WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - DECEMBER 03: Jason Holder of the West Indies looks on during day three of the Test match series between New Zealand Blackcaps and the West Indies at Basin Reserve on December 3, 2017 in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

World Cup Qualifiers: West Indies Start As Favourites

The final leg to make it to the 2019 World Cup kicks off in Zimbabwe. Ten teams will put their claims forward and, with only two places up for grabs, the competition will be immense. Here is how these World Cup Qualifiers work:

The ten teams participating are divided into two groups of five teams each. The top three from each group go through into a Super Six stage and the teams will play the three sides they did not face in the group stage.

The points won in the group stages, will be carried forward in the Super Six stage, apart from those gained from the bottom two from the group. The top two teams from the Super Six, will qualify for the World Cup, and play in a final.

The Netherlands, who won the World Championship League, and the top three Associate members in these Qualifiers, will earn ODI status till 2022.

The Contenders

West Indies

The two-time World Champions, the West Indies, will start as overwhelming favourites. That being said, it is really startling to see them here contesting these World Cup Qualifiers. This has been a result of years of sub-standard performances and some unrest behind the scenes.

The West Indies are currently ninth on the ICC ODI Rankings. It is time to get serious now, because if the warm-up matches are anything to go by, the West Indies have some serious concerns. In their two games against Afghanistan and UAE, they were dismissed for paltry scores of 110 and 115 respectively. Any such scores in the main tournament could mean catastrophe.
Embed from Getty Images
The squad, though, has experience and the West Indies will bank on that experience. Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels have the experience of 467 ODIs put together and they have had success in T20 World Cups. The form might be bleak, but West Indies start as favourites, and they will rely on their stalwarts.

West Indies Squad: Jason Holder(C), Chris Gayle, Evin Lewis, Rovman Powell, Carlos Brathwaite, Ashley Nurse, Marlon Samuels, Kesrick Williams, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Jason Mohammed, Devendra Bishoo, Sheldon Cottrell, Nikita Miller, Kemar Roach.

Afghanistan

The recent years for Afghan Cricket have been marvellous. Achieving Test status, appearances at the 2015 World Cup and the 2016 World T20 and good performances against Test-playing nations like West Indies and Zimbabwe, Afghanistan go into these World Cup Qualifiers with momentum.

They are tenth on the ICC ODI Rankings and is testament for their steady rise. In their last ten bilateral ODI Series, Afghanistan have won six, drawn two and lost only two. The Afghans have won 22 out of the 38 ODIs in this time.
Embed from Getty Images
They possess some of the world’s most in-demand T20 players too, Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi and Mujeeb Zadran all have had success in T20 leagues around the world. They too possess experience and with the recent exposure to ICC events, they are one of the top contenders to qualify for the World Cup.

Afghanistan Squad: Rashid Khan(C), Ihsanullah Janat, Najibullah Zadran, Nasir Jamal, Javed Ahmadi, Rahmat Shah, Samiullah Shenwari, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Mohammad Shahzad, Mujeeb Zadran, Dawlat Zadran, Shapoor Zadran.

Ireland

Another team who has had a good time in the recent past is Ireland. Like Afghanistan, they too were given Test status. Their recent ODI form is patchy but to be fair to them, most of their bilateral assignments have come against established Test-playing nations in South Africa, Pakistan, Australia and England.

Amongst the associates, Ireland have the most experience. They have played the established sides more often and have participated at ICC events more often.

It is this experience which Ireland will look to use. William Porterfield, Ed Joyce, Kevin O’Brien, Paul Stirling, Niall O’Brien, Gary Wilson and George Dockrell have all played over 75 ODIs and have represented Ireland in many ICC events.

Ireland bank on these players and they will be called upon to make these World Cup Qualifiers a success.

Ireland Squad: William Porterfield(C), Ed Joyce, James Shannon, Kevin O’Brien, Paul Stirling, ANdrew Balbirnie, Niall O’Brien, Gary Wilson, Peter Chase, George Dockrell, Andy McBrine, Barry McCarthy, Tim Murtagh, Boyd Rankin.

Zimbabwe

The hosts are in with more than a shout too. The financial problems surrounding Zimbabwe Cricket have been unfortunate and this has led them in calling out a few old stalwarts. Brendan Taylor has come out of retirement.

For many of their players, this could be their final swan-song. They will like a final appearance at a World Cup and home conditions in these World Cup Qualifiers could work in their favour. Experience is in abundance here too. Almost half the side has played over 75 ODIs and are over 30 years of age.
Embed from Getty Images
Their form though is a cause for concern.

They have lost four bilateral series to Afghanistan in the last three years, and have suffered clean sweeps against India and Bangladesh. They have only won 15 out of their last 45 ODIs, a series win over Sri Lanka their only noteworthy performance. With Zimbabwe Cricket in a poor state, a World Cup qualification would be immense.

