World T20 Qualifiers Preview - Group B
Russell Degnan

A group as unpredictable as group A seems straight-forward. The Irish remain favourites, but they'll be challenged by both Scotland and the under-rated Namibia. The top-3 is far from set however, as Kenya, whose recent form is woeful, are confident recent inclusions will turn their form around and both Oman and Uganda have demonstrated a capacity or upsets. And Italy, boosted by the inclusion of experienced first-class players; and the United States, who can never be under-estimated, given their resources, if they are sufficiently organised. It would be an enormous surprise if the two big-name European sides didn't make the playoffs, but expect several upsets on this side of the draw.

Ireland
Rating2074.0Placing Probabilities1st: 45% 2nd\3rd: 48% Qual.: 40%
Path to QualifiersAutomatic WCL.
Core PlayerGeorge DockrellThe young spinner has impressed observers wherever he has played, on slow turning pitches his accuracy and flight will be key weapons.
Key PerformerPaul StirlingIreland's most consistently dangerous batsman and a handy spinner. If Stirling has a big tournament Ireland will be hard to stop.
On TwitterJon Coates, Phil Simmons, Emmet Riordan, Tim Holt, Ian Callender, Justin Smyth, Ger Siggins, John Boomer, A Seat in the Pavilion, Barry Chambers, Cricket Ireland

Clear favourites to top their group and qualify. Ireland's depth may be their greatest strength as the tournament progresses. With no shortage of players with first class experience, variety in attack and one of the world's most brutal batsman to finish their presence in the latter stages is all but guaranteed. Winning through to Sri Lanka is still a big challenge though, with no margin for error. Their first game against Namibia might be particularly significant if the latter storm the group.

Kenya
Rating1723.8Placing Probabilities1st: 0.7% 2nd\3rd: 11% Qual.: 2%
Path to QualifiersAutomatic WCL; 3rd in Africa.
Core PlayerCollins ObuyaOne of the last remnants of their golden generation; and a class player for over a decade. Still only 30; captaincy and on-field puts a lot on his plate.
Key PerformerRagheb AgaA recent addition to the side where has been the best performer; Aga played with Sussex for several years and could make the difference.
On TwitterCricket Kenya, Nick Deverell

Seeded second, but unfavoured to win through. Kenya's recent form has been poor, they sent their youth side to the African qualifers and limped into fourth; they were beaten 6-2 by Namibia last year, and 3-0 by Ireland last month. Still, despite the losses, they are one of the most experienced T20 sides at the tournament, and the indications are that the Kenyans come into this tournament confident they can make an impact.

Scotland
Rating2006.7Placing Probabilities1st: 26% 2nd\3rd: 58% Qual.: 27%
Path to QualifiersAutomatic WCL.
Core PlayerKyle CoetzerScotland's best batsman; the opener isn't known as a T20 player, but at this level, a solid 50 is often enough.
Key PerformerRichie BerringtonThe 24 year old all-rounder ha sbeen in brilliant form recently, scoring runs heavily and quickly. A match winner on his day.
On TwitterCricket Scotland, David Kelso, Ian Robert Flannigan, Fantasy Bob, Ben Fox, Kat Heathcote

Scotland sometimes come across as Ireland's jealous and jaded older brother. A more than capable side who've gone through a rebuilding process recently and are now flush with talented youth. The loss of Davey will be felt, but there is talent enough in this squad to both top the group and qualify for the WT20 proper. If they have a weakness it is their bowling, and they'll need a good tournament from Majid Haq with the ball.

Namibia
Rating2009.1Placing Probabilities1st: 26% 2nd\3rd: 59% Qual.: 27%
Path to Qualifiers2nd in Africa.
Core PlayerCraig WilliamsAs devastating a batsman as nay in this tournament and useful bowler. Has scored heavily and quickly in previous tournaments and Namibia will need the same.
Key PerformerLouis van der WesthuizenAbsolutely dominated the African qualifiers with bat and ball. A repeat performance will book Namibia to Sri Lanka.
On TwitterCricket Namibia

One of the real danger sides; with a power-packed batting lineup that can win any game. Their performances in the past few years have been outstanding, but they've periodically suffered inexplicable losses (including the African qualifiers final to Uganda) they they can't afford in this tournament. They lack depth to their squad - their best batsmen are also their best bowlers - but their core is as good as any here.

