The CWC League 2 caravan moves on to Oman for the first time as the Sultanate hosts Namibia and UAE for the first tri-series of 2020 in the ICC’s new ODI league on the road to the 2023 World Cup.
All three sides have come off one of the more memorable years in their respective cricketing histories; Oman and Namibia both clawed their way back from WCL2 to attain ODI status, claiming places in CWC League 2, and each qualified for the T20 World Cup, while UAE’s 2019 will be remembered for more distressing reasons, with five male players currently suspended in relation to a match-fixing scandal which broke merely days before the T20 World Cup Qualifier in October.
Each team has played the single round each thus far. Namibia (vs. PNG/USA) and Oman (vs. PNG/Scotland) have only dropped the one match each in their away tours, both have 6 points. UAE, who hosted their first series in December against Scotland & USA, is on 3 points after the single win and a no result.
With a maximum of eight points on offer for each team per round, the table-topping USA – currently on 12 points after 2 completed rounds – is within reach of Namibia and the hosts.
Three of the players who featured in UAE’s win over Scotland, Jonathon Figy, wicketkeeper Vriitya Aravind, and Karthik Meiyappan will travel to South Africa immediately after the series in Oman, joining the rest of the squad for the Under 19 World Cup.
UAE will be hoping Darius D’Silva‘s all-round performances continue, alongside the batting form of Chirag Suir and Mohammed Usman, and the everlasting fight from Rohan Mustafa
On the back of his 136 against the USA, Namibia’s JP Kotze sits fifth on League 2’s runs tally, with his 221 coming at 55.25.
Their leading three wicket-takers are all left-arm bowlers; Zhivago Groenwald the best with 11 scalps at 11.81 but he has not been included in the squad for Oman, while Bernard Scholtz (8 @ 14.37) and Jan Frylick (5 @ 20.6), completing the triad, will lead the attack in Oman. Skipper Gerard Erasmus, the ICC’s Player of the Tournament at the T20 World Cup Qualifier, won’t be short on bowling options though, with three of the top 7 batters including himself, JJ Smit and Craig Williams all genuine all-rounders, which opens up the options for who is selected to complete the attack, with options including young tearaway quick Ben Shikongo or orthodox spinner Pikka Ya France.
Oman legspinner Khawar Ali (9 @ 14.88) leads the way with the ball thus far, having also accumulated 125 runs atop the order, while his skipper, the unflappable Zeeshan Maqshood’s left-arm spin collected 6 wickets in Aberdeen during League 2’s inaugural tri-series.
While Aaqib Illyas’ highest score of 63 is a long way behind JP Kotze’s, his accompanying scores of 41, 61, and 45 contributing to his 210 at 52.5 have been more consistent. Being yet another Omani spinning all-rounder, he has also taken 5 wickets with his off-spin.
With all but 2 of 13 of December’s CWC Challenge League B matches in Oman being won by the team chasing, it would be reasonable to expect teams winning the toss will look to bowl first in the early morning conditions, with play starting at 10am local time.
ICC Men’s CWC League 2 table
Standings after Round 3.
Oman Squad: Zeeshan Maqsood (captain), Khawar Ali, Ahmed Fayyaz Butt, Sanuth Ebrahim, Sandeep Goud, Aqib Ilyas, Kaleemullah, Bilal Khan, Suraj Kumar, Muhammed Nadeem, Muhammed Naseem, Jay Odedra, Baadal Singh, Jatinder Singh.
Namibia Squad: Gerhard Erasmus (Captain), Stephen Baard, Karl Birkenstock, Jan-Izak De Villiers, Jan Frylinck, Zane Green, JP Kotze, Nicol Loftie-Eaton, Mauritius Ngupita, Bernard Scholtz, Ben Shikongo, JJ Smit, Craig Williams, Pikky Ya France.
UAE Squad: Ahmed Raza (Captain), Waheed Ahmed, Vriitya Aravind, Darius D’Silva, Zawar Farid, Jonathan Figy, Basil Hameed, Zahoor Khan, Karthik Meiyappan, Rohan Mustafa, CP Rizwan, Junaid Siddique, Chirag Suri, Mohammed Usman.
CWC League 2: Oman Namibia UAE Schedule
All matches start at 10am at Al Amerat, Oman Academy No. 1
Sunday January 5 – Oman v UAE
Monday January 6 – UAE v Namibia
Wednesday January 8 – Oman v Namibia
Thursday January 9 – Oman v UAE
Saturday January 11 – UAE v Namibia
Sunday January 12 – Oman v Namibia
At this stage, as far as we are aware, there will be no live stream.