Harare [Zimbabwe], July 10 (ANI): The captains of the eight teams in ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier B are determined to prove they belong to the big stage when the hotly anticipated tournament kicks off in Zimbabwe this week.
Eight nations will duel for a spot in this year’s ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in Australia as the hosts bid to book their place in the event for the first time in six years.
Jersey, Singapore and the United States will hope to topple Craig Ervine’s side in Group A while Hong Kong, Papua New Guinea, Uganda and the Netherlands make up the other half of the week-long tournament.
Zimbabwe did not participate in last year’s ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates and captain Ervine hopes bouncing back on home soil can reinvigorate the cricketing nation.
“It has been many years since we’ve been involved in the World Cup, which is disappointing. There’s a lot at stake for us as a country and if we’re able to qualify again, all of a sudden the pieces of the puzzle start coming together again,” said Ervine in a statement.
“It’s always very exciting to be playing at home in front of your home crowd and when you start to get results, you start to pull people together. That’s definitely something we need to find again – we want to start pulling Zimbabweans together, win some games and make it exciting for them to watch us,” he added.
The hosts featured at the previous four editions of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup prior to last year while the Netherlands, who starred in 2014, 2016 and 2021, are another big-hitter. Scott Edwards’ side were eliminated in the group stage in India and the UAE and come into this week’s qualifier fresh off a three-match one-day international series against England.
The visit of Jos Buttler’s side has triggered a wave of cricketing fever across the nation and wicketkeeper Edwards, 25, hopes his team can harness that feel-good feeling and secure another milestone.
“There’s a lot of hype around cricket in the Netherlands at the moment – it’s huge for Dutch cricket. It’s been a pretty busy summer – we’ve been speaking about taking a lot of confidence from playing these top nations, showing what we’ve learnt and proved that we’re a better team because of those games. The World Cup is massive for associate nations, so it’s always high on the agenda,” said Netherlands skipper Scott Edwards.
One side the Netherlands will have to negotiate are Uganda, appearing at their first ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier for almost a decade after missing out in 2015 and 2019. (ANI)