Zimbabwe Squad: Greame Cremer(C), Craig Ervine, Malcolm Waller, Hamilton Masakadza, Solomon Mire, Sikandar Raza, Sean Williams, Cephas Zhuwawo, Tendai Chisoro, Brendan Taylor, Peter Moor, Tendai Chatara, Kyle Jarvis, Brian Vitori.

Netherlands

The Dutch had a World Championship League to savour and that meant they now have ODI status till 2022. This comes at a time where they most needed it.

Netherlands last played an ODI series in 2013.

This shows in their ODI careers. Only captain Peter Borren has played over 50 ODIs. They do possess some quality players. Ryan ten Doeschate has played cricket everywhere around the world and has been named the ICC’s Associate Player of the Year on three previous occasions. Their last appearance at an ICC event came at the 2014 World T20 so they are long overdue an ICC event participation.

Netherlands, though inexperienced, have been ever present in associate cricket and have performed well. Can they spring a surprise?

Netherlands Squad: Peter Borren(C), Sikander Zulfiqar, Fred Klaassen, Ryan ten Doeschate, Ben Cooper, Vivian Kingma, Timm van der Gugten, Roelof van der Merwe, Paul van Meekeren, Wesley Barresi, Max ODowd, Peter Seelaar, Shane Snater.

Scotland

The Scots go in to these World Cup Qualifiers as another team with some experience at ICC events. That being said, they have last played a test-playing nation in ODI cricket back in 2014, they played Zimbabwe last year.
Embed from Getty Images
They played at the 2015 World Cup and found a couple of good players in Kyle Coetzer, Alasdair Evans and Calum MacLeod. Whether they can translate it into consistent performance in Zimbabwe remains to be seen. Experience here seems to be short but that would mean that Scotland could be dark horses at these qualifiers.

Scotland Squad: Kyle Coetzer(C), George Munsey, Richie Berrington, Michael Leask, Calum MacLeod, Alasdair Evans, Matthew Cross, Craig Wallace, Safyaan Sharif, Chris Sole, Mark Watt, Bradley Wheal, Stu Whittingham.

The Others

UAE have had appearances at the 2015 World Cup and the 2016 Asia Cup so that does not make them unknowns just yet. Shaiman Anwar in particular impressed at both tournaments. Amir Hayat and Rohan Mustafa are big players for UAE and it would take a special effort to make it to the World Cup.

Nepal made it to these World Cup Qualifiers in thrilling fashion by the narrowest of margins. A series of nerve-shredding, last-ditch wins at World Cricket League Division 2 in Namibia last month, culminating in that extraordinary 51-run last-wicket stand between Sandeep Lamichanne and Karan KC to pull off a last-ball victory over Canada in the semi-final saw Paras Khadka’s side book their tickets to Zimbabwe. It would take another miracle to make it to the World Cup but they have announced themselves.

Papua New Guinea are outsiders too and they are looking for inspiration. Hong Kong too hope for one.

UAE Squad: Rohan Mustafa(C), Shaiman Anwar, Adnan Mufti, Rameez Shahzad, Chirag Suri, Mohammad Naveed, Ahmed Raza, Qadeer Ahmed, Imran Haider, Amir Hayat, Ashfaq Ahmed, Mohammad Boota, Zahoor Khan, Ghulam Shabber, Muhammad Usman.

Nepal Squad: Paras Khadka(C), Gyanendra Malla, Sharad Vesawkar, Dipendra Singh Airee, Shakti Gauchan, Basant Regmi, Sompal Kami, Aarif Sheikh, Lalit Rajbanshi, KC Karan, Sandeep Lamichhane, Dilip Nath, Lalit Bhandari, Anil Sah, Rohit Kumar.

Papua New Guinea Squad: Assad Vala(C), Kiplin Doriga, Charles Amini, Mahuru Dai, Vani Morea, Sese Bau, Jason Kila, John Reva, Norman Vanua, Tony Ura, Jack Vare, Alei Nao, Damien Ravu, Lega Siaka, Chad Soper.

Hong Kong Squad: Babar Hayat(C), Simandeep Singh, Anshuman Rath, Waqas Barkat, Ahsan Abbasi, Aizaz Khan, Nizakat Khan, Tanwir Afzal, Christopher Carter, Scott McKechnie, Shahid Wasif, Ehsan Khan, Ehsan Nawaz, Nadeem Ahmed, Tanveer Ahmed.

Main Photo:
Embed from Getty Images

 

 

2 COMMENTS

  1. I recall watching some recent video of Lyon getting absolutely hammered in a couple of one day games 22 off an over. Not saying he isn”t worth a look heading into the World Cup but his strength is his attacking ability, which isn”t always a good thing in ODIs.

LEAVE A REPLY

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.