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World T20 2021 | Oman vs PNG: Tournament kicks off with a wicket maiden from Bilal Khan

The ICC World T20 2021 began on Sunday in Al Amerat after co-host Oman locked horns with PNG in the first match of the tournament. Oman who opted to bowl first were off to a flying start after Bilal Khan provided them with a breakthrough in the very first over of the innings and bowled a wicket maiden eventually. 

PNG opener Tony Ura chopped on a length delivery from Bilal onto his stumps to go back into the hut for a five-ball duck. While Bilal began the proceedings on a positive note, Kaleemullah replicated his bowling partner’s work in the second over. 

Kaleemullah cleaned up Lega Siaka for 0 on the third delivery of the second over to reduce PNG to 0/2. Siaka tried to pull a delivery from Kaleemullah but it took the inside edge and sent the middle stump for a toss behind the batter. 

Oman will next play Bangladesh on October 19 and Scotland on October 21 respectively while PNG will take on Scotland on October 19 and Bangladesh on October 21 at the same venue. 

The top two teams from both groups will go into the Super 12 stage.  

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World T20 2021 | In group of death, well balanced Namibia could turn out to be the dark horse

It is not often that a team making its debut in a World event is as strong and balanced as the current Namibian side is. The team is full of players who at their day could even be better than the best as far as Associate nations are concerned. With the inclusion of David Weiese, a name that has frequented T20 leagues across the world and is currently bowling like a beast, the Eagles would fancy themselves to cross one hurdle and finish with their best-ever performance in a World Cup. The last time a Namibian team was in the World Cup, was back in 2003 when World Cup was played in the African continent. While that side lost all its games, it surely did inspire kids back home to play the game. And in a country which focuses mainly on Rugby Union, Golf and Athletics, the 2003 Cricket World Cup was a breath of fresh air. But that wasn’t able to carry the team too far as it failed to make it to any other big tournament since. However, in 2018, after a disappointing World Cricket League 2 campaign, which saw them miss out on a spot at the Qualifier for the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019, a wholesome change took place in Namibian Cricket and former Leicestershire coach Pierre de Bruyn was appointed as team’s head coach with former Proteas all-rounder Albie Morkel made his assistant. The team not only got back its ODI status after winning World Cricket League 2 next year but also received full-time contracts for the playing group. The winds of change were finally blowing and those winds took the team to the ICC T20 World Cup 2019 Qualifier in UAE. Namibia's road to World T20 2021 Having been left agonizingly behind in their last three qualifying campaigns for the T20 World Cups, the start that the Namibian team had wasn’t promising whatsoever and looked like it was going to be the same old case once again. But this team was different and it showed exactly why? After losing to the Netherlands and Papua New Guinea, the Gerhard Erasmus led side won four consecutive games to finish third in their group and book a match in the Playoffs Semi-Final. Namibia carried the momentum of the four wins in their Playoffs Semi-final game against Oman, which had had a stellar tournament until their last game in which they lost to Jersey and couldn’t get a direct qualification. Namibia rubbed salts in those Omani wounds as they beat the favourites by a huge margin of 54 runs to book their ticket to the T20 World Cup. It played two more games in the tournament against PNG and Ireland and lost both, but they were irrelevant as the Eagles had already made their flight. Post their qualifying campaign, the blue brigade have played three ODIs and six T20Is. While they won all T20Is, beating teams like UAE, Scotland and PNG, their two World Cup warm-up games have resulted in losses against Oman and Scotland. The David Wiese boost to a strong all-around group The biggest flex of this Nambvian team going into the World Cup is ait’s all-r0unders who could win the game for the team on any given day. While previously it had to be contained with JJ Smit, Jan Frylinck and young leg-spin bowling all-rounder Nicol Loftie-Eaton, it now also has in its arsenal, one of the finest weapons in form of former South African all-rounder David Weise. While Smit and Frylinck’s left arm bowling combined with spinner Bernard Scholtz makes a deadly left-arm combination, the two are also more than good enough with the bat having to their name half-centuries in T20Is and strike rates that are decent enough. In fact, Smit strikes at more than 150 and his sixes are a spectacle to watch. Add to that the impact of Wiese, who has taken 24 T20I and strikes at 143.52 in international T20Is, the Namibian all-round department suddenly becomes lethal. Apart from his international exposure against big-ticket teams, the 36-year-old’s experience of more than 260 T20Is, which he has played across all big leagues such as IPL, PSL, BBL and The Hundred, could very well be converted into wins in pressure situations. The ambitions This Namibian team has done some great things coming into the tournament and they are here to get to the second round as their biggest motivation. With the likes of Albie Morkel, David Weise and coach Pierre de Bruyn by their side, who have achieved great things earlier and know how to get off the cliff at the time of the pressure, the skipper Erasmus’ ‘big day’ motivation move might just take them past the qualifying round. Can they do it? For Namibia to qualify, the biggest hurdle is in the form of the Netherlands and Ireland because beating Sri Lanka might not be that easy, but it is not to say that they can’t beat them. The Eagles play their first game against Sri Lanka and learning from the mistakes that they make in this one, they could try and win the next two and make it to the Super 12. It is as simple as that. Although they have not beaten both Ireland and Netherlands in past, it does not mean that they can’t beat them. Namibia T20 World Cup Squad Gerhard Erasmus (c), Stephen Baard, Karl Birkenstock, Michau du Preez, Jan Frylinck, Zane Green, Nicol Lofie-Eaton, Bernard Scholtz, Ben Shikongo, JJ Smit, Ruben Trumpelmann, Michael van Lingen, David Wiese, Craig Williams, Picky Ya France Reserves: Mauritius Ngupita Namibia T20 World Cup fixtures 18 Oct Namibia v Sri Lanka 20 Oct Namibia v the Netherlands 22 Oct Namibia v Ireland


