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Feature

Living the World Cup dream: Netherlands and Namibia eye bigger prey and greater glory

Get to know the 2024 World Cup teams: Canada, Namibia, Netherlands, Oman and Scotland

26-May-2024
Dilon Heyliger gets hugs from Ruvindu Gunasekera and Bhavindu Adhihetty after taking his first wicket, Canada v Oman, ICC World Cricket League Division Two, Windhoek, February 8, 2018

Medium-pacer Dilon Heyliger is one of 12 players aged 30 or more in Canada's T20 World Cup squad  •  Peter Della Penna

Canada

by Hemant Brar
Canada booked their ticket to the 2024 T20 World Cup by topping the Americas Region Qualifier, a tournament that had Bermuda, Cayman Islands and Panama as the other teams.
In a winner-takes-all game, they beat hosts Bermuda by 39 runs and qualified for the World Cup on the basis of a superior net run rate. That was in October 2023, though, and their recent form has not been great. Last month, they visited the USA for a five-match T20I series and were beaten 4-0.
This will be Canada's first appearance at a T20 World Cup. Spin-bowling allrounder Saad Bin Zafar will lead the 15-member squad, which has only three players under the age of 30.
Canada are in Group A and will face USA in the tournament opener in Dallas on June 1. India, Pakistan and Ireland are the other teams in their group.
Key players
Saad Bin Zafar a left-arm spinner and a left-hand batter, has been playing for Canada since 2008. One of the big games of his career was the final of the 2018 Global T20 Canada, where he took 2 for 26 and scored an unbeaten 79 off 48 balls to be the Player of the Match. Following that, he was called up by St Kitts & Nevis Patriots as a replacement player for the CPL 2018 playoffs. In 2021, he registered figures of 4-4-0-2 against Panama in a T20I.
Aaron Johnson, originally from Jamaica, is a powerful opening batter who loves playing no-look shots. The 33-year-old made his T20I debut for Canada in 2022. In 16 games so far, he has two hundreds, five half-centuries, an average of 50.92 and a strike rate of 166.58.
Kaleem Sana, a left-arm seamer, can swing the new ball and bowl yorkers at the death. He started his cricket in Pakistan, and even dismissed Babar Azam in his last first-class match, in 2014. In that do-or-die game against Bermuda, he was the Player of the Match for his figures of 3 for 4.
Canada in major tournaments
While this is the first time Canada are playing in a T20 World Cup, they have participated in the ODI version four times, in 1979, 2003, 2007 and 2011. Across 18 games there, they registered two wins: against Bangladesh in 2003 and against Kenya in 2011.
Form guide*
LLLLW
Squad
Saad Bin Zafar (capt), Aaron Johnson, Dilon Heyliger, Dilpreet Bajwa, Jeremy Gordon, Junaid Siddiqui, Kaleem Sana, Navneet Dhaliwal, Nicholas Kirton, Nikhil Dutta, Pargat Singh, Ravinderpal Singh, Rayyan Pathan, Rishiv Joshi, Shreyas Movva (wk).

Namibia

by Firdose Moonda
A former German colony and South African protectorate, Namibia has a small but storied history in the game. There is evidence of cricket being played in the desert nation Namibia from the early 1900s, and with greater regularity from the First World War. Organised fixtures have taken place since the 1930s and Namibia's involvement with the South African County Cricket Association from the 1960s ensured there was a fairly strong level of competition and development. Namibia became a member of the ICC in 1992, achieved ODI status in 2018 and have been rising on the T20 circuit in the last four years. After appearing at both the 2021 and 2022 T20 World Cups, Namibia secured their spots for 2024 by winning the Africa regional Qualifier in November last year, where they were unbeaten over six matches. They were the dominant team of that tournament and registered a seven-wicket win over the only Full Member participant - Zimbabwe - and a six-wicket victory over fellow qualifiers Uganda.
Key players
Captain Gerhard Erasmus is Namibia's highest T20I run-scorer, the only batter from the country with more than 1000 runs to his name, and showed his commitment to the national cause when he played the 2021 tournament with a broken finger that necessitated an adjustment to his grip. He finished as Namibia's second-highest run-scorer and his unbeaten 53 helped them beat Ireland and advance to the Super 12s.
While left-arm spinner Bernard Scholtz is Namibia's most successful T20I bowler, they boast a quartet of left-arm seamers for this event - the most among participating teams. Ruben Trumpelmann will lead their attack, supported by Tangeni Lungameni and allrounders Jan Frylinck and JJ Smit provide two other options which gives Namibia one of the most varied and balanced attacks at the tournament.
Namibia in major tournaments
Namibia made their World Cup bow at the 2003 tournament - the last 50-over event to be hosted in Africa - and lost all their six matches. They have an opportunity to improve on that record at the next ODI World Cup, which they are co-hosting, but have to qualify for it first. They have a more recent and positive history at the T20 World Cup and made history when they advanced out of the first round to the Super 12s in the 2021 tournament, where they also beat a Full Member - Ireland - for the first time. They were unable to repeat the feat at the 2022 tournament, despite victory over Sri Lanka, and exited after the first round.
Form guide*
WWLLW
Squad
Gerhard Erasmus (capt), Zane Green, Michael Van Lingen, Dylan Leicher, Ruben Trumpelmann, Jack Brassell, Ben Shikongo, Tangeni Lungameni, Nikolaas Davin, JJ Smit, Jan Frylinck, JP Kotze, David Wiese, Bernard Scholtz, Malan Kruger, Peter-Daniel Blignaut

Netherlands

by Firdose Moonda
The standout Associates of the last two years, Netherlands were the only non Full-Members (other than the co-host USA) to automatically qualify for this event after they finished in the top eight at the 2022 tournament. Since then, they were also the only Associate to play at the 2023 ODI World Cup, ahead of West Indies, Zimbabwe and Ireland, and proved themselves worthy of the biggest stage.
They have been South Africa's banana skins twice, after beating them at the T20 World Cup in 2022 to send them out of the tournament, and then again at the ODI World Cup in 2023, albeit with less dramatic consequences. That they are grouped with them again will only whet the appetites of supporters of the underdog, not least because the Dutch are coached by a South African - Ryan Cook - and have three South African players in their squad. Veteran allrounder Roelof van der Merwe and batter Colin Ackermann are not among them though, as the pair opted out of the tournament to fulfil county commitments. In a nutshell, that's the story of Dutch cricket as it battles to find the sweet spot between competing with as full-strength a side as they can put together and ensuring their players can make a long-term living from the game.
Key players
With shoulder-length locks and a side hustle as a DJ, Max O'Dowd is the rockstar of the Dutch team in stereotype and reality. He is their leading T20I run-scorer and closing in on 2000 runs in the format but will want to improve on a strike rate that sits just above 120 to compete with global greats.
The mantra of 22 twos in a 50-over game was introduced by captain Scott Edwards, who is one of the quickest runners between the wickets and heavily reliant on his sweep shot. He is a busy cricketer and ambitious leader, who will be key to their hopes of competing in the Caribbean.
Netherlands in major tournaments
Netherlands have played in five T20 World Cups since 2009 when they upset England at Lord's. Only once, in the 2021 tournament, have they failed to win a match. They've also participated in five ODI World Cups - 1996, 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2023 - but have only won four out of 29 ODI World Cup matches.
Form guide*
LLLWW
Squad
Aryan Dutt, Bas de Leede, Kyle Klein, Logan van Beek, Max O'Dowd, Michael Levitt, Paul van Meekeren, Scott Edwards (capt/wk), Saqib Zulfiqar, Sybrand Engelbrecht, Teja Nidamanuru, Tim Pringle, Vikramjit Singh, Vivian Kingma, Wesley Barresi

Oman

by Himanshu Agrawal
The 2024 T20 World Cup will be Oman's third appearance in the tournament, and they qualified for it by winning all five games in the 2023 Asia Qualifer, including beating hosts Nepal in a Super Over in the final. In April this year, they reached the final of the ACC Premier Cup under the leadership of 36-year-old Zeeshan Maqsood, but the selectors preferred top-order batter Aqib Ilyas as captain for the World Cup.
Oman played their first official T20I in 2015 and won their second game in the format when they beat Hong Kong later that year, going on to win the series 2-1.
Key players
Zeeshan Maqsood is Oman's highest run-getter and the only one with a T20I century. He also bowls left-arm spin. Maqsood has played in two T20 World Cups.
Batter Aqib Ilyas also bowls offspin and legspin, and was the leading wicket-taker in the ACC Premier Cup.
Seamer Bilal Khan, 37, is Oman's top wicket-taker in T20Is, with 106 wickets at an economy of 6.68. Known for his yorkers, he took five wickets in three matches in the 2021 World Cup and conceded only 4.45 runs an over.
Oman in major tournaments
Oman played in the first round of the 2016 and the 2021 T20 World Cups, and co-hosted the latter with the UAE. In 2016 they beat Ireland and in 2021 they hammered Papua New Guinea by ten wickets, but both times they couldn't make it to the Super 12s.
Form guide*
LLWWL
Squad
Aqib Ilyas (capt), Zeeshan Maqsood, Kashyap Prajapati, Pratik Athavale, Ayaan Khan, Khalid Kail, Shoaib Khan, Mohammad Nadeem, Naseem Khushi, Mehran Khan, Bilal Khan, Rafiullah, Kaleemullah, Fayyaz Butt, Shakeel Ahmad

Scotland

by Vithushan Ehantharajah
Scotland were flawless in the Europe Region Qualifier for the 2024 T20 World Cup winning six from six to finish top of the table. A squad with a number of familiar faces who have plenty of experience in Caribbean conditions carries a fresh, ambitious feel. The presence of fast bowler Brad Wheal (Hampshire) and keeper-batter Michael Jones (Durham) adds some extra heft to the squad. But that is offset by the loss of experienced seamer Josh Davey, who was unavailable for selection.
Key players
Brad Wheal has the kind of skiddiness off the surface that should suit surfaces in the Caribbean.
George Munsey has contributed to some of Scotland's most high-profile wins in the current era, including an unbeaten 66 in the victory over West Indies in the 2022 World Cup. No Scot has more T20I runs since Munsey's debut in June 2015.
Batting allrounder Brandon McMullen has played six of his nine T20I innings at No. 3 and strikes at 147.82 from the position. He also bowls right-arm nibblers, taking 5 for 34 against Ireland in 2023's ODI World Cup Qualifier.
Scotland in major tournaments
This will be Scotland's ninth appearance at a major ICC event and their fourth in a row on the global T20 stage. Their first win at a tournament outright came in their defeat of Hong Kong in 2016. In 2021 they progressed to the main round but they failed to repeat it in 2022.
Form guide*
LWLWL
Squad
Richie Berrington (capt), Matthew Cross, Brad Currie, Chris Greaves, Oli Carter, Jack Jarvis, Michael Jones, Michael Leask, Brandon McMullen, George Munsey, Safyaan Sharif, Chris Sole, Charlie Tear, Mark Watt, Brad Wheal
*In their last five games against teams featuring in the 2024 World Cup