Team Captains pose with the Trophy for ICC Asia "A" Qualifiers in Kuwait - Image by Kuwait Cricket @KuwaitCricket (Twitter) // www.cricketkuwait.org

6 Nations will be competing in the next 1 week for 3 qualifying spots as Kuwait is all set to host ICC WorldT20 Asia “A” qualifiers from Apr 20th – 28th, 2018. As the teams get on the park for the first round of matches, the experienced teams in UAE and Qatar will compete against each other to kick-start a tournament, which will showcase the best cricket action from Associate countries to the World.

UAE, the region’s top Associate member of ICC, will be the pre-tournament favourites on paper, having the experience of playing in major ICC tournaments including World Cup and World Cup Qualifiers. Qatar, who took part in ICC WCL Division 5 tournament in Sep 2017 in Benoni, South Africa, are the other nation from the region having played a major ICC tournament.

Saudi Arabia are on a growth curve at the moment. They lost out narrowly to Qatar in net run-rate in qualifying for WCL Division 5 and after a successful Easter tour of Uganda, will once again look to give tough competition to the rest of the line-up. Head coach mentioned that Kuwait and Qatar would be their bigger competition if they have to take the top 3 spots.

Maldives will be taking part in their maiden ICC tournament of any form and the experience will be worth anything for them to get the exposure to develop their players for the future. They wouldn’t be expected to create too many upsets here, but in the T20 form of the game, it just takes one brilliant performance from both bat and ball and the game could be in their hands for the taking.

Maldives came to Kuwait after a pre-tour of Sri Lanka where they played few practice games and with their players been training for the past 6 months, they would definitely not be mere pushovers in the tournament.

Bahrain could be the surprise package of the tournament. A rank dark-horse, who have had their national players kept busy with 2 months of domestic cricket at home. Their recently concluded 2018 Bahrain Cricket League was a success and hopefully, some of that success rubs down on the national squad members, who will be looking to create more drama in Kuwait.

It all comes down to the host’s Kuwait, who look for home conditions advantage over their opponents to compete for one of the 3 qualifying spots. With tough competition expected from UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, Kuwait’s head coach Herschelle Gibbs will be the first person to know that their task is cut out to make it in the top 3 and it will take nothing less than a combined team performance to take out their opponents in crucial moments in the matches.

ICC Asia “A” Qualifier Squads:

Bahrain

Fiaz Ahmed (Captain), Bilal Mansoor, Imran Ali Butt, Numan Yousaf, Imran Javed Anwar, Prashant Kurup, Muhammad Iqbal, Mohammad Sameer, Shahid Mahmood, Shahbaz Badar, Sikder Billah, Waseeq Ahmed, Yasser Nazeer & Zeeshan Abbas

Kuwait

Muhammad Kashif (Captain), Ravija Sandaruwan De Silva Bodadura, Abid Mushtaq, Azmat Ullah, Usman Waheed, Muhammad Ahsan Naseer, Abdul Sadiq, Ali Zaheer, Yasir Idrees Butt, Arjun Makesh, Muhammad Asghar, Imran Ali, Fiaz Ahmad, Sajid Anjillath & Rahath Manzil

Maldives

Ibrahim Hassan (Captain), Rasheed Hassan Haziq, Muaroof Ahmed Ameel, Saeed Mohamed Saffee, Jaleel Shafraz, Azzam Mohamed, Umar Adam Nasif, Rishwan Mohamed, Nashath Ibrahim, Shahid Abdulla, Mishan Hamid, Ibrahim Rizan, Farhath Yoosuf Azyan, Cooray & Mututanthirge Nilantha

Qatar

Inam Ul Haq (Captain), Tamoor Sajjad, Zaheeruddeen Ibrahim, Iqbal Hussain Chaudhry, Kamran Khan, Muhammad Nadeem, Muhammad Awais Malik, Mohammed Rizlan Mohammed Iqbar, Noman Sarwar, Qalandar Khan, Khurram Shahzad, Muhammad Tanveer, Faisal Javed Khan, Gayan Buddika & Wijeweera Munaweera

Saudi Arabia

Muhammad Afzal (Captain), Shahbaz Rasheed, Khawar Abbas, Abdul Waheed, Ibrar-ul-Haq, Inayat Saeed, Imran Arif, Faisal Khan, Usman Ali, Abass Saad Abdullah Alnadwi, Mohsin Shabbir Rajput, Afaq Ahmed, Sajid Imran Cheema & Ihsan Ullah

United Arab Emirates

Rohan Mustafa (Captain), Ashfaq Ahmed, Mohammad Naveed, Imran Haider, Rameez Shahzad, Adnan Mufti, Mohammad Boota, Chirag Suri, Fahad Nawaz, Amir Hayat, Ghulam Shabber, Qadeer Ahmed, Muhammad Usman & Zahoor Khan

ICC Asia “A” Qualifiers Schedule (all times local):

20th Apr 2018 – Kuwait vs Maldives (Sulaibiya – 10:00 am) ; UAE vs Qatar (Doha – 14:00 pm) ; Saudi Arabia vs Bahrain (Sulaibiya – 14:00 pm)

21st Apr 2018 – Maldives vs Bahrain (Doha – 10:00 am) ; Kuwait vs Qatar (Sulaibiya – 10:00 am) ; Saudi Arabia vs Bahrain (Doha – 14:00 pm)

23rd Apr 2018 – Maldives vs Qatar (Doha – 10:00 am) ; Bahrain vs UAE (Sulaibiya – 10:00 am) ; Saudi Arabia vs Kuwait (Doha – 14:00 pm)

24th Apr 2018 – Maldives vs UAE (Sulaibiya – 10:00 am) ; Bahrain vs Kuwait (Doha – 14:00 pm) ; Saudi Arabia vs Qatar (Sulaibiya – 14:00 pm)

26th Apr 2018 – Kuwait vs UAE (Doha – 10:00 am) ; Bahrain vs Qatar (Sulaibiya – 10:00 am) ; Saudi Arabia vs Maldives (Sulaibiya – 14:00 pm)

27th Apr 2018 – 3rd/4th play-off (Doha – 10:00 am) ; Final (Doha – 14:00 pm)

 

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