Bangladesh vs Scotland Preview - Its David vs Goliath on Day 1 in the ICC T20 World Cup

It has not even been 48 hours since the completion of the Indian Premier League, and here we are, in the grandest stage of all. Feels weird, doesn't it? With very little time to bounce back, it might be a little difficult for the viewers to shake the IPL off and accommodate themselves into the setting of the T20 World Cup, but if the players can, so can we. Gone are the playoffs, the league stage, the T20 World Cup offers a different feel to the tournament. There is a qualifiers stage, then a super 12 and semi-final and finals. Read more about that here. The inaugural day of the tournament starts with the qualifier or the first round of the tournament. Two groups of four teams each are going to go at each other’s throats and only 2 teams from each group can move into the next round of the tournament, the Super 12. While newcomers Oman and Papua New Guinea fight it out in the inaugural game of Group A, veterans Bangladesh and Scotland are going to face each other in a crucial match in Group B. This opening game could not have been more important given the team winning this encounter will be virtually assured of a spot in the next phase of the tournament. Bangladesh come into the match as clear favourites and the more established of the two teams. They have defeated Australia and New Zealand in back to back T20I series in their own home and are currently enjoying their best period of T20 cricket. However, any intuitive watcher of the game would tell you that the pitches Bangladesh produced in Dhaka has a hell and heaven difference from the ones that they are going to get in the UAE and Oman. And this is ratified by their recent outings against Ireland and Srilanka where they lost both matches. While it could once again be argued that they did not have a full-strength team in either of those, but not having Shakib al Hasan and Mahmudullah Riyad should be an excuse to losing against teams who have not done anything of significance in the run-up to the World Cup in the context of world cricket. Scotland on the other hand will wear the badge of underdogs and go up against a team that are clear favourites in the first round of the tournament. However, they have punched above their weight before and they can certainly punch above their weight again. While Bangladesh have lost two on the bounce, Scotland have clinically ticked off Netherlands and Namibia in their warm-up games. Their star player George Munsey looked in good touch against Namibia scoring 67 runs off just 41 balls, and if he gets going, he has the potential to get Bangladesh in trouble. Match Details Scotland vs Bangladesh Match Number - 2 Date & Time - 17 October, 7:30 PM IST (6 PM local) Venue - Oman Cricket Academy Ground, Al Amerat Broadcast & Stream - Star Sports network, Disney+Hotstar Pitch Report Given this is the early phase of the tournament, one can expect a good batting wicket. But the pitches in these parts of the world have a reputation of gripping as the match goes on. We have already seen dew playing a big part in the night games in the UAE and this one should be no different. Win the toss and bowl first should be a safe bet to go with. Players to watch out for Scotland George Munsey Munsey stays low and Munsey hits big. The left-hander opening batter is recently coming off a big score against Namibia. Munsey is known as a risk-taker in the early part of the innings and his international strike rate of 153.4 is a testament to that. If he is on song, he can do a lot of damage to the Bangladeshi bowling line-up. Calum MacLeod The 32-year-old all-rounder is in a rich vein of form over the last couple of months and has contributed heavily to Scotland. His team might have had to take a tough route into the WC, but he has been on song with both bat and ball. Bangladesh Shakib al Hasan Freshly back from the final of the Indian Premier League, Shakib al Hasan does not need an introduction. Despite staying away from any form of cricket for a year, Shakib has been undroppable in Bangladesh and the KKR set-up. Bangladesh would really hope that they can use him right and extract as much as they can from him in this WC. Mustafizur Rahman Sports analyst Jarrod Kimber calls Mustafizur the ‘unicorn of cricket’. And he is. He possesses the rare talent of bowling off-spin deliveries at 135 kilometres per hour. He has taken 14 wickets in this edition of the Indian Premier League and while it was being played in India, Fizz seemed to be a mystery to the opposition batters. The pitches in the UAE and Oman should aid his skillset and Bangladesh would hope that their strike bowler can storm themselves into the main draw of the tournament. Bangladesh Probable XI Mohammad Naim, Liton Das, Shakib al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah, Afif Hossain, Nurul Hasan (wk), Mahedi Hasan, Mohammad Saifuddin, Nasum Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman Scotland Probable XI George Munsey, Kyle Coetzer, Richie Berrington, Calum Macleod, Matt Cross (wk), Michael Leask, Mark Watt, Josh Davey, Chris Greaves, Brad Wheal, Safyaan Sharif CE Fantasy XI Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Liton Das, Shakib al Hasan (vc), George Munsey, Calum Macleod (c), Mahmudullah, Richie Berrington, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mark Watt, Nasum Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman