World T20: 12 March Preview

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

Qualification Group B will be decided on Saturday afternoon when Zimbabwe and Afghanistan go head to head in a match that will see the winner join England, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the West Indies in Group 1 of the Super 10.

That game will immediately be followed by Hong Kong vs Scotland, with both teams looking to avoid the wooden spoon.

Afghanistan 21/20 | Draw 35/1 | Zimbabwe 8/10
The Afghans claimed their second victory of the qualification phase of the tournament with a convincing six-wicket win over Hong Kong on Thursday evening. That result saw the Asians take one step closer to reaching the hallowed ground of the Super 10s.

Mohammad Nabi was the star of the show last time out. The 31-year-old off-spinner claimed figures of 4-20 on a wicket that offered plenty of assistance for the slower bowlers. In truth, though, the entire Afghan attack did magnificently well to strangle the Hong Kong top and middle order as they stumbled to 116-6 in their 20 overs. It was never going to be enough against a fired-up Afghan side who only needed to score at 5.80 to the over to claim victory.

They got off to the ideal start in their chase with Mohammad Shahzad and Noor Ali Zadran putting on 70 for the first wicket before the former was caught by Ryan Campbell off the bowling Anshurman Rath. By that point, however, it was pretty much game over as the middle order guided the Afghans home with more than four overs to spare.

Zimbabwe have Sean Williams to thank for their victory over Scotland on Thursday afternoon. The all-rounder played a magnificent innings, scoring a 36-ball 53. What was most impressive, however, was the control he showed in putting his score together. He came in with his side in a bit of trouble at and immediately stamped his authority on the game, picking off singles at will and punishing the odd bad ball.

The Zimbabweans would eventually finish on 147-7, which isn’t a particularly bad score considering how difficult batting was on the Nagpur deck. They appeared to be cruising, having reduced the Scots to 42-5 after eight overs. There was some late resistance from Richie Berrington and Preston Mommsen who gave the Africans a bit of a scare, however, they never managed to fully recover from their top order collapse and bowed out of contention for the Super 10 phase of the competition.

Verdict: Zimbabwe 8/10
Both teams have looked good so far, however, Zimbabwe’s rich abundance of power hitters in the top and middle order give them the edge here. Back the southern Africans to book their place in the Super 10 phase of the competition.

Hong Kong 27/20 | Draw 35/1 | Scotland 6/10
Hong Kong have endured a disappointing tournament thus far, losing their first game against Zimbabwe by 14 runs before being comprehensively outplayed by Afghanistan in their second match. They’ve simply not looked up to scratch thus far and would have been absolutely walloped if they advanced to the Super 10 phase of the tournament.

To be quite honest, the Hong Kongers never looked like getting out of the qualifying stages in the lead-up to the World T20. The odds were well and truly stacked against them, having been drawn against Zimbabwe and Afghanistan – two of the best teams in the qualifiers.

They’ll come up against a Scottish team that will have been bitterly disappointed with their performances so far – especially on the opening day of the of the tournament where they lost to Afghanistan in Nagpur. It was always going to be an uphill battle from then on as they needed to win both of their remaining games convincingly in order to even have a shot at getting through to the tournament proper.

Despite putting in a spirited display against the Zimbabweans on Thursday the Scot's were unable to get a positive result; going down by 11 runs to the southern Africans. Preston Mommsen and his side will be playing for pride now against a Hong Kong outfit who don’t look as if they could buy a win in this tournament.

Verdict: Scotland 6/10
Scotland haven’t been particularly bad in the qualifying round of the World T20, they’ve just come up against some very strong teams in the form of Afghanistan and Zimbabwe. Back them to claim the win and avoid Group B’s wooden spoon at 6/10.

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