World T20: 11 March Preview

Written by Jason Dewey for @HollywoodbetsFollow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!

It hasn’t taken a long time for the World T20 to throw up its first surprise result, with Oman defeating the king of associates, Ireland; in what was an absolute nail-biter of a match.

We now look forward to Friday’s two matches where the Emiratis are again in action, this time against the Dutch. The second match of the day will see Bangladesh take on a wounded Irish side.

Oman 5/2 | Draw 35/1 | Netherlands 3/10
The Omanis upset the apple-cart in a massive way on Wednesday evening when they beat Ireland who have for such a long time been considered the undisputed kings of associate cricket. The tiny Asian nation endured the longest path to this tournament, having fought their way through an additional regional qualifying tournament before they could take part in the global qualifier in Ireland and Scotland.

The sheer amount of cricket they’ve played over the last year or so has clearly aided them in their cause. They looked hungrier and sharper than their more fancied opposition on Wednesday evening as they plundered 16 runs from the final over of their innings to win by two wickets. They were aided by some awful death bowling by the Irish seamers, however, don’t let that detract from the magnitude of what they achieved.

As I suspected, their three-pronged spin attack kept the Irish batsmen quiet for the most part, restricting the run rate throughout the innings. Munis Ansari, while expensive, fulfilled his purpose claiming three wickets. His low, slinging action – similar to that of Lasith Malinga – seemed to trouble the batsmen following a loose first over. He changed up his pace, varied his lines and lengths and made scoring difficult in his last three overs in which he only conceded 22 runs.

Is there is one area of concern for the Omanis, it’s their softish middle order. While the top three all claimed decent scores, the likes of Adnan Ilyas, Mehran Khan and Aamir Kaleem need to step up – especially against a Dutch side that won’t make the same mistakes as Ireland.

The Dutch were unlucky to lose against Bangladesh, who are easily the strongest side still needing to qualify for the Super 10. One might even argue that they’re more deserving of automatic qualification to the final phase of the competition than the likes of Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

The above statement speaks volumes for how well the Peter Boren and his men played against the Bangladeshis in alien conditions. They would eventually fall eight runs short of their target, however, their performance underlined their credentials as serious contenders for qualification should Bangladesh slip up. One feels that if they had found themselves in the other qualification group, they’d more than likely cruise into the Super 10 phase of the World T20.

They bowled well to a dangerous-looking Bangladeshi side and claimed wickets at regular intervals. Had it not been for a match-winning 58-ball 93 from Tamim Iqbal, the result of the game could have been much different.

Verdict: A Fifty to be Scored in the Match: No – 33/10
I do think that the Dutch will win this game, quite comfortably too. However, at 3/10 they offer very little value. Both of these sides possess strong bowling line-ups and relatively weak top orders. As such, expect a low-scoring affair where the ball dominates. At 33/10, backing the no fifty to be scored in the match market seems a top bet – get on!

Bangladesh 2/7 | Draw 35/1 | Ireland 28/10
Bangladesh weren’t particularly convincing last time out as they limped to an eight-run win over a spirited Dutch side, however, at this point in the tournament; a win is a win. They will take on an Irish team who simply look a spent force in what could well be the deciding game in qualifying Group A.

The Asian side have Tamim Iqbal to thank for their win over the Netherlands on Tuesday. Had it not been for the opener’s 58-ball 83, the Bangladeshi’s could well have been faced with elimination from the tournament before they’d even reached the Super 10 phase of the competition. The Dutch did bowl quite well, however, Mashrafe Mortaza and his side looked anything but convincing in conditions that suit their game to a tee.

Their batsmen – with the exception on Tamim – struggled to time the ball on a slow, low deck in the picturesque Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium in Dharamsala. Nobody, aside from the belligerent opener, managed a score in excess of 15 as they limped to 153. Their bowlers did magnificently well to keep the scoring down, though. Mortaza and Shakib Al Hasan, in particular, bowled well in the middle overs. They will need to be at their best again against the Irish, especially if their top order struggles again.

The Irish will be kicking themselves following their woefully poor display with the ball against the Omanis last time out. Their cause wasn’t helped by the amount of dew on the outfield which made bowling at the death near impossible.

They didn’t perform particularly well with the bat. While all seven of their batsmen got decent starts, none of them managed to push on to a big score. The turning point of the Irish innings came in the sixth over when Paul Stirling – who looked in magnificent touch – was spectacularly caught at extra cover by Zeeshan Maqsood. The catch put the brakes on the Irish innings to some degree, and they never managed to click back into gear.

Their ageing stars don’t look as though they’ll be able to propel this side to the to the Super 10 phase of the competition, which is a shame. They’ve legitimately been the most enjoyable associate nation to watch at the last few flagship ICC events in which they’ve claimed wins over the likes of England and the West Indies.

Verdict: Bangladesh 2/7
Bangladesh should be far too good for this Irish side. The men from the Emerald Isle have already shown that they’re not particularly comfortable against spin, and should be easily strangled by the likes of Shakib, Arafat Sunny and Nasir Hossain – back the Bangladesh win at 2/7. For a bit more value, take Tamim Iqbal to top score for the Bangladeshis at 5/2.

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