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Archive for the ‘united arab emirates’ Category

After five matches each, the wheat have been separated from the marginally more chaff-like wheat, and 12 teams have been reduced down to eight for the Super Eights stage, which it is to be hoped will be more than half well named. The teams eliminated, and therefore definitely not going to the finals (and also missing out on full ODI status for the next 4 years) are Bermuda, Denmark, Oman and Uganda.

  • Afghanistan only just edged through to this stage after losing three matches in a row, but their potential fairytale continues. Even if they don’t qualify, their success against the odds has been a rare good news story from their troubled country.
  • Canada look likely to qualify given their form in the group stages (including an impressive 131 off 99 balls from John Davison against Namibia), and their win over Scotland in the first stage puts them in a good position going into the Super Eights.
  • Ireland will also be well placed heading into this stage, with 6 points carried over from the group stage. Eoin Morgan’s England call-up, whilst unsurprising, will be a blow, but the as yet unbeaten Irishmen will be favourites to qualify for the finals with ease.
  • Kenya are also amongst the favourites to make it to 2011, with only one defeat in their five matches so far. Aging limbs may start to feel the strain at this stage, but they have enough quality to ensure qualification.
  • Namibia only made it to this stage by virtue of net run rate, and will not be expected to progress any further. One or two good results could see them sneak one of the six ODI places, but even that is a tall order.
  • The Netherlands, as expected, have done well so far, and are strong candidates for qualification if they can continue their form into this stage of the competition.
  • Scotland, on the other hand, have failed to live up to expectations so far, and their 148-run defeat to Canada will set alarms ringing. Their matches against the Netherlands and Kenya now take on ‘must-win’ status.
  • The UAE, a team of “baggage handlers and bursars” have exceeded expectations, finishing Group B with as many points as Kenya and the Netherlands, but will be seen as outsiders to beat those teams into the top four. Fifth or sixth place is, however, a realistic target.

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Afghanistan’s remarkable story will attract most neutral supporters, but the talent of the likes of Hamid Hassan and Mohammad Nabi would command attention regardless of the surrounding circumstances. The step up to this level may cause problems for some of the less experienced members of the squad, but there is sufficient quality in the side to give some of the more established sides something to worry about.

Bermuda Dwayne Leverock, but the side also includes David Hemp (who has captained Glamorgan and toured with England A in the mid-nineties) and young Chris Douglas, who made two half-centuries in three days back in August (69 against Canada and an impressive 53 against the West Indies). Bermuda qualified for the finals last time around when there were five spots available, but they may struggle to claim one of the four places available for 2011.

Denmark will be missing the best-known Danish cricketer in Amjad Khan, now of Kent and England, but have a number of experienced players in their squad (eight of whom played in the last ICC Trophy). Captain Freddie Klokker, a former MCC Young Cricketer, has county experience with Derbyshire and Warwickshire, and carries extra responsibility as both wicketkeeper and opening batsman.

Kenya haven’t had to qualify for a World Cup since the 1999 competition, having made it as far as the World Cup Semi-Final in the period since. Whilst the current side is extremely unlikely to reach those dizzy heights again, Steve Tikolo and Thomas Odoyo are both capable of matchwinning performances. Both are likely to have their fitness severely tested with a potential four games in a single week once the Super Eight stage gets underway.

The Netherlands are often considered to be heavily reliant on their star man Ryan ten Doeschate, so their fans would have been thrilled when Dirk Nannes was included in their squad for this competition, and correspondingly disappointed when he signed for the Dehli Daredevils in the IPL, thus missing the qualifiers. The experienced Edgar Schiferli was the joint-leading wicket-taker in the 2005 ICC Trophy, though, and he can still pose a threat with his medium-fast seam bowling, whilst the batting line-up looks strong.

The UAE were the unlucky team in 2005, just missing out on qualification for the 2007 finals, and fortune also seems to have been unkind to their preparation for this tournament – the side had to cancel a trip to Sri Lanka following events in Lahore. Perhaps more worryingly, captain Khurram Khan was apparently so annoyed at the choice of the squad he is leading that he went as far as writing a newspaper article criticising the selection process (a criticism he later retracted) . Despite this, it would be a surprise if the UAE didn’t make the Super Eight stage at least.

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Today was all about the minnows. The UAE took on Bangladesh, whilst Hong Kong were up against Pakistan.

The results were never really in doubt, but there were at least some creditable performances. Not least of these was from Hong Kong’s young left-arm spinner Nadeem Ahmed, who took 4-51, and (as has been mentioned elsewhere) those wickets weren’t exactly tail-enders. In the same match, Sohail Tanvir made 59 (not bad for a No. 9) and took a couple of wickets too.

The UAE shipped 300 against Bangladesh, but Zahid Shah only went for 49 of them, and took 3 wickets for his trouble. Mohammad Ashraful made an unbeaten ton for Bangladesh, whilst Khurram Khan led the resistance for the UAE, making 78 from 81 balls.

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The Asia Cup 2008 gets underway on Tuesday, with the ‘established’ Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan and ‘semi-established’ Bangladeshi (no link because the official site ‘may harm your computer‘) teams competing against the ’emerging’ UAE and Hong Kongese sides.

Group A

  • Sri Lanka will be looking to recapture the One-Day form that brought victory over England, but which has been absent more recently. Ajantha Mendis, who I’ve mentioned recently, will be one to watch, and the six over-30’s in the squad will shoulder much of the responsibility as usual.
  • The United Arab Emirates are hoping that a blend of youth and experience will help to produce the kind of performances that suggest they have a good chance of qualification (following good results in the World Cricket League last year) for the 2011 World Cup. Obviously, the UAE will be looking for performances rather than results from this tournament, but they could give Bangladesh a scare if they play out of their skins. Saqib Ali has a first class average of 55, and is likely to be the main source of runs.

Group B

  • India showed both sides of their recent form in the Kitply cup, hammering Pakistan in the group stage, then leaking runs like nobody’s business in the final. Gambhir was impressive throughout the tournament with the bat, and RP Singh, amongst others, continues to show real promise with the ball.
  • Hong Kong, who will be taking part in the World Cricket League Division 4 in October, are almost certain to be unceremoniously crushed by both India and Pakistan. Courtney Kruger could make things slightly more respectable with a few runs, but any difference will be marginal.

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