5 Cricketers to Watch Out for in World T20 Qualifiers: The most awaited and anticipated extravaganza of the cricketing world, the World T20 finally commences from today onwards. T20 cricket is epitomized as the most action packed and mouth watering format of the game. And when it comes to the World T20 it is bound to lead people into a state of frenzy. The best part about T20 cricket is that you can never discount any side out of the game. The shortest format of the game is synonymous to a chameleon which changes its colours at any given time.
Before the commencement of the main round in World T20, there is a qualifier round going on between eight teams. All these participating nations will be offering their blood, toil, tears and sweat to secure the final two spots in the main draw of World T20. But who are the potential soldiers with the ability to pack a knockout punch on the opponents?
Let’s have a look at 5 Cricketers to Watch Out for in World T20 Qualifiers:
1. Mustafizur Rahman (Bangladesh)
2015 was a year which unfolded many great things for Bangladesh cricket. One of the biggest highlights of the year was the fairy-tale rise of Mustafizur Rahman at the top-level. Touted as the next big thing in the game, Rahman has all the magic tricks up his sleeve to outwit even the best in the business.
For most of the teams participating in the World T20 qualifiers, the left-armer’s variations will be a mystery. The 20 years old is not a bowler who would intimidate the batsmen with his pace, swing or hostile bounce. Mustafizur’s mastery lies in his obscure variations which consist of deceiving cutters, variable change of pace, a deceptive Yorker out of nowhere and varied usage of the stock ball.
Especially, in sub-continent conditions a bowler like him is hard to deal with. When the Indians faced him for the first time, they were just clueless, let’s see what will happen to the Associate nations.
2. Hamilton Masakadza (Zimbabwe)
The Zimbabwe skipper in command, Hamilton Masakadza will be the cog-wheel for the African nation in World T20 qualifiers. The right-hander is not only the most experienced batter in the side but has been in red-hot form, this year. In 6 T20 internationals, the Zimbabwean opener has slammed 318 runs at a mind-wobbling average of 63 with three half-centuries against his name.
Earlier this year, the 32-year-old had helped Zimbabwe draw the 4-match T20I series against Bangladesh at their own backyard. Recently, Hamilton had played a scintillating 71-ball 162 run knock in Zimbabwe’s Domestic T20 competition and ended up just 13 runs short of equaling the highest ever individual score in T20 cricket.
The powerful batter possesses a wide range of amazing strokes in his repertoire and a lot will rest on his broad shoulders if Zimbabwe stands any chance of making it to the main round of the World T20.
3. Paul Stirling (Ireland)
Paul Stirling is celebrated as the most aggressive batsmen in the Irish line-up. The Ireland opener relies heavily on his brute powers to dominate the bowlers. The belligerent batter is very good down the ground besides being a ferocious puller of the cricket ball. Apart from his natural hitting abilities, Stirling is also known for his big match temperament.
In the finals of World T20 qualifiers in 2012 and 2013, Paul had hammered 79 and 76 runs respectively which are a fair reflection of his significance to the Irish side.
It is notable that the right-hander was part of the Ireland side in 2011 World Cup as well which was played in sub-continent conditions. It is likely that the experience and knowledge about the Indian conditions will rub on his game this time around.
4. Roelof van der Merwe (Netherlands)
The name of Roelof van der Merwe in the Dutch side will probably create a stir in the minds of many. Last year, citing uncertain future and prevalence of quota system in South African cricket, van der Merwe left the rainbow nation for a career with the Netherlands after obtaining Dutch citizenship.
Roelof is a left-arm spinner who is more than handy with the bat and is known for his powerful hitting abilities. The 31 years old is masterly skilled in bowling immaculate line and lengths and is very hard to get away. By nature, the right-handed batter is very aggressive which goes in line with his batting as well.
Van der Merwe has been part of Indian Premiere League (IPL) as well. His familiarity with the Indian conditions will prove handy in the World T20 qualifiers.
5. Hamid Hassan (Afghanistan)
The first ever Afghani cricketer to play at Lord’s, Hamid Hassan could well turn out to be a trump card for Afghanistan in World T20 qualifiers. The lanky Afghani cricketer is a genuine fast bowler who has a very rhythmic run-up and his ability to swing the ball at a rapid pace has earned him a lot of accolades.
Hassan is a natural athlete on the field as well. His sparkling performances in 2015 World Cup, especially against Sri Lanka where he disturbed the woodwork of the man in-form, Kumar Sangakkara with an unplayable in-swinging delivery is worth-mentioning. In 18 T20 internationals, the right-arm quick has grabbed 29 scalps at an average of 15 and miserly economy of 6.61.
**ALL STATS UPDATED TILL 8TH MATCH 2016.