ICC Men’s T20 WC Qualifier A: Eight teams to battle out for two spots from February 18-24 (preview)
Al Amarat (Oman) : Eight countries Ireland, Nepal, UAE, Canada, Germany, Philippines, Bahrain, and hosts Oman will vie for the two spots at the ICC Mens T20 World Cup Qualifier A, set to be played from February 18 to 24 at the Oman Academy grounds, here.The Qualifier A is one of the two global qualifiers that is part of the final stages of the qualification process of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 in Australia. A total of 20 matches will decide the two teams that will travel to Australia for the pinnacle event in the shortest format of the game later this year.The eight-nation tournament features an experienced Ireland side, who are set to face a fight from an in-form UAE, hosts Oman, and Nepal as the quartet boast of experience at playing at the global stage.
However, with teams like Canada, Germany, Bahrain, and the Philippines eager to showcase their mettle, there is a good possibility of a few surprises in the coming week.If Test-playing nation Ireland, the only full member nation, in the fray, begins the tournament as a favourite, there is a lot of excitement in the camp of debutants – Germany and the Philippines, who start the tournament as minnows, as this would be their first major event at the global stage.Hosts Oman, who like Ireland, qualified for this tournament after being eliminated in the first round of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021, will be hoping to bank on their home ground advantage. Oman is pooled along with Nepal, who will be looking to qualify for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup for the first time since they made their debut in 2014.Canada and the Philippines complete Group A.
Canada could be the surprise package in Group A and matchups against the hosts and Nepal could potentially be decisive for the two teams that would make it to the semi-finals. In Group A, Ireland are the dominant unit and the UAE, who have been in a good form ahead of the event, are likely to push for the top two spots.Debutant Germany and regional team, Bahrain, are the other teams in Group B with Germany hoping to ring in a surprise or two. For Germany, it will be a new chapter in the history of the game, as they make their first-ever appearance at a global qualifier, an achievement for an emerging cricket nation they share with the Philippines. Hosts Oman take on Nepal in the opener on February 18.Nepal and the UAE sealed their places in the Qualifiers based on their rankings in the ICC Men’s T20I Team Rankings. The other four teams Germany, Canada, Bahrain, and the Philippines advanced through their regional qualifying tournaments held through the course of last year.
Each team will play all the other teams in the group once with the top two teams advancing to the semi-finals from the respective groups.The winners of the semi-finals will seal their spots in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in Australia, a goal that all the eight teams will be fighting hard. A total of four games will be played on two grounds on the match days with Canada facing the Philippines to start their campaign on the adjacent ground, the ICC said in a release.The opening day’s fixtures also feature Ireland vs UAE in a high-octane game on the main Oman Academy 1 ground while Germany take on Bahrain in the second match of the afternoon session.
Road to the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022:
A total of 16 teams will be vying for the four spots during the two Qualifiers – A and B – with Qualifier B to be held in Harare, Zimbabwe from July 11-17, 2022. The teams in fray for the two remaining seats in Harare are hosts Zimbabwe, Hong Kong, Jersey, the Netherlands, Paula New Guinea, Singapore, Uganda, and the United States of America (USA).Seventy teams started the qualification process, and the two global Qualifiers will decide the final four teams that will be part of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in Australia. For Oman, following the successful hosting of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 first-round games last year, along with the opener, this is the second major ICC tournament.
Ahead of Qualifier A, Oman also hosted a quadrangular T20 series involving four of the teams. Ireland, the UAE, and Nepal were the other sides. A total of six games were played from February 11-14. The warm-up series served as a good build-up with teams trying out different combinations ahead of the actual event and attempting to iron out their shortcomings. While the UAE and Ireland won two games each, Oman and Nepal tasted one win each.The quartet is expected to be the main r’vals for a place in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup later this year, given the experience and exposure they have had in recent years. With the recent quadrangular providing a decent warm-up and other teams playing out a few practice games, except for the Philippines, who arrived on Sunday to Oman, the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier A – promises to bring some exciting and thrilling games over the next few days at the Oman Academy grounds.