Two Go Through

In what is the most open ACC Twenty20 Cup yet, the fourth, and the second to be played in Nepal, two teams will go through to the ICC WorldTwenty20 Qualifier in November. Three-times winners Afghanistan have pre-qualified as an ODI nation and UAE are also through as hosts of the November qualifier. Which leaves two places up for grabs.

In effect, if Afghanistan and UAE are the Finalists then the 3rd- and 4th-placed teams in the nine-day event join them in the global qualifier November, from which two will go up to the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh next March. With standards rising across the region,
Hong Kong’s Munir Dar, with his batting improvisations and left-arm spin was Player of the Tournament in 2011
recent results in both ICC and ACC events cite Nepal as strong contenders for a qualifying spot if not the champions’ spot itself. 100% of the 10,000+ crowd at their matches will be behind them. There is a palbable silence at the ground whenever an opposition team's going well. “The thing is no team wants to go through as a best loser. That’s quite a load to carry into a competition where you’re going to be up against the other global qualifiers,” says ACC Development Officer Aminul Islam.

Afghanistan and UAE are there to be beaten, due to injuries and squad rotation the absolute best first XIs haven’t been sent by them, the selectors feeling that blooding some emerging players will be a useful exercise for the long-term. Nepal, with its increasingly adept aggressors, with its proven spinners, with its tremendous fighting spirit has to be fancied but other teams: Hong Kong, Malaysia, Oman, Singapore are equally matched and Bahrain and Kuwait are perennial dark horses.

ACC Development Manager Bandula Warnapura has been in Kathmandu overseeing preparations for the event. Nepal’s wickets, the conditions, mean that the best time to bat is second in the morning matches, and first in the afternoon matches, the wickets being slow at either end of the day. So, tactical duels between fleet-footed batsmen and crafty spinners are going to determine the result of these Twenty20 matches more than big hitting. Fielding’s going to be vital too. “It’s going to be tough, and that’s how it should be. To get to a World Cup you have to play good cricket in all departments,” says ACC Development Officer Rumesh Ratanayake.

Big prizes await the best.

ACC Twenty20 Cup 2013

Filed March 22nd, 2013