Group B set for an exciting finish with three teams in contention

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20 Oct 2021 | 01:37 PM
authorcricket.com staff

Group B set for an exciting finish with three teams in contention

Scotland's win over Bangladesh has set Group B for an interesting finish that will be decided with last game on the Thursday night

It was not labelled the Group of Death but Scotland’s victory in their opening match against Bangladesh opened a can of worms for the only Test playing nation of the group. It jeopardized Bangladesh’s chances of qualifying to the next round which made things interesting. A victory for Oman on Tuesday night (October 19) would have closed the matters in the group, tossing out the Banglas in one of the biggest results of the Qualifier’s round in the T20 World Cup. 

But another all-round performance from Shakib Al Hasan with handy support from others see them floating in the competition. They now need to beat Papua New Guinea and expect Scotland to beat Oman. In case Oman wins the contest, they will need to fall on the right side of the net run rate which will see both Oman and Bangladesh go though. The net run rate of all the three sides are closely packed together - Oman (+0.613), Scotland (+0.575) and Bangladesh (+0.500) which makes the last day of this group an edge of the seat stuff. Scotland, despite winning their first two games, can still miss out on the Super 12 stage.

Unfortunately, PNG are the only side left behind. They need to beat Bangladesh by a whopping margin and then hope for a Scottish victory over Oman. Anything is possible in T20Is but this might be beyond their reach. 

A humongous task for PNG

PNG’s rise to feature in their first ever senior side World Cup framed the story of the tournament. However, the team from Oceania have been overwhelmed by the occasion. The unity the team has been known for has not transpired on the field. 

The batting has been below par underlined by the lowest batting average in the group - 14.6. Despite an 81-run stand between Assad Vala and Charles Amini, the team was restricted to 129 by Oman in their first match. In the second, they were bowled out for 148 with not much to talk about except Norman Vanua’s 47. 

They are also at the bottom of the bowling charts in their group, by virtue of a 10-wicket defeat against Oman. Out of the eight wickets they have picked, seven go to Kabua Morea and Chad Soper, once again highlighting the lack of comprehensive texture in the unit. 

They now face their toughest task in Bangladesh. PNG’s best chance lies in having a crack at their batting which has seemed shaky at the start. In their two games, Bangladesh have averaged only 13.5 at a run-rate of 4.5 in the batting Powerplay. However, this is a day game which can minimize the help for PNG pacers. But building early pressure over Bangladesh batsmen would be the key. 

That is a test that the Mahmudullah-led side would want to pass, not just batting out the pacers but also scoring runs against them. Since 2020, they average only 21.4 runs per wicket against the pacers in T20Is, the third-lowest amongst all Test playing. Thus, it becomes critical for them to gain some confidence before heading into the main round. Having said that, their first task is to ensure a win and win by a decent margin to improve their chances of a Super 12 spot.

Will Oman move on from the heartbreak? 

It is the Scotland-Oman contest that will decide the eventual winners of this group in the qualifying round. There is little to separate between the two sides except a contrast in batting. 

In this tournament, Scotland have averaged 16.4 with the bat in comparison to Oman’s 28.1. But the numbers are skewed by Oman’s 10-wicket win over PNG and Scotland’s approach towards maximizing their deep batting resources. In fact, Oman’s loss to Bangladesh pinned their dependence on the top-order. This is where the contrast between the two batting units gets clear. 

Besides, Scotland bat deep, as they showcased in their first match where they recovered from 52 for six to post an eventual match-winning total of 140 runs. The bowling numbers, be it pace or spin or the phase of the innings are quite similar. But Chris Greaves can again be tricky for Oman given the skidding nature of his leg-spin. 

Oman will rue missing their chance against Bangladesh. The dropped catches made a difference alongside momentary lapse in the bowling which cost them later in the run chase. All those things would need to be mended. 

Oman have never beaten Scotland in T20 cricket, facing them five times since 2012. One thing that works in their favor is that they have the best net run rate in the group. For them, it is simply about a win. Scotland, on the other hand, need a third win to be on the safer side. 


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Oman vs ScotlandBangladesh vs Papua New GuineaICC World Twenty20, 2021BangladeshPapua New GuineaOmanScotlandShakib Al HasanAssad ValaCharles AminiChad SoperKabua Morea

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