HomeEventsMen's T20 World CupThe T20 World Cup Global Qualifier A – High stakes and no...

The T20 World Cup Global Qualifier A – High stakes and no clear favourites

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In a quick turnaround from the last Men’s T20 World Cup, two more spots for Australia 2022 will be decided in the next week through the A Qualifier.

A re-jigged format from the last cycle, the final 16 teams vying for four spots have been split into two groups of eight, with the B Qualifier to be held in July.

We break down the chances of the sides featuring in Oman, vying for two of the spots over the next seven days.

Ireland

Picture credit: Cricket Ireland
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How did they get here?

Ireland return to the World Cup qualifiers after a third place finish in their first round group at last year’s T20 World Cup. Defeats from Sri Lanka and Namibia were enough to condemn Ireland to the qualifying rounds and extends Ireland’s streak of failing to clear the first round of the T20 World Cup which runs back to 2009.

Squad News

Ireland’s squad has several changes from the squad that took to the T20 World Cup in the UAE last year. Most notable is the omission of the legendary Kevin O’Brien, as Ireland’s most capped player appears to be nudged towards retirement. In his place comes in seam-bowling all-round Shane Getkate. Barry McCarthy also returns to the T20I setup, with Neil Rock and Ben White lowered to reserves.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Ireland posses a mighty crop of seam-bowling talent, with Josh Little, Mark Adair and Craig Young likely to top and tail the innings, with Barry McCarthy in reserve. Simi Singh and Andy McBrine will also offer control in the middle overs. Paul Stirling remains a force with the bat.

However, Ireland are yet to overcome the middle-order hitting problems that have plagued their T20 form in recent years. The issue was laid bare last autumn as Namibia strangled Ireland towards a defeat despite a fast start. Although Gareth Delany slots back into the order at 3, pressure will remain on Stirling to get Ireland into strong positions with the bat

Expectations

As the sole full member in this half of the draw, anything less than qualification will be seen as a failure for the Irish. Following defeats to UAE, Namibia, and USA in the format in 2021, a top two finish is far from guaranteed.

Nepal

Nepal Men
Nepal men

How did they get here?

Despite failing to reach the global qualifier in 2019, Nepal were catapulted over the regional rounds and into the global round by their T20I ranking.

Squad News

Sandeep Lamichhane leads the Nepalese into an ICC tournament for the first time. Kushal Malla, Shahab Alam and Pradeep Airee failed to make the cut from the 17-man squad who played in the recent quadrangular series, whilst Bibek Yadav, Lokesh Bam and Sagar Dhakal keep their places following their debuts last week.

Strengths and Weaknesses

As Associate cricket’s most decorated spinner, Lamichhane holds a talismanic role in the Nepal side both as a bowler and as a captain. D.S. Airee also enters the tournament in red-hot form, following over 140 runs in the three warm-up games.

Despite ever improving power-hitting, Nepal’s batting remains inconsistent and therefore a weakness, and can be frequently held down. Nepal’s historical slow starts at tournaments also hangs over them, having failed to clear the 2019 T20 World Cup Asia regional qualifiers and 2020 Asia Cup Eastern regional qualifers.

Expectations

Consistently high up the ranking table, the Nepalese will feel confident in reaching their first T20 World Cup since 2014. However, their poor tournament record looms over them in a tournament where there is next to no room for error.

UAE

How did they get here?

UAE made the playoffs at the 2019 Qualifier but were subsequently beaten by brutal displays of fast bowling from the Netherlands and Scotland. The qualified for the 2022 qualifiers on their T20I ranking

Squad News

Since the start of the 2019 qualifiers, UAE have lost half of their first choice XI to a series of fixing scandals. However, they have rebuilt their squad, with an increased focus on developing talent from their junior cricket pathways. Ahmed Raza leads the squad which features three players from the 2020 Under 19 World Cup team: Vriitya Aravind, Karthik Meiyappan, and Alishan Sharafu.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Ahmed Raza and Rohan Mustafa for the core of an experienced bowling unit and will be instrumental in putting the opposition under pressure. The batting unit also comes into the tournament in good form, with runs shared around in the quardangualar warm-up

However, with several young faces in the side, the Emiratis may find themselves under the weight of tournament pressure

Expectations

As the form team leading up to the tournament, UAE are in with an excellent shot of making their first T20 World Cup since 2014, so long as they can keep their momentum up.

Oman

Credit:ICC

How did they get here?

Despite home advantage, Oman could not progress out of the first round of the 2021 T20 World Cup, following a defeat to Scotland in a do-or-die game. 3rd place and elimination saw them return to the global qualifiers.

Squad News

Oman are without star batting talent Aaqib Ilyas through injury, though retain the bulk of their core squad from the 2021 T20 World Cup. 2021 ICC Associate player of the year Zeeshan Maqsood leads a team that features several stars of the associate game. Jatinder Singh, Bilal Khan and Khawar Ali form an experienced core.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Possessing one of associate cricket’s most destructive bowling combinations – Bilal Khan and Khalemullah – Oman have the power to blow away opposition batting line ups on their day, as they did to beat Hong Kong in the 2019 qualifier.

