapore also come into the tournament as the least prepared side in terms of match practice.

Expectations

Not at full strength, Singapore will likely find their group stage matches against Zimbabwe and USA tough going. With Jersey also in good form approaching the tournament, Singapore will need to be near their best to make the semi-finals, and even better to make the world cup itself.

USA

Captain Monank Patel hopes to lead the USA to their first senior World Cup

How did they get here?

USA went unbeaten in the Americas regional qualifier, faltering only briefly to tie against Canada before coming through to win the Super Over. USA make the Global Qualifiers for the first time since 2015.

Squad News

Monank Patel leads the USA squad after taking on the captaincy late last year, and features a mix of youth and experience. Ian Holland misses out on the tournament due to commitments with Hampshire, whilst Australia born Cameron Stevenson is in line for his T20I debut following his performances in ODI cricket. Trinibago Knight Riders’ Ali Khan will lead the bowling attack.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Ali Khan and Saurabh Netravalkar provide USA with a formidable death-bowling unit, and seam bowling will be USA’s major strength going into the tournament. However, the USA have shown a historical weakness to spin bowling in both ODIs and T20Is. With tracks in Bulawayo expected to offer turn, this could be a major threat to USA’s chances.

Expectations

Returning to the global qualifiers after missing out on the 2019 event, the global qualifier serves as a yardstick for USA’s progress in their preferred format. With Minor League Cricket offering a much improved development pathway, USA have a realistic chance of making their first T20 World Cup, 18 months ahead of co-hosting the same tournament.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong
Hong Kong’s Ehsan Khan celebrates a wicket against Bermuda in a practice match of the T20 World Cup Qualifiers in UAE 2019 (Photo: ICC)

How did they get here?

Hong Kong missed out on the 2021 event after a heart-breaking playoff defeat to Oman. Following the cancellation of the Asia East regional qualifier, Hong Kong advanced as the top ranked side in the pool.

Squad News

Following a disastrous build-up to the 2019 qualifier which saw them lose half of their first-choice side, all is calm by comparison in the Hong Kong camp leading in to this year’s event. Nizakat Khan leads the city-state’s squad, which features Babar Hayat, Eshan Khan, and Kinchit Shah.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Hong Kong showed their strengths with bat and ball in the recent Challenge League B in Uganda, winning four out of their five games. Eshan Khan’s off-breaks were instrumental in a crushing win over the hosts, and Kinchit Shah and Babar Hayat will prove key figures with the bat.

Expectations

Hong Kong’s rebuilding effort from their 2019 nadir puts them back in the mix for a return to the T20 World Cup after a 6-year absence. Although their T20I ranking has dropped away in recent times, their squad still features experienced players, and they should expect to be competitive in the group stage, with a strong shot at advancing to the all-important semi-finals.

Jersey

Jersey celebrate
Jersey were undefeated in their recent Challenge League round

How did they get here?

Jersey upset both UAE and Oman in the 2019 qualifiers, but missed out on the playoffs on Net Run Rate. Returning to the European regional finals, Jersey went unbeaten over 6 matches to return to the global qualifiers.

Squad News

Jersey persist with a settled squad that took them through the European regional finals and the recent Challenge League B. Charles “Chuggy” Perchard leads the squad, and features Ben Ward and Jonty Jenner, who were former professionals in South Africa and England, respectively.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Jersey’s opening partnership was indomitable in their recent Challenge League B leg. Harrison Carylon and Nick Greenwood’s combined efforts raised nearly 500 runs together in 5 games, and will hope to continue that form into the T20 format. Jonty Jenner and Ben Ward will also look to add runs in the death overs. Jersey are infrequently tested against stronger opposition, however, and lost all four games in a warm-up series against Namibia and USA.

Expectations

With a population of little over 100,000 people, it would be little short of a miracle for Jersey to reach a T20 World Cup. And yet, having beaten two of the seven other teams in this tournament in their recent Challenge League series, it appears far from impossible.

Uganda

Emerging Cricket World Cup of Jerseys Uganda
Uganda reached the global qualifier for the first time since 2013

How did they get here?

Uganda were unbeaten in their sub-regional round, before besting Kenya and Tanzania in the Africa finals to return to the global qualifiers for the first time since 2013.

Squad News

Uganda have made a couple of changes from the squad that won three out of five in their recent Challenge League leg, with Roger Mukasa and Bilal Hassun returning to the side. Brian Masaba leads the side, which includes the experienced Frank Nsubuga, more that 25 years after his debut for the Cricket Cranes

Strengths and Weaknesses

In their regional qualifying campaign, Uganda demonstrated a powerful middle order with the bat, with Riazat Ali Shah and Dinesh Nakrani often hitting Uganda out of tricky siturations. Opener Simon Ssesazi has also been in form for Uganda in the Challenge League. Despite wins against Namibia earlier this year, Uganda remain relatively untested at the higher levels of associate cricket, and will be challenged by the step up.

Expectations

Uganda’s return to the global qualifier is a notable feat for the East African side as the continue their push up the associate ladder. Whilst definite outsiders for qualification, they can expect to be competitive with PNG and Hong Kong in the group stages, and could make the all important semi-finals.

How to watch

Matches begin on Monday at 9:30 am local time (08:30 GMT, 13:00 IST, 17:30 AEST). Group matches are played on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, with the semi-finals on Friday and the final and playoffs on Sunday. All matches are available to watch on icc.tv, excluding the Indian subcontinent where matches are live on FanCode.

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Tom Grunshaw
Tom Grunshawhttps://periodiccricket.sport.blog/
A chemist by day, Tom takes an analytical approach to the emerging game, with a focus on events in Europe.

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