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A lowdown on the ICC World Cricket League Division Two

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ICC_World_Cricket_League_Division_Two_CricketThe upcoming ICC World Cricket League Division Two, to be played in Namibia from April 20 to 27, is set to be the last edition of the WCL as we have known it. Having been one of the most hard-fought Associate tournaments over the years, the multi-divisional WCL will make way for two new tournaments – the ICC Cricket World Cup League Two and the ICC Cricket World Cup Challenge League – that are slated to start in July as qualification paths for the 2023 World Cup.

There is a lot at stake in the WCL’s final fling, which features Papua New Guinea, Hong Kong, Canada, Namibia, Oman and the United States. The top four teams will gain ODI status and join Scotland, Nepal and the United Arab Emirates in the Cricket World Cup League Two, while the bottom two will enter the 12-team Cricket World Cup Challenge League. As we look forward to what promises to be a highly competitive tourney, here is a look at how the six teams stack up.

Papua New Guinea (ninth in 2018 World Cup Qualifier)

Papua New Guinea endured the disappointment of losing their four-year-old ODI status after a ninth-place finish in the ten-team World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe last year, but with an unquestionably talented side at their disposal, they will start among the frontrunners for the title in Namibia. Under the captaincy of Assad Vala, the Barramundis will be raring to show that their demotion from the ODI club was but a blip in their journey towards being a force to reckon with.

Captain: Asad Vala
Coach: Joe Dawes
Key players: Tony Ura (opening batsman) and Norman Vanua (medium pacer)

List A head-to-head

v Hong Kong: Played 11, Won 6, Lost 5
v Canada: Played 1, Won 0, Lost 1
v Namibia: Played 5, Won 3, Lost 2
v Oman: Played 1, Won 1, Lost 0
v USA: Played 1, Won 0, Lost 1

Hong Kong (tenth in 2018 World Cup Qualifier)

Like Papua New Guinea, Hong Kong also ceased to become a permanent ODI side after the World Cup Qualifier. Despite having the satisfaction of beating eventual winners Afghanistan in the group stage, Hong Kong ultimately ended up with the wooden spoon. However, they staged a creditable turnaround a few months later by qualifying for the Asia Cup in the UAE, where they gave India a serious run for their money in a challenging chase of 286, before losing by 26 runs.

Captain: Anshuman Rath
Coach: Simon Cook
Key players: Anshuman Rath (opening batsman) and Babar Hayat (top-order batsman)

List A head-to-head

v Papua New Guinea: Played 11, Won 5, Lost 6
v Canada: Played 1, Won 1, Lost 0
v Namibia: Played 4, Won 2, Lost 2
v Oman: Yet to play
v USA: Yet to play

Canada (third in 2018 WCL Division Two)

Canada lost their long-held ODI status in 2013-14, but came agonisingly close to regaining it last year, as they went down to Nepal by one wicket in what was a must-win clash for both teams in the WCL Division Two. A year later, they have a golden opportunity to not only become an ODI nation again, but also embark upon the road to redemption – Canada are the only side in the fray to have contested at the World Cup at least twice ( they played in 1979, 2003, 2007 and 2011).

Captain: Davy Jacobs
Coach: Monty Desai
Key players: Nikhil Dutta (off-spinner) and Srimantha Wijeyeratne (top-order batsman)  

List A head-to-head

v Papua New Guinea: Played 1, Won 1, Lost 0
v Hong Kong: Played 1, Won 0, Lost 1
v Namibia: Played 9, Won 5, Lost 4
v Oman: Played 3, Won 3, Lost 0
v USA: Played 2, Won 1, Lost 1

Namibia (fourth in 2018 WCL Division Two)

For the second consecutive year, Namibia find themselves in a WCL Division Two tournament at home with ODI status on the line, and they will certainly be aiming for a considerably better showing than last year’s campaign, when they finished fourth. Home advantage has quite often been a significant factor at the World Cricket League, and the African side would do well to make the most of it if they are to reach the ODI level for the first time since the 2003 World Cup.    

Captain: Gerhard Erasmus
Coach: Pierre de Bruyn
Key players: Bernard Scholtz (left-arm spinner) and Jan Frylinck (middle-order batsman)

List A head-to-head

v Papua New Guinea: Played 5, Won 2, Lost 3
v Hong Kong: Played 4, Won 2, Lost 2
v Canada: Played 9, Won 4, Lost 5
v Oman: Played 4, Won 3, Lost 1
v USA: Played 1, Won 0, Lost 1

Oman (first in 2018 WCL Division Three)

Oman have a bright chance of attaining ODI status for the first time, and their triumph at the WCL Division Three at home in November was further evidence of the commendable progress they have made since 2016, when they were in Division Five. They also made an impact at the Asia Cup Qualifier, defeating Nepal and running the UAE close, even though they finished third. In left-armer Bilal Khan, Oman possess one of the most consistent pacers on the Associate scene.

Captain: Zeeshan Maqsood
Coach: Duleep Mendis
Key players: Bilal Khan (left-arm medium-fast bowler) and Jatinder Singh (opening batsman)

List A head-to-head

v Papua New Guinea: Played 1, Won 0, Lost 1
v Hong Kong: Yet to play
v Canada: Played 3, Won 0, Lost 3
v Namibia: Played 4, Won 1, Lost 3
v USA: Played 1, Won 1, Lost 0

United States of America (second in WCL Division Three)

With the USA reinstated as a member of the ICC in January, the signs are positive for the national team coming into this crucial tournament. The USA recently played their maiden T20Is, against the UAE, and will now strive to seal ODI status as well – they have only played two ODIs thus far, both in the 2004 Champions Trophy. On their tour of the UAE, they gave an indication of their 50-over capabilities by prevailing twice against a strong UAE Men’s first XI.  

Captain: Saurabh Netravalkar
Coach: Pubudu Dassanayake
Key players: Steven Taylor (left-handed top-order batsman and off-spinner) and Ali Khan (fast bowler)

List A head-to-head

v Papua New Guinea: Played 1, Won 1, Lost 0
v Hong Kong: Yet to play
v Canada: Played 2, Won 1, Lost 1
v Namibia: Played 1, Won 1, Lost 0
v Oman: Played 1, Won 0, Lost 1



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Rustom Deboo is a cricket aficionado and freelance writer from Mumbai. He is an ardent devotee of T...

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