It’s 12 months until the next 2020 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, but already there is excitement in the air about what’s to come in this explosive form of the sport. That’s primarily due to the recent 2020 T20 World Cup Qualifier held in the United Arab Emirates, which decided the six additional entrants that will be participating in Australia in October 2020. Some 51 qualifying games were staged during the event in the Middle East, which proved to be an excellent platform for experienced and rookie players alike to cement their place in T20 folklore.
The six teams to eventually battle their way to qualify for next year’s main event were the Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Ireland, Scotland, Namibia and Oman. These six teams will join Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in the initial group stage, in a bid to try and qualify for the Super 12 stage, where the big boys lie in wait. Some bookies have already gone large on the suggestions that home advantage will work in Australia’s favour.
Paddy Power, who is an operator with a lot of clout on the betting floor, has Australia priced as short as 5/2 to be outright winners, compared with some others that have Australia as much as 100/30.
If you’re interested in finding out more about the latest qualifiers for next year’s T20 World Cup, read on as we provide a brief report about each team’s performances in the UAE last month and their prospects for 2020 T20 World Cup:
It was a very satisfying qualifying event for the Netherlands, who eventually prevailed to win the final, defeating a stubborn Papua New Guinea side by seven wickets. As an Australian himself, the Netherlands’ head coach, Ryan Campbell, will be no stranger to the surroundings ‘Down Under’. Campbell and the Dutch team have been placed in Group A for the main event, alongside Namibia, Scotland and Bangladesh, with the top two advancing to the Super 12.
The Netherlands were once again indebted to explosive batting from veteran batsman Ryan ten Doeschate at times, averaging 46.60 per game. The Dutch have a burgeoning spin bowling attack too, with Roelof van der Merwe taking 14 wickets throughout the qualifying tournament.
Scotland endured something of an inconsistent qualifying tournament. Going into their final qualifying match with hosts UAE, Scotland were in fourth place in Group A, with the top three places securing qualification for next year’s tournament. Scotland went about their must-win clash with UAE in explosive fashion, with batsmen George Munsey and Richie Berrington blowing away the UAE bowling attack, posting 198/6 from their 20 overs.
A combination of disciplined bowling and some poor shot selection saw UAE fall well short of Scotland’s total, eventually losing by 90 runs. The performances of opener George Munsey certainly caught the eye, and he is taking part in Abu Dhabi’s T10 League to try and enhance his skills over the coming weeks.
Ireland, who have been consistent contenders in recent T20 World Cups, secured a safe passage into next year’s tournament by finishing third overall. They faced Namibia in the third-fourth playoff game, and overcame them by 27 runs, despite only posting 135 first from their 20 overs. It looked like being a comfortable Namibia win when skipper Gerhard Erasmus struck a swift half-century, but a late order collapse saw five wickets fall for a paltry 18 runs, three of which came from the off-spin of Simi Singh.
Ireland has been stubborn opponents for the higher-ranked nations in the past, with plenty of experience in their ranks, including the likes of Kevin O’Brien and Paul Stirling.
Papua New Guinea
The Pacific island of Papua New Guinea has never qualified for a major ICC tournament until now that is. The tiny nation made history in Dubai by topping their qualifying pool after a hugely impressive 45-win victory over Kenya. The Barramundis could only look on from the stands as the Netherlands then failed to defeat Scotland, handing Papua New Guinea a place in the initial group stages of the 2020 T20 World Cup. The qualification caps a remarkable turnaround in fortunes for the country, given that it lost its T20 status with the ICC just 18 months ago.
The PNG team is coached by Joe Dawes, a former Queensland fast bowler, who admitted after qualification that his team felt they had a shot at qualifying in the T20, but that they still have “some work to do” in 50-over cricket.
Namibia also sealed a historic place at next year’s T20 World Cup, which will be their first-ever appearance at ICC T20 level. They became the fourth team in the qualification tournament to qualify for Australia. The last time Namibia reached a major ICC tournament was back in 2003 for the 50-over World Cup.
Namibia’s captain, Gerhard Erasmus, was at the heart of everything good about the Namibians, and Erasmus eventually gained accreditation of being named in the Team of the Tournament, along with JJ Smit. Although they might not be the easiest team on the eye, they were certainly one of the most effective.
Last but by no means least, Oman secured a golden ticket to the T20 World Cup finals in Australia after snatching the sixth and final qualification place. They sealed their place in the last 16 by defeating Hong Kong in a narrow 12-run play-off victory in Dubai. Omani spinner Bilal Khan was the man to do the damage with the ball, spinning his way to match figures of 4-23 against Hong Kong. Oman had initially struggled with the bat after an early wobble left them on 42-6, but opening batsman Jatinder Singh proved to be the hero with a decisive 67 not out.
Of the six qualifiers to reach the group stages of the T20 World Cup next year, Scotland and the Netherlands look best placed to challenge Sri Lanka and Bangladesh for a Super 12 place. However, with two spots up for grabs in each group, there’s a chance for at least two of these qualifiers to go all the way to face the likes of Australia, England and India potentially.