Canada Controls Own Destiny in Bid to Reach 2020 Men’s T20 World Cup

Canada’s Goal : Win Last Two Group Games To Reach T20 World Cup Finals
This summer before the Cricket Ontario Under-18 Regional Final, former West Indies international Larry Gomes spoke of cricket being an individual sport where the individuals need to come together and blend as a team to achieve success. Words that come to mind in summarizing the Mens T20 World Cup Qualifying tournament, currently being played in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Fourteen countries, including Canada, are competing for six berths in next year’s ICC Mens T20 World Cup in Australia. The fourteen teams are separated into two groups of seven in the initial round-robin stage. Canada is in Group B along with Ireland, UAE, Oman, Hong Kong, Jersey and Nigeria. The ICC imposed a ban from ICC events earlier this year, so Zimbabwe was replaced by Nigeria, who finished third in the ICC Africa T20 Regional Championship.
Three Wins and One Loss So Far For Canada
Canada, after wining three matches in Group B, lost for the first time on Thursday (24 October 2019) as Hong Kong won by 32 runs. This loss followed an impressive Canadian win by 10 runs against Ireland, the only ICC Full Member in Group B and earlier victories against Jersey (Canada won by 53 runs) and Nigeria (Canada won by 50 runs). The loss to Hong Kong saw Canada drop into second place behind new leaders Oman (Won 3, Lost 1, NRR 1.123) on net run rate (NRR).
Six of the seven teams in the Group B could win at least three games. Net Run Rate is likely to decide some, possibly all, of the top four. Those finishing second and third in each group have a better chance of securing a berth in Australia via the playoff structure than the fourth-placed country in each group.
On Thursday, for the first time in this tournament, Canada’s Nitish Kumar did not score at least fifty and win the Man-of-the-Match award. But the big picture, using the Larry Gomes approach, is that Canada controls its own destiny. Two wins from the two remaining matches round-robin games against Oman and the UAE would ensure first place in the Group B standings for Canada. First place in the Group automatically brings a place in next year’s Men’s T20 World Cup and a berth in the semi-finals of this T20 World Cup Qualifier.
Admittedly Oman, with two games remaining, has a similar opportunity to win Group B. Oman would need to beat Canada , then on Sunday beat Jersey (Won 2, Lost 2, NRR 0.538 before playing Ireland on Friday) in the last set of Group B matches. But a Canadian win on Friday would restrict Oman to a maximum of 4 wins from 6 games while Canada would rise to 4 wins from 5 games. Four wins should ensure a berth in the Qualifier playoffs.
The UAE (Won 3, Lost 2, NRR 0.656) has only one game remaining but could win 4 games with a win against Canada on Sunday. Again, this is a situation Canada can control by winning the head-to-head match against them. Before playing Oman, Jersey face the only ICC Full Member Country in the group, fifth-placed Ireland (Won 2, Lost 2, NRR 0.265).
Shortly before this tournament, UAE were hit by the suspension of three leading players pending a hearing on corruption charges a few days before this tournament began. The UAE appointed a new captain and brought in three replacement players. Despite these last minute changes, UAE beat Ireland by 5 wickets.
Ireland’s last Group B match is against Nigeria (Won 0, Lost 4, NRR -3.782) on Saturday. Nigeria, third in the ICC Africa Regional Final, replaced Zimbabwe in this T20 Qualifier after ICC suspended Zimbabwe from ICC events earlier this year. Zimbabwe was recently reinstated as an ICC Full Member.
Group A Situation
Six of the countries in Group A head into the last three days of round-robin matches with hopes of winning a place in next year’s T20 World Cup in Australia. After Thursday’s Group A matches, games three countries have three wins: Papua New Guinea, Netherlands and Scotland. Three others have won twice: Kenya, Singapore and Namibia. Bermuda has lost all 5 games to date, and has just one more to played, so is out of contention for a T20 World Cup place.
Canada in UAE as ICC Americas Men’s T20 Regional Champions
Canada is participating in the T20 World Cup Qualifier as 2019 ICC Americas Men’s T20 Regional Champions. The Americas Regional Final was played in Bermuda in August. Canada won twice against both the USA and Cayman Islands but had to settle for one win and a frustrating No Result against Bermuda. Canada was 40 for no wicket from 4 overs, chasing Bermuda’s 82/9 (16 overs) when rain and wet ground conditions prevented further play. Canada had not batted for at least five completed overs, so the game became a No Result.
Bermuda came second in the Americas Regional Final to secure a place in the T20 World Cup Qualifier.
Eddie Norfolk

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