The opening round of Group B was one of the more exciting days of cricket you’re likely to see, with both games going down to the wire. Hot favourites Bangladesh clung on to a narrow victory over Netherlands, thanks almost exclusively to the bat of Tamim Iqbal.
We had barely caught our breath when Oman produced a huge upset to defeat a heavily fancied Irish side by 2 wickets with just a couple of balls to spare.
Ireland must pick themselves up after that loss and produce a better performance against the Bangladeshis in order to avoid being eliminated from the competition after just two games. The same goes for Peter Borren’s Dutch team who now face an Oman side brimming with confidence.
Bangladesh v Ireland
Ireland’s loss to Oman means they have no margin for error and are relying on others in order to progress. First they must beat their opponents in this format for the first time since 2009. To do so they’ll need to bowl a lot better than they did against Oman, especially at the death.
Bangladesh may have won, but their own bowlers are under scrutiny for very different reasons after both Taskin Ahmed and Arafat Sunny had their actions cited on Day 2. Coach Chandika Hathurusingha was understandably livid and the issue has the potential to unsettle his squad.
Tamim Iqbal (Bangladesh): Iqbal’s unbeaten 83 against Netherlands was the innings of the tournament so far and got his side just enough runs to stave off the men in Orange.
The opening batsman has long been capable of producing match winning performances even against the big sides, but he can lack consistency. If he finds a purple patch in this tournament Bangladesh have the potential to go a long way.
Kevin O’Brien (Ireland): As one of Ireland’s senior players O’Brien needs to step up in a big way for the next two games. We all know about his incredible power from the magical century he produced against England in the 2011 World Cup, but he needs to produce with the ball as well given Ireland’s deficiency in that area against Oman.
Netherlands v Oman
Both sides will feel very differently about their opening round performances. Netherlands could and maybe should have won against Bangladesh, while Oman recovered from being in an extremely bleak position with six overs to go to snatch a victory against Ireland, thanks primarily to some lusty hitting from Amir Ali. Nonetheless they will go into this game as underdogs once again.
Tim van der Gugten (Netherlands): van der Gugten (3/21) and Paul van Meekeren (2/17) both bowled superbly against Bangladesh and had they received a little more help from those around them Netherlands would have won comfortably. Nonetheless the performance marked him out as a bowler to watch for the rest of the group stage.
Zeeshan Maqsood (Oman): Maqsood hit an impressive quick-fire 38 while opening against Ireland suggesting he could be the one to play an Iqbal type innings in this one. The Netherlands bowlers struggled a bit at the start of Bangladesh’s innings and Oman will need to take advantage of any loose during the power play.