The World T20 final qualifiers this week have produced some quality and competitive cricket and with over half the group games completed only Bermuda and Nigeria out of contention, both win no points so far in their respective groups.
That leaves 12 teams competing for the knock out phase, which is to say the elast complicated. The top team in each group goes straight to the semi-finals. Second and third play off in what are effectively quarter finals to determine the other semi-finalists. All four semi-finalists qualify for Australia. The losing quarter finalists have to face the fourth placed team from the other group in a winner-take-all game in terms of qualification for the finals.
The groups are incredibly tight. Only one team, Papua New Guinea has 8 points following their win over the Netherlands yesterday. There are no fewer than seven teams on 6 points although at the time of writing the Dutch, Oman and Canada have two games to play while the rest have only one.
It is probably fair to say that only PNG and the Netherlands look like definite qualifiers as we stand. The top two in Group A have significantly better net run rates than anyone else in their group. The Dutch play Bermuda tomorrow which should see them also onto 8 points before they play currently third placed Scotland on Sunday morning. Paul van Meerkeren and Roelof van der Merwe v Josh Davey for a semi-final place?
If Scotland are unable to beat the Netherlands they will have to hope that Namibia slip up against Singapore tomorrow as both currently have 6 points and are very close on net run rate.
In Group B Oman and Canada top the table with 6 points each from only 4 games. The two play each other later this (Friday) afternoon with the winner almost certain to qualify. Behind them Ireland, who have been inconsistent in this competition should make it to 8 points tomorrow with a win over bottom placed and pointless Nigeria. Fourth placed UAE must hope not only that Ireland slip up but that they can beat Canada on Sunday.
In terms of individual honours so far Paul van Meekeren has 8 wickets at an average of 9.37 and an economy rate of a fraction over 5, Roelof has 7 at 12,28 and is slightly more expensive at just under 6 per over. Josh Davey also has 8 at 12.87 and is lsightly less parsimonious than the Dutch pair at 6.86 per over. All three are in the battle for the tournament’s leading wicket taker.
Predictions for the four semi-finalists? PNG, Netherlands, Ireland and Oman with Scotland, Canada, Namibia and UAE contesting the final two final berths.