ICC Men’s World T20 Qualifiers Netherlands were crowned champions
After 51 matches over 15 days, 13,422 runs and 685 wickets the Netherlands were crowned champions of the ICC Men’s World T20 Qualifiers.
Pieter Seelaar’s side were worthy winners as they dominated with both bat and ball.
Throughout the competition, they were able to keep wickets intact, losing only 40 wickets in their nine matches over the course of the tournament, scoring their runs at 31.15 per wicket – way ahead of the next-best, Scotland, back on 25.32.
Whereas they weren’t the fastest scorers – their runs came at 7.43 per over – good enough for fifth place, they scored them quickly enough.
The Netherlands will be joined at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup by Papua New Guinea, Ireland, Namibia, Scotland and Oman, with the six teams joining Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in the first round.
So how are the six teams from these qualifiers looking ahead of the tournament in Australia next year?
The Netherlands dominated the bowling tables. They took their wickets at just 13.80 runs apiece, better than all the other teams in the competition.
In fact, the six qualifiers had the best six combined bowling averages in the competition as a whole, pointing to the fact that perhaps it is bowlers who win matches – and that taking wickets is as important in the shortest form of the international game as in the longer forms.
The Netherlands were also the only team to concede fewer than six runs per over during the competition – going at just 5.93. 45 per cent of all the deliveries they bowled were also dot balls, top of all the teams.
Papua New Guinea
If the Netherlands can look to their bowling attack to win them matches, then PNG can point to their fielding.
During their nine matches in the tournament they only dropped three catches and had a 91.4 per cent success rate in this area of the game.
PNG were also second in terms of runs per over conceded at 6.13, but they only conceded boundaries to 8.94 per cent of all the balls they bowled, better than all the other sides.
Catches win matches on the cricket field and if PNG want success next year, holding onto full and half-chances will be vital.
Ireland’s strength was their consistency – they were not outstanding with either bat or ball, but they were consistent across all areas.
Their batting was slightly stronger than their bowling and they also scored from 69 per cent of all the deliveries they faced – a higher proportion than any of the other sides in the competition.
Individually in Paul Stirling they had the highest run scorer at the tournament, with the opener scoring 291 runs from his eight matches at an average of 41.57.
Gerhard Erasmus was named Player of the Tournament and his 268 runs across the nine matches at an average of 38.28 helped Namibia recover from difficult start to finish strongly.
Namibia’s bowlers propped up their batsmen, taking wickets at 15.30 runs apiece, while their batsman struggled relatively, scoring at just 19.00 runs per wicket.
With talented batsmen and exciting bowlers, they will certainly be worth watching in Australia next year.
Scotland were the fastest scorers over the entire tournament, achieving a run-rate of 8.28 per over, more than half-a run per over better than next-best Ireland.
The Scots also boasted six individual scores of fifty or more, more than any other side and also topped the boundary stakes, striking a four or six from 15.67 per cent of all the deliveries they faced.
On the down side, Scotland’s bowlers were relatively expensive, in 11th place, conceding 7.53 runs per over, but their batsmen were able to make up for those particular shortfalls to help them to qualification.
Excitement is definitely in store when Kyle Coetzer’s side come to town.
The sixth and final side to book their place for The Big Dance next year were Oman. And they secured their qualification without dominating with either bat or ball, consistency instead proving key.
They will hope to build on their success in the 2016 competition in India, where they defeated Ireland at Dharamsala and missed out on the chance to qualify for the main competition when their match with the Netherlands at the same venue was washed out.