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Six players to watch out for at WCL Division Two 2019

A bruising timer of the ball, one of the best death bowlers in Associate cricket, an offspinner, a legspinner are among our six picks



Stephan Baard (Namibia)
Baard has had multiple stints as the men's captain but has often batted with more freedom when not saddled with leadership responsibilities. A bruising timer of the ball, Baard's performances in the top order were sometimes overshadowed by big-hitting openers such as Louis van der Westhuizen and Gerrie Snyman. He has two List A centuries and he top-scored with 78 off 53 balls in an upset of Scotland in the summer of 2017.
With nine years in the men's team and with van der Westhuizen and Snyman off the scene, Baard, 26, is an indispensable veteran presence in the batting unit, along with his exceptional slip fielding.
Cecil Pervez (Canada)
The 34-year-old produced an exceptional performance through the same tournament last year leading up to the final-over loss against Nepal. Tasked with defending seven runs, Pervez faltered on the fifth ball after starting with four pinpoint yorkers. Before that, he had wiped out Nepal's top three, including captain Paras Khadka for a golden duck.
A fiery competitor, Pervez doesn't have express pace but gets breakthroughs with the new ball. With the old, he is one of the best death bowlers in Associate cricket because of his yorkers.
Ehsan Khan (Hong Kong)
One of the unsung heroes in Hong Kong's line-up since making his debut in 2016, the offspinner has regularly contributed economical and incisive spells. Ehsan's career-best 5 for 17 had wiped out Nepal to keep Hong Kong in the hunt for the WCL Championship in late 2017. More recently, his four-fors against Nepal and UAE in last September's Asia Cup Qualifier helped bowl out both teams for under 100, taking Hong Kong to the main event in the UAE.
With Nadeem Ahmed out indefinitely after being suspended on anti-corruption charges, Ehsan is now the biggest threat in Hong Kong's bowling unit.
Nadeem's initial contributions in 2014 were mainly nuggets in the lower middle order and some part-time medium pace. But he now comes on the back of career-best form with both bat and ball having played crucial roles in wins over ODI nations Scotland and UAE.
A day after they had been bowled out for 24, Nadeem top-scored with 64 at No. 4 before taking three wickets to decimate Scotland's chase. Six weeks later his 57 stabilised Oman again in their two-wicket win over UAE while chasing 254. Nadeem's continued success will allow captain Zeeshan Maqsood and Aqib Ilyas to resume their naturally aggressive strokeplay.
Charles Amini (Papua New Guinea)
Amini's absence from cricket from 2016 to 2018 while pursuing studies coincided with PNG's dip in form in the WCL Championship, when they lost four of their final six matches without him to go from first place to fourth.
Amini is primarily a legspinner and can be dangerous when conditions are in his favour as evidenced by career-best List A figures of 6 for 19 against Uganda at the World Cup Qualifiers in 2014. He is also capable of key lower-order cameos, something PNG may need to rely on him for.
There are far more heralded names in USA's line-up but arguably no one is more vital to their batting and their overarching success than Barbados-contracted Jones, the second-youngest player in the squad at age 24.
At WCL Division Three in November, it wasn't just that he was their leading scorer with 200 runs in five innings but how he made those runs. He top-scored in pressure situations against both Denmark and Kenya.
Last month against Lancashire and UAE, he showed his unflappability in chasing scenarios, seeing USA across the line on both occasions with unbeaten half-centuries. In a team full of explosive six-hitters, Jones demonstrates more solid fundamentals and old-fashioned grinding.

Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo's USA correspondent @PeterDellaPenna