ICC WorldT20 Preview

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ICC World Twenty20 2016: Groups Preview

7 Mar , 2016  

The Group Stage of the 2016 Cricket World T20 kicks off in India this week, where we will find out who will join the likes of Australia and England in the Super 10. 

Can Ireland and Scotland make it over the first hurdle, or will Bangladesh and Afghanistan fight their way through to the next stage? Our team-by-team preview should give you a better idea of what to expect.


Group A

 

BangladeshBangladesh Cricket

Captain: Mashrafe Mortaza

2014 Performance: Reached the Super 10

Prediction: Possibly the strongest team across both groups, Bangladesh will come into the tournament on the back of an impressive showing in the Asia Cup.

Despite having a relatively poor record in the shortest format of the game last year, they managed to perform outstandingly in ODIs, winning series against Pakistan, India, South Africa and Zimbabwe. As they continue to prove doubters wrong, the future looks very bright for the Tigers.

If all goes to plan, they should be more than capable of progressing to the next round of the competition.

One to Watch: Mustafizur Rahman – The young left-arm seamer has quickly become the star of Bangladeshi cricket, however a recent side strain, which caused him to miss the Asia Cup, could be a damaging blow to his and the team’s World T20 prospects.


IrelandIreland Cricket

Captain: William Porterfield

2014 Performance: Group Stage

Prediction: The Irish team have a fighting chance of upsetting Bangladesh’s Group A hopes, as captain William Porterfield will lead a squad boasting a great deal of experience into the tournament.

Porterfield, Kevin and Niall O’Brien, Paul Stirling and Gary Wilson are all set to appear in their fifth World T20, and the squad will be bolstered by veteran Middlesex pace bowler Tim Murtagh and former England bowler Boyd Rankin. They are also a strong fielding side, with the ability to put pressure on their opponents.

Whilst they are likely to be second-best in the group, Ireland will have hopes of going one better.

One to Watch: Kevin O’Brien – The big-hitting all-rounder is sure to play a pivotal role in Ireland’s attempt at reaching the next stage of the competition. Explosive with the bat, and effective with his medium-pace bowling, he’s managed 550 runs and 43 wickets in 48 T20 Internationals.


NetherlandsNetherlands Cricket

Captain: Peter Borren

2014 Performance: Reached the Super 10

Prediction: A team who have a history of winning games against the odds, the Netherlands come into this year’s World T20 as the potential ‘dark horses’ of Group A.

Like Ireland, they bring a squad containing experienced players, including former South Africa all-rounder Roloef van der Merwe and also Stephan Mybrugh, who impressed in the competition last time around.

Third place is the probable outcome in the group stages for the men in orange, however with a little luck and determination it would be unfair to write them off at this point.

One to Watch: Tom Cooper – A huge (re)addition to the Netherlands squad. Before the WorldT20 squads were announced, Australian-born Cooper hadn’t played on the international T20 stage since shining in the 2014 tournament, however he has recently been stepping out for the Melbourne Renegades in the Big Bash League so he should be warmed-up already!


OmanOman Cricket

Captain: Sultan Ahmed

2014 Performance: N/A

Prediction: Without wanting to sound harsh, not too much should be expected of Oman, who are – on paper – in India to make the numbers up. With that being said, they are here on merit, and beat Afghanistan and the Netherlands of their road to qualification.

They only gained ICC Associate status in 2014, after becoming an affiliate member of the International Cricket Council fourteen years earlier, so it is still early days for the nation in terms of international cricket.

Given what will have been expected of Oman, they should take pride from appearing in the tournament, but unfortunately that’s all they’re playing for this year.

One to Watch: Jatinder Singh – The Punjab-born opening batsman will be one of the key figures in their batting line-up, and given his T20I strike-rate is a respectable 86.28, he is definitely capable of keeping the scoreboard ticking over, so long as he can stay at the crease.


Group B

 

AfghanistanAfghanistan Cricket

Captain: Asghar Stanikzai

2014 Performance: Group Stage

Prediction: The rapid improvement of cricket in Afghanistan continues to impress, and they have to be taken seriously in terms of being a contender to top Group B.

Whilst they failed to advance from the qualifying stage to this year’s Asia Cup, their recent T20 form has been fantastic, and coach Inzamam-ul-Haq will definitely be pushing his players to achieve great things for their nation.

This group is definitely going to be a two-horse race, and Afghanistan will have tough competition from Zimbabwe, but purely based on their 2-0 series win when the two met in January, I’m backing them to just pip the group.

One to Watch: Rashid Khan – Afghanistan’s bowling attack will potentially be the deciding factor in their fate. Khan, 17, is the youngest player in the entire competition, and despite being in the very early stages of his career, has already impressed. His leg-spin should also be aided by the Indian pitches.


Hong KongHong Kong Cricket

Captain: Tanwir Afzal

2014 Performance: Group Stage

Prediction: Taking the ‘Oman’ position of their respective group, Hong Kong will be the weakest team in Group B, but they do have a couple of secret weapons in their arsenal.

A little more experienced than Oman, given that this will be their second World T20, Hong Kong performed pretty well in last year’s qualifying tournament, however they did suffer defeat at the hands of both Jersey and the USA, so their consistency is a slight worry.

After beating Bangladesh in 2014, they will know that on their day, they can achieve the unexpected, so whilst we could see them upset either Afghanistan or Zimbabwe, that is likely to be their highlight.

One to Watch: Ryan Campbell – Campbell is also the team’s batting coach, and the 44-year old has a wealth of experience, having appeared for Australia in two ODI’s over a decade ago, and also enjoyed a fine first-class career.


ScotlandCricket Scotland

Captain: Preston Mommsen

2014 Performance: N/A

Prediction: Scotland enjoyed a thoroughly encouraging qualifying campaign last year, and they have a number of county cricketers at their disposal. These two factors could lead them in good stead for the tournament, however given that they’ve never won a game on the big stage.

Whether or not they can adapt to the unfamiliar conditions will likely play a big part in how they fare, however it will be interesting to see how the likes of Durham fast bowler Gavin Main, Northants’ Kyle Coetzer and skipper Preston Mommsen perform.

Despite the positives, the Scots will be up against the odds in a pretty tough group, so they are the most unpredictable team of the four.

One to Watch: Matt Machan – Another county cricketer, left-handed batsman Machan is currently on Sussex’s books, and averages 43 after 10 T20 Internationals. Given there are other strong batters in the line-up, the pressure shouldn’t be too heavy and hopefully he can give a good account of himself. He is also a useful off-spinner.


Zimbabwe
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Captain: Hamilton Masakadza

2014 Performance: Group Stage

Prediction: The team with the most history at the highest level, however – largely – due to political reasons, they’ve never been particularly strong. Despite having some quality players over the years, such as the Flower brothers, Heath Streak and Henry Olonga, they have failed to become a consistent force.

The loss of star-batsman Brendan Taylor for the tournament is a huge blow, and could quite possibly cost them a place in the Super 10.

Being the only fully fledged International side in the group, they should in theory be hot favourites, and whilst they have a strong chance of progressing, Afghanistan and possibly even Scotland could damage their hopes.

One to Watch: Hamilton Masakadza – The new captain has a lot of international experience, and his ability is unquestioned. His powerful stroke play is definitely something to keep an eye out for, as he can turn a game on its head very quickly.


Who do you think will come out on top of the two groups? Are there any players you think we should be looking out for? Let us know in the comments! Also, keep your eyes peeled next week, when we will take a look at the Super 10 teams!

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