The ICC very recently revealed that the ICC T20I World Cup is set to be played in the UAE. However, ICC have been very clear about the fact that India will still be regarded as the host of the tournament.
People may think why aren't UAE in the tournament despite hosting the T20 World Cup? The answer is that they couldn't manage to qualify for the World Cup via the 2019 ICC Men's T20 World Cup qualifier tournament which brings us to today's topic.
The ICC have come up with a format that will see 16 teams participating in the ICC Men's T20 World Cup and for a detailed structure of the tournament, click here.
14 teams from all corners of the world were competing for the final six spots in the qualifiers tournament. These 14 teams were divided into two groups of seven teams each where the top four from each group would compete to finalize the last six sides that would go on to join Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and compete for a spot in the last 12.
Group A included the likes of Papua New Guinea, Netherlands, Namibia, Scotland, Kenya, Bermuda, and Singapore.
Group B had Ireland, Oman, Hong Kong, UAE, Canada, Jersey, and Nigeria.
Out of these, Group A was led by Papua New Guinea, Netherlands, Namibia, and Scotland respectively, while Group B was led by Ireland, Oman, UAE, and Hong Kong respectively.
Out of these minnow sides, Papua New Guinea, Netherlands, Namibia, Scotland, Ireland, and Oman are a step closer to compete with the elite sides in World Cricket.
Let's have a look at their separate journeys.
Papua New Guinea (PNG)
Papua New Guinea won their first match by beating Bermuda by ten wickets, chasing a total of 90 in just 10.2 overs. The skipper Assad Vala played a brilliant knock of 53 to help his side win their first match of the qualifiers.
PNG played their second game against Namibia and won comfortably by 81 runs, after putting up a huge total of 197 runs.
However, they lost their third game against a robust Scotland who showed more intent on the day. After that, they beat the Netherlands in a game that could've turned tricky but PNG held their nerves and clinched the win.
PNG were back roaring with full domination as they beat a Singapore side who failed to put PNG under any sort of pressure.
In their last group game against Kenya, PNG failed to make an impact with the bat and succumbed to a total of 118. But this time it was their bowlers who won the game for them, bowling out Kenya for just 73. Assad Vala was the star of the match again, but this time with the ball as he picked three wickets, giving away just seven runs in his four overs.
As PNG finished first in their group, they qualified directly for the ICC Men's T20 and also the semi-final of the qualifiers tournament. They then beat Namibia in the semi-final to play the Netherlands in the final where they lost by seven wickets.
PNG's journey was tough and full of hurdles, having crossed the barrier of progressing through the East Asia-Pacific Qualifier (Regional Qualifier) and then winning their group in the qualifier tournament. How long will PNG make it to the T20 World Cup?
Cricwizz verdict: with not much experience in the International level and with teams like Scotland, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka in the groups, they are unlikely to make it to the super 12s.
Note: Regional Qualifiers were prerequisites for those nations who were not ranked in the first 17 teams of the ICC Men's T20 rankings.
The Netherlands also started their journey by passing the test of making it through the qualifier tournament. The Netherlands played their first game of the qualifier tournament against Kenya and won by 30 runs.
Max O'Dowd and Paul Van Meekeren were the Dutch stars with the bat and bowl respectively. The Netherlands played their second game against Namibia and put up a better performance, winning by 44 runs.
The Dutch then beat Singapore, chasing a total of 102 with five wickets and 21 balls to spare. They lost their first qualifier game against PNG, and this was the main game for the Dutch in terms of their position in table e.
The Netherlands made an extraordinary comeback with a win, thrashing Bermuda by 92 runs, scoring 206 in the first innings. Max O'Dowd and Ben Cooper scored 58 each and gave the Netherlands a solid start.
The Netherlands also won the final group game against Scotland by four wickets and finished second in the table and qualified for the 1st qualifying playoff.
A win was a must in the playoffs, and the Dutch maintained their impression by beating UAE and cemented their spot in the ICC Men's T20 World Cup. They then beat Ireland in the semi-final, followed by a win in the final against PNG, and won the qualifiers tournament.
They did not have to play a regional qualifier as they are ranked 14 in the ICC T20 rankings as of 2019.
Cricwizz Verdict: Netherlands will be a side that will at least make it to the Last 12. However, they possess a side that could produce an upset because of the fighting nature.
Scotland were ranked 11th in the ICC T20 rankings in 2019 and missed a spot to avert a qualification via the qualifiers tournament rather than getting qualified directly to the group stages.
Scotland started with a thrilling contest against Singapore and won the match by two runs, a very fine margin.
Their second game was against Kenya who they beat by 31 runs. They were also the only team to triumph over PNG in the group as they beat them by four runs.
However, that victory was overshadowed as they lost to Namibia by 24 runs. Scotland held their nerves and bounced back stronger against Bermuda, beating them by 46 runs.
Scotland registered a total of 204, with George Munsey scoring a vital 51, and an important 74 by Calum Macleod. Scotland then lost their second game of the group and the final group game of the tournament to the Netherlands by four wickets.
Scotland finished fourth in the group, with the same points as Namibia but a worse NRR (Net run rate) and thus, had to win all their games from the playoffs onwards.
They did so by beating UAE first by 90 runs in the 3rd qualifying playoff and then beat Oman by five wickets.
Cricwizz verdict: Undoubtedly the strongest side on paper only next to Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, the Scottish men are likely to make it to the Super 12s.
Namibia had to go through the Africa qualifiers first to make it to the ICC Men's T20 World Cup qualifier tournament.
Namibia had a tough start to the qualifiers, losing the first two games of the tournament against Netherlands and PNG respectively.
After playing the two strongest sides from their group, Namibia showed great resilience and stayed unbeaten for five games, beating the likes of Scotland, Bermuda, Kenya, and Singapore.
As a result, they finished third, above Scotland due to better NRR, and had to win the playoffs semi-final to qualify for the group stages.
Once again, Namibia showed character and beat Oman by 54 runs, thus qualifying for the group stages of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup.
However, they then lost to PNG and Ireland on the trot but were lucky to have gone through ugh already.
Cricwizz Verdict: Namibia will be one of the teams who may find it tricky to make it to the Last 12.
Ranked 17 in the ICC T20 rankings, Ireland were in Group B. Ireland won their first match by eight wickets against Hong Kong. However, they lost their next game against UAE by five wickets.
Ireland then came back in the tournament by beating Oman by 35 runs. Gareth Delany was on the top of his game as he fired an astonishing 89.
However, Ireland were inconsistent again and consequently, lost to Canada by 10 runs. Ireland then managed back-to-back comfortable wins against Jersey and Nigeria and qualified for the ICC Men's T20 World Cup group stages because of finishing as the group leaders.
Ireland then lost to the Netherlands in the playoff semi-final by 21 runs, followed by a win against Namibia by 27 runs.
Can the likes of Gareth Delany and Paul Stirling help Ireland make it big in the World Cup?
Cricwizz Verdict: Out of the other teams, Ireland have been a part of some great upsets but on the contrary, their recent Form shows that they can be very inconsistent on days too.
Thus, they may have to strive hard to make it to the Last 12 of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup.
Another side from Group B ranked 16 in the ICC T20 rankings, Oman won their first qualifier game against UAE by seven wickets.
In their second game, they again beat Oman by seven wickets, but in the third game, they lost to Ireland by 35 runs.
Oman then managed consecutive victories against Nigeria and Canada, before they shockingly lost to Jersey.
This form stayed the same way in the first playoff match against Namibia as they lost by 54 runs. However, they were fortunate enough to make a comeback against Hong-Kong in the fourth qualifying playoffs, ascertaining themselves in the ICC Men's T20 World Cup group stages.
They then lost the fifth-place playoff against Scotland by five wickets.
Cricwizz Verdict: Oman will have to start strong if they want to make it to the Last 12. They are likely to face strong opposition from the likes of Scotland, Ireland, and the Netherlands.
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