The four teams today have played a wonderful brand of cricket and the games have been exciting, contrary to what a large section of the cricket fraternity believed. The associate nations need to be focused on by the ICC and not just at ICC events but also during the entire season. The only way for them to compete at the highest level is to play with the best in the world. And T20 is the perfect format for it, because the shortened game gives them more of a chance and that is what they need, the belief that an upset is possible.
Two more interesting games await our attention and predictions tomorrow.
The ever energetic Bangladesh side take on the Netherlands in the first game at Dharamshala tomorrow which will be followed by World Cup giant killers Ireland taking on Oman.
Bangladesh vs Netherlands
Number of transfers: 4
Transfers out: R Mutumbami, M Chapman, D Zadran, Rashid Khan
Transfers in: Van der Merwe, Shakib Al Hasan, Mustafizur/Al Amin, Tom Cooper
Team for Match 3
On current form, Bangladesh should win this but the only thing that could work against them is the short recovery period that they have had after the Asia cup. They haven’t had the opportunity to assess the conditions at Dharamshala but then, if you want to compete with the best in the world you need to be able to adapt quickly to different conditions.
Netherlands on the other hand have had time to assess the conditions at Dharamshala and have played a few fruitful Warm up games in Indian conditions which should help them against a resurgent Bangladesh side.
On current form, Bangladesh should win this and I would go with a few of their top order batsmen if they win they bat first.
Players worth considering in Bangladesh- Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Sabbir Rehman, Shakib Al Hasan, Mahmudullah, Al Amin and Taskin Ahmed
Players worth considering in Netherlands- Tom Cooper, Wesley Barresi, Roelof Van Der Merwe, Steven Myburgh, Mudassar Bukhari
Let’s start with Netherlands because Bangladesh have a lot of match winners to choose from (never thought I would say this).
Roelof Van Der Merwe would be my first pick. Cricket loyalists would remember him as the animated left-handed spinner (see how I omitted the word slow left arm spinner there) who used to play for South Africa. Well, he went down the pecking order and now has shifted his loyalties to Netherlands. Full marks for being an opportunist.
But that is not why you should pick him. He is an intelligent T20 bowler and can use the long handle to good effect too, coming lower down the order. A batting average of 18 coming in at number 6 or 7 and 23 wickets in those 18 T20 internationals makes him a great pick. And he has played a lot of his games against the full time members as part of the South African squad.
Now, you could either go in with Myburgh, Tom Cooper or Baressi as your batting choice from Netherlands. Myburgh has been in good form but he would be starting against an inform Bangladesh pace attack and that is why I rule him out.
Barresi too has the same problem and his T20 average of 23 does not warrant him a place in my side. I would go in with Tom Cooper who comes in at 4 and can maneuver the bowlers around when the field is spread out and score a quick-fire 30 or 40.
The only bowling option from Netherlands that I would recommend is Mudassar Bukhari who has been in a rich vein of form in T20 internationals picking up 4/7 against UAE in a T20 in Dubai in February. But hold onto that thought until the pitch and weather report tomorrow. If the conditions are cloudy, get him in.
From Bangladesh, I already have Mahumudullah in my team and I hope he gets to face a good share of the deliveries because he is the best Bangladeshi batsman at this stage. I just hope he isn’t forced down the order too much.
Shakib would be the next obvious choice. He is Bangaldesh’s best sports person and though he hasn’t quite contributed with the bat, he has been chipping away with wickets in almost all the games.
If Mustafizur is fit, get him in. Else, pick one between Taskin and Al Amin. Taskin can be a bit wayward and hence I would suggest you to with Al Amin. He has a knack for picking up wickets in a heap.
Captain for this game: Shakib Al Hasan– Simply because of his all round abilities. I am playing it a little safe during the initial stages.
Ireland vs Oman
Number of Transfers: 4
Transfers out: Mustafizur Rehman, Tom Cooper, Shakib Al Hasan, Van der Merwe
Transfers in: Zeeshan Maqsood, Boyd Rankin, Bilal Khan, Kevin O Brien
Players worth considering in Ireland- Paul Stirling, William Porterfield, Kevin O Brien, Tim Murtagh, Boyd Rankin, Dockrell
Players worth considering in Oman- Zeeshan Maqsood, Adnan Ilyas, Aamir Kaleem, Mehran Khan, Ajay Lalcheta
Ireland are the giant killers of world cricket and should win this game against Oman. Also, they have played both their Warm games at Dharmashala, which keeps them in good stead with the playing conditions.
I would either go in with Boyd Rankin or Tim Murtagh. Boyd Rankin’s healthy average and an economy rate of less than 6(5.92) in T20s, tilts me a little towards his side.
The next player that I would pick for this encounter would be Zeeshan Maqsood. He has been scoring runs for Oman at the top of the order and bowls a bit of left arm spin too. The other Oman player that interests me is Bilal khan. A fast left arm bowler, Bilal has taken 14 wickets in 9 games at an average of 16.48, which is very commendable.
The last transfer for this game will be an Irishmen. You could go in with Stirling, Porterfield or Kevin O Brien. Stirling is a bit of a hit and miss(just like his Football namesake). Porterfield is a solid player but he scores too slowly for my liking and thus I don’t think he would cause much damage and hence I leave him out. I get in Kevin o Brien because of his all round skills.
Captain for this game: If, Ireland bat first, I would go with Kevin O Brien as my captain. But if, Oman bat first, I think I would have Boyd Rankin as my captain.
Check this space out tomorrow for the Day 3 picks.
Happy team picking!