Oman
Rating1652.7Placing Probabilities1st: 0.2% 2nd\3rd: 4% Qual.: 0.7%
Path to Qualifiers3rd in Asia.
Core PlayerVaibhav WategaonkarOman's top run scorer in the Asian qualifiers and the last WCL3. Will be needed to anchor the innings.
Key PerformerAamir KaleemThe most successful of Oman's spinners at the Asian qualifiers. They'll need the same consistency in the UAE.
On TwitterCricket Oman, Omani Cricket

Oman scraped into the finals with a last ball four against Malaysia. Competitive in every game, except Afghanistan, they were oddly devoid of star performances throughout the qualifiers. That depth will hold them in good stead here, as will their knowledge of local conditions. It is unlikely that wil be enough to win them a place in the playoffs however.

Italy
Rating1493.1Placing Probabilities1st: 0% 2nd\3rd: 0.2% Qual.: 0.03%
Path to Qualifiers2nd in Europe.
Core PlayerPeter PetricolaConsistently one of Italy's best batsmen in previous tournaments and a handy bowler.
Key PerformerMichael Di VenutoA player with an immense record at first class record, but limited international opportunities. It may surprise Australians that he is still playing, but at 38 he is not too old to influence this competition.
On TwitterNicola Sbetti, Joe Scuderi

Development officers tend to snub Italy because of their dependence on imports; this team being different only in their quality. Di Venuto and Gareth Berg could do some damage for the Italians, and it can't be ruled out that they challenge for the playoffs. No question that having players of that quality around will boost their squad, now and in the future. Hopefully the few non-ring-ins can use that to their advantage.

Uganda
Rating1674.6Placing Probabilities1st: 0.4% 2nd\3rd: 5% Qual.: 1%
Path to Qualifiers1st in Africa.
Core PlayerRoger MukasaA true all-rounder in that he bats, bowls and occasionally keeps. Just 22 and also the top scorer in Kenya's East Africa Premier League.
Key PerformerArthur KyobeLike Mukasa, young, talented and prolific. Scores at a faster rate but a little less consistently.
On TwitterUganda Cricket Association, Innocent Ndawula, Abdu Wasike, Robert Madoi, Diana Musiime, Aisha Nassanga, Ismail D. Kigongo

A very dangerous side; were recently relegated from WCL2, but beat Namibia in the final of the African T20, and their teams dominated the Kenyan domestic T20 tournament. Young and fit, which means the fast-paced tournament will suit them. But had troube on UAE pitches when they played there in the I-Trophy. Will almost certainly cause an upset or two, but will probably struggle to make the playoffs.

United States
Rating1758.3Placing Probabilities1st: 1% 2nd\3rd: 15% Qual.: 3%
Path to Qualifiers2nd in America.
Core PlayerSushil NadkarniUndoubtedly the most talented player in their squad, but not young. He'll need to score consistently, moreso than big for the US to progress.
Key PerformerMuhammad Asad GhousSpin will undoubtedly feature in the UAE and Ghous is the young incumbent. If he can keep things tight the raw batting talent in his team might win a few games.
On TwitterPeter Della Penna, Jamie Harrison, Burton de Witt, Matt Ferenchick, Bandon Decker, Dream Cricket, David Mutton, Jon Marthaler, Matt Becker, Jonathon Tannenwald, Diane, Cow Corner, Terry Coffey, Stephen Rooke, Devanshu Mehta
Live AudioUS Cricketer (telecast games)

If Americans don't like cricket, why are there so many of them on twitter? And if they only like foreign teams, why are they so keen to watch the American national side? But let's leave those questions for another day. With the talent they have at their disposal the USA ought to be a contender. I suspect though, that their rating is a little high, and they'll wind up disappointing. Certainly their performances in recent times against even a weakened Canada were fairly poor. They ought to be able to compete with everyone in this format though; as for most teams here; a little luck, some good performances, sneak into the playoffs, and then see what happens.


Other persons on twitter following the WT20Q (or associate cricket)...

Andrew Nixon, Tim Brooks, QuipuTV, Jon Newton, Dubai Sports City, Shahriar Khan, Steffi Wes, Cricket Europe, Cricket Lovers, Sabah, Paul Radley.

Idle Summers 12th March, 2012 23:04:47   [#] 

Comments

World T20 Qualifiers Preview - Group B
What a pity I only discovered this competition at the last minute, and this website even later. I hope to be more up to speed in time for WCL division 4...

Thanks.
Rooto  21st March, 2012 18:22:16  

World T20 Qualifiers Preview - Group B
Rooto, thanks, very kind. Hopefully there will be some coverage of WCL4. Because the USA and Nepal are involved it will be better than most WCL tournaments - if it is in Nepal their games will be broadcast locally so you can pick up a stream (a cultural experience that), and Dream Cricket/Peter Della Penna covers US games. The other nations will be blissfully unaware they are competing though.
Russ  23rd March, 2012 09:20:13