And Then There Were 6 (or 8)Although we are now into the knockout phase of the World T20 qualifiers in the UAE very little has been decided in terms of qualification for Australia next year. All that is certain is that Ireland and Papua New Guinea will be heading down under in 2020 having topped the respective groups of the qualifying round.
The Irish came with a late run to top group B with only four wins from 6 games, a performance that would have only been good enough for third in the other group where the surprise of the tournament PNG pipped the Netherlands by virtue of a slightly better netrun rate.
The Dutch can feel a little aggrieved to miss out on automatic qualification although they gave it a spirited go in trying to chase their victory target in 12,3 overs against Scotland yesterday. Their failure means they now have to beat the UAE tomorrow in the first quarter-final to seal their qualification which all four semi-finalists are rewarded with.
The loser of that game faces Scotland in a play-off for one of the two remaining World Cup final berths while in the other half of the draw the loser of Namibia against Oman will face Hong Kong.
Josh Davey who has been Mr Consistent throughout the tournament will be hoping that Roelof van der Merwe and Paul van Meekeren are none of his concern on Wednesday after their win in the same fixture on Sunday. The Netherlands won by 5 wickets thanks mainly to captain Ryan ten Doeschate’s unbeaten 50 but they almost tripped up when they slid to 31-3 trying to score at a shade over 10 an over to overtake PNG. In truth Scotland were never in a contest that saw their batsman dominated by the Dutch bowlers.
Van Meekeren (12) and vn der Merwe (10) were the leading wicket-takers for the Netherlands and both were impressively economical at under 6 an over while Davey was a shade more expensive for his 9 wickets.
It is not entirely clear from the information available who will play who in the semi-finals but Ireland v Netherlands would be an enticing prospect and the winner of that would be a tough opponent for PNG in Saturday’s final assuming PNG are too strong for Oman or Namibia.