Expectations

With home advantage once again in their favour, Oman are in a strong position to qualify for their third consecutive T20 World Cup. However, with a recent loss of form Oman will need to hit the ground running if they are to succeed.

Canada

Mihir Patel Canada
Mihir Patel of Canada bats against UAE (ICC)

How did they get here?

Canada missed out on the playoffs at the 2019 Global Qualifier on net run rate, despite a win over Ireland. Relegated to the regional rounds, they qualified in 2nd place behind USA following a dramatic Super Over defeat.

Squad News

Canada have lost several players since the 2019 qualifier, with the likes of Nitish Kumar, Nicholas Kirton, Nikhil Dutta, and Jeremy Gordon all unavailable. Navneet Dhaliwal leads the squad, and can call on the likes of Saad Bin Zafar, Dillon Heyliger and Hamza Tariq.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Canada largely cruised through their regional qualifiers, defeated only by USA in a super over. In that game, Canada’s spin options, Salman Nazar and Saad Bin Zafar, looked to have tied the game up before USA snuck over the line. Nazar was also instrumental in spinning Canada past Bermuda in a crunch game later in the event. Dhaliwal will be key with the bat.

However the loss of several key players will have weakened Canada’s batting, and could be vulnerable against stronger bowling attacks.

Expectations

Canada are the dark horse to qualify at this tournament. Having had a near-miss in 2019, a small improvement could get them over the line this time around.

Germany

How did they get here?

After several net run rate heartbreaks, Germany finally got on the good side of the tiebreaker, edging out Italy to qualify in 2nd place in Europe, and onto the Global stage for the first time since World Cricket League Division 5 in 2017.

Squad News

The DCB have been continuing their searches for German passport holders in professional cricket. Alongside former county cricket pros Dieter Klein and Michael Richardson, Germany have also added young Surrey batter Justin Broad to their ranks. Venkatraman Ganesan leads the German squad to this tournament.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Untested at this level, Germany will need to call on all the experience of their county cricketers to guide them at this event. The all-round talents of Dieter Klein and Dylan Blignaut will be key, as will the experience of Michael Richardson in his ‘keeper-batter role. Playing the bulk of their cricket on artificial surfaces, adapting to the batting friendly turf facilities in Oman may prove challenging.

Expectations

Germany will be stretched to keep up with Ireland and UAE in the group stage, so their opening fixture against Bahrain will likely guide the rest of their tournament. If they can win, a 6th place finish looks in reach.

Bahrain

How did they get here?

Bahrain saw off the more fancied Qatar and Kuwait in a topsy-turvy tournament in Qatar in October, eventually qualifying from the Asia West tournament on net run rate. Bahrain reach a global tournament for the first time since 2012.

Squad News

Bahrain have added former Karnataka bowler David Mathias, whose Ranji Trophy experience could prove useful to the islanders. All-rounder Sarfaraz Ali captains the team.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Bahrain made full use of batting friendly conditions in Qatar in the Asia West qualifier, with some impressive range hitting. Muhammed Younis’ 82* off 44 in the opening game against the hosts was key to the NRR advantage that eventually saw Bahrain progress.

However, their aggressive approach was also their downfall against Kuwait, as multiple mishits and wickets in clusters saw them post a low score. They’ll need tie back their aggression to take on a higher standard of bowling.

Expectations

Like Germany, Bahrain are likely to find themselves outgunned by UAE and Ireland, so their contests are likely to be against Germany and Philippines with 6th place the goal.

Philippines

How did they get here?

After the East Asia/Pacific qualifiers were cancelled, Philippines qualified as the best ranked team in the region after PNG. Their superior ranking came as the result of a win over Vanuatu in a 5-over game at the 2019 EAP regional qualifier.

Squad News

The Philippines have not played an international match since the 2019 EAP regional qualifier, and so their squad has changed significantly since that outing. Only 6 players in the 14-man squad played at the 2019. Johnathan Hill leads the squad with Daniel Smith as his deputy. Batter Richard Goodwin represents the Philippines in his third sport, having already received caps in Rugby Sevens and Rugby League.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Philippines will rely on the experience of a handful of grade cricketers to guide them as they take on a global tournament for the first time. Daniel Smith was instrumental in their key win over Vanuatu, scoring 22 off 15 balls and claiming 1 wicket in the 5-over match. However, they largely struggled for runs and wickets in their other games, and were thoroughly outclassed by PNG.

Expectations

In a tournament full of unknowns, Philippines are perhaps the greatest of them all. Though they are likely to be defeated by three more established nations in their group, they will have opportunities to prove themselves in the playoffs

How to watch the upcoming Qualifier

The T20 World Cup Qualifier A is available on ICC.tv in all regions other than Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal and Pakistan.

Fans in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Pakistan can watch the T20 World Cup Qualifier A live on FanCode.

Viewers in Nepal can watch every match of the Qualifier via Himalaya TV.

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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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