The next week promises to be one of the biggest in the cricketing careers of the eight teams on show in Zimbabwe. The ICC T20 World Cup Qualifier B tournament kicks off on July 11, with two coveted spots available for this year’s World Cup in Australia.
Zimbabwe will be aiming to make amends for their heartbreak at home in 2018, where they missed out on qualification to the 2019 ODI World Cup after a three-run defeat against UAE. They, along with Netherlands, are the two favourites to progress to the World Cup, but the others on show have fought so hard to get to this stage that rolling over simply isn’t an option.
With the tournament to be streamed free on ICC.tv, millions around the world will witness some of the best performers from the emerging nations.
Here are six who can make a significant impact for their team in the quest for a ticket down under later this year.
Aizaz Khan (Hong Kong)
In 2014, Hong Kong stunned the cricketing world when they beat Bangladesh on their turf in the World Cup. Eight years on, their batting will be under the spotlight as they line up for their first T20I since 2020.
Aizaz Khan is not only Hong Kong’s leading wicket-taker in T20Is (46 in 39 matches), but the right-arm seamer is also in decent touch with the bat. In Challenge League cricket last month, he struck 75* against Italy, 34 against Bermuda, 39 against Jersey and 59* against Kenya.
Saurabh Netravalkar (USA)
In an interview last year, Saurabh Netravalkar of USA spoke of the pressures of Associate cricket. Every moment counts and that will be the case for a USA side that comes into this tournament off the back of decent form in the ICC Cricket World Cup League 2.
Mumbai-born left-arm seamer Netravalkar will be crucial to USA’s hopes. He has had plenty of bowling under his belt in recent times, including figures of 1/27 vs Namibia and 2/20 and 1/30 vs Jersey in T20 cricket last week. If he can make early breakthroughs in conditions that may suit seam, USA will have a platform to play off.
Tony Ura (PNG)
PNG legend Tony Ura couldn’t get going in the 2021 T20 World Cup. Now, he has the chance to help PNG get back to the world stage.
With the side stacked with capable all-rounders, Ura has a crucial role at the top. He is the only PNG player with at least 1,000 runs in T20Is, and he comes into the tournament having scored a superb 93* against Singapore last week. Set the tone early, and PNG have enough depth to keep the pressure on their opponents.
Dinesh Nakrani (Uganda)
What a huge moment this is for Ugandan cricket. Dinesh Nakrani will no doubt have a key role to play, particularly with the willow as Uganda search for batting consistency.
The all-rounder is the only Ugandan cricketer to strike above 140 (141.77) in T20I cricket. In the Cricket World Cup Challenge League B tournament last month, Nakrani’s double of 55* and 2/48 was pivotal in the country’s memorable victory over Kenya in front of a passionate home crowd.
Vikramjit Singh (Netherlands)
Vikramjit Singh has had a taste of international cricket against some of the world’s best teams. Also, he looked in excellent touch on almost each occasion, making scores of 19, 31, 25, 47, 46 and 54 in ODIs against New Zealand and West Indies.
Singh, along with the likes of the in-form Scott Edwards, can bank on their recent experience against lesser-experienced attacks in Zimbabwe.
Charles Perchard (Jersey)
Cricket is etched deep in Charles Perchard’s family. His father, Jim Perchard, turned his agricultural land in Jersey into an excellent cricket ground a few years ago, and the island has continued to punch above its weight in Associate cricket.
Right-arm seamer Perchard is Jersey’s leading wicket-taker in T20Is. His 37 wickets come at a brilliant average and strike rate of 12.16 and 13.1 respectively. To compete well, Jersey need their skipper to lead the way and enable the others to follow suit.
You’re reading Emerging Cricket — brought to you by a passionate group of volunteers with a vision for cricket to be a truly global sport, and a mission to inspire passion to grow the game.
Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, please subscribe for regular updates, and follow EC on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube.
Don’t know where to start? Check out our features list, country profiles, and subscribe to our podcast.
Support us from US$2 a month — and get exclusive benefits, by becoming an EC Patron.