Ravichandran Ashwin has spurred another cricketing debate, this time purely about his bowling. After receiving a talking-to from umpire Nitin Menon, he returned to his ordinary follow-through to help India bowl out the Black Caps on Day 3.
The seventh edition of the men’s T20 World Cup is finally upon us, with the much-awaited action set to get underway from October 17.
First up will be the preliminary round featuring eight teams, who will battle it out for four berths in the Super 12 stage or the ‘tournament proper’. These include five Associate hopefuls aiming to break through – Scotland, Papua New Guinea, the Netherlands, Oman, and Namibia.
Associate nations have had their fair share of moments in the short history of the tournament, despite the rather limited opportunities provided to them.
As we look forward to an unpredictable and exciting first round, here is a look back at five memorable Associate successes at the men’s T20 World Cup (it is to be noted that only wins by Associates against full member teams have been considered for this list).
Netherlands beat England by five wickets, Lord’s, 2009
When Ravi Bopara (46) and Luke Wright (71) