Netherlands

By Hemant Brar

Path to the World Cup
Having participated in the 2016 T20 World Cup, Netherlands got a direct entry into the T20 World Cup Qualifier, where they won five out of six league games and then trounced UAE in the playoffs to seal a World Cup spot. They went on to win the Qualifier, beating Papua New Guinea in the final.

Peak in cricket (so far)
Beating England at Lord's in a last-ball thriller at the 2009 T20 World Cup, and then repeating the feat in the 2014 edition with a 45-run victory in Chattogram. Another high was chasing down 190 in 13.5 overs against Ireland in Sylhet, also in the 2014 edition.

Players to watch
Ryan ten Doeschate: He was the second-highest run scorer for Netherlands in the Qualifier. A year later, he topped the run charts for Essex at the 2020 Vitality Blast. Although his recent form hasn't been great, and he no longer bowls in T20, the 41-year-old will be determined to make an impact in what will be his last tournament.

Roelof van der Merwe: Another globe-trotting veteran, van der Merwe can change the complexion of a match with both his lower-order hitting and left-arm spin. In this year's Vitality Blast, he picked up 11 wickets in seven games at an economy of 7.19 in Somerset's run to the final. This will be his fourth T20 World Cup; the first two came for South Africa.

Paul van Meekeren: A tall fast bowler who can touch 140kph, van Meekeren also possesses a handy slower ball. Earlier this year, in his debut CPL season, he picked up eight wickets in as many games at an economy of 7.93 for St Kitts and Nevis Patriots, the eventual champions.

How far might they go?
Netherlands are paired with Sri Lanka, Ireland and Namibia in Group A, from where the top two teams will qualify for the Super 12s. If they can beat Ireland in their opening game, they should make it to the next round, given they are favourites against Namibia. Anything beyond that will be a miracle.

Namibia

By Peter Della Penna

Path to the World Cup
Namibia went undefeated in the Africa Regional Finals to earn a trip to the T20 World Cup Qualifier. After two defeats to Netherlands and PNG forced their backs to the wall at the start of group play, Namibia rallied for five straight wins to clinch a spot in their maiden T20 World Cup.

Peak in cricket (so far)
Qualifying for the 2003 World Cup, where they went winless. More recently, they achieved ODI status by winning the 2019 World Cricket League Division Two on home soil.

Players to watch
Gerhard Erasmus: The captain is the spine of the batting order, capable of anchoring the innings or revving up the engine when necessary. In a big win over Singapore in the World Cup Qualifier, he struck four sixes in a 29-run over. He also later showed his class with a half-century against Ireland. Erasmus bowls more than handy offspin and is also Namibia's best fielder.

JJ Smit: The 25-year-old allrounder's value as batter and bowler is at the death. He does not bowl at express pace but is accurate with his yorkers. He has also turned many middling totals into challenging ones with his belligerent striking, such as in his 59 off 25 balls with five sixes in a win over Oman that clinched their spot at the World Cup.

Bernard Scholtz: Namibia's all-time leading wicket-taker in first-class and T20 cricket, Scholtz is not a big turner of the ball but relentlessly probes away with accuracy to build pressure that results in breakthroughs both for him and anyone bowling in tandem. He was the Player of the Tournament in the 2015 T20 World Cup Qualifier, and had the most wickets among spinners at the 2019 Qualifier.

How far might they go?
Namibia have drawn the short straw, getting paired with former world champions Sri Lanka, along with Ireland and Netherlands, both of whom they lost to in the T20 World Cup Qualifier by wide margins. It will be an uphill battle to advance to the Super 12s.

Scotland

By Sruthi Ravindranath

Path to the World Cup
Scotland were the best team going into the 2019 World Cup Qualifier, ranked 11th in T20Is, but had a lacklustre outing, with three wins and three losses in the group stage, eventually finishing fourth on the Group A table. But they won the third qualifying playoff against hosts UAE and clinched their spot at the T20 World Cup for the second straight time.

Peak in cricket (so far)
After failing to qualify for three T20 World Cups in a row, Scotland made it to the 2016 edition after winning the Qualifiers in 2015 (jointly with Netherlands), but exited in the first round after notching up a solitary win, against Hong Kong. They gained their best-ever ranking of No. 11 in T20Is in 2017, and got their first win against England in a one-off ODI in Edinburgh in 2018.

Players to watch
George Munsey:The hard-hitting opener was Scotland's highest run scorer in the Qualifiers in 2019, with 234 runs in eight matches. His T20I career strike rate of 155.01 is fourth best among batters who have faced a minimum of 500 balls. One of his best performances in international cricket came in September 2019 against Netherlands, when he hit 127 not out off 56 balls, the highest score in T20Is by a Scotland player.

Safyaan Sharif: Sharif has emerged as the leader of Scotland's pace attack in recent years. The right-arm quick was the top wicket-taker for Scotland in the 2019 Qualifiers, with 13 wickets in seven matches. He enters the T20 World Cup having just taken his best T20 figures - 4 for 24 against Zimbabwe in September.

How far might they go?
They are likely to progress to the Super 12s - they start their first round against Bangladesh (ranked sixth to Scotland's 15th), but their next two games are against Papua New Guinea and Oman, the teams they beat in the Qualifiers. But keeping in mind their fickle form in that tournament, and that they haven't had much T20 game time ahead of the main event, they might be surprised by these teams.

Papua New Guinea

By Peter Della Penna

Path to the World Cup
After a series of close playoff heartbreaks at the 2013 and 2015 T20 World Cup Qualifiers, in 2019, Papua New Guinea progressed from the East Asia-Pacific regional qualifier to top Group B at the global qualifier in the UAE, their 5-1 record clinching them an automatic berth. Their only loss in the group stage came against Scotland. Arguably their most impressive win came by five wickets with an over to spare against Netherlands before to the same opponents in the tournament final.

Peak in cricket (so far)
Securing ODI status in 2014 at the 50-over World Cup Qualifier in New Zealand. They had a brief lapse in status from 2018 to 2019 after a poor finish at the World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe, but regained it a year later at WCL Division Two in Namibia.

Players to watch
Assad Vala: Papua New Guinea's do-everything captain is a towering figure, literally and figuratively, in the national team. The six-foot tall batter's size translates into muscle at the crease where he is a powerful striker of the ball at No. 3 and consistently PNG's top scorer. He also regularly bowls a full quota of offspin and is often a handful for left-handers to get away.

CJ Amini: The long-time vice-captain is a third-generation national team player. A showstopper in the field at backward point, he has produced some of the most spectacular run-outs and catches in world cricket to not be captured by television cameras. His fielding prowess often overshadows the fact that he is also a quality legspinner and capable of smashing a few quick runs in the death overs.

Norman Vanua: The allrounder started off the 2019 T20 World Cup Qualifier by taking a hat-trick against Bermuda, and through the tournament proved himself to be PNG's best death bowler with his accurate yorkers. With the bat, he has shifted roles between being a pinch-hitting opener and an inspirational finisher. Aside from Vala, he's the most likely to clear the ropes.

How far might they go?
PNG's fortunes are the hardest to predict because of their difference in form between formats. They lost eight straight ODIs in the two months leading into the 2019 Qualifier, before morphing into a T20 juggernaut in the UAE. They are in similarly terrible ODI form going into the T20 World Cup, having lost another eight in a row to stretch their ODI drought to 16 straight losses. But few would discount their chances by conflating their ODI form with that in T20Is.

Oman

By Peter Della Penna

Path to the World Cup
Oman entered the 2019 T20 World Cup Qualifier in the UAE as one of the group favourites and performed like it. Only a last-day slip-up in the group stage to Jersey denied them an automatic berth in the T20 World Cup - that went to Ireland, who finished with the same 4-2 record as Oman but with a superior net run rate. Oman then lost to Namibia in their opening playoff match before finally clinching a spot in the T20 World Cup in a tense second-chance eliminator against Hong Kong.

Peak in cricket (so far)
Beating Ireland in their opening match of the 2016 T20 World Cup in Dharamsala. It showed that their qualification journey was no fluke and they used it as a springboard to securing ODI status in 2019.

Players to watch

Bilal Khan: Oman's leading wicket-taker in T20Is, with 51 scalps, Bilal is one of the most devastating fast bowlers at Associate level. The left-armer generally bowls in the 135-140 kph range, but gets prodigious swing with the new ball and is a menace at the death with his yorkers. His new ball spell in the Qualifier reduced Hong Kong to 13 for 4 and then he came back with the old ball to end with figures of 4 for 23.

Zeeshan Maqsood: The 33-year-old built his early reputation as a firecracker at the top of the order. In more recent times, he has been far more potent with the ball while leading Oman's arsenal of left-arm spinners. He can still bring explosiveness with the bat when called upon, and is arguably Oman's best player of spin, another reason why he shifted himself down to the middle order upon taking over as captain in 2018.

Naseem Khushi: The 39-year-old wicketkeeper is Oman's most explosive death-overs hitter. In that same must-win game against Hong Kong, he deflated the opposition by belting an unbeaten 26 off 9 balls. He is sometimes held back as late as No. 9 in the batting order, but can be promoted higher to suit the very specific requirement of teeing off in the last four overs, something he does better than most at Associate level.

How far might they go?
Oman gained the biggest advantage due to the tournament venue reshuffle, which now sees them hosting matches in the opening round. They are a far stronger and deeper team than they were at the same event five years ago. Now that two teams advance from each opening round group instead of one, they have the strongest odds of any of the Associate teams to reach the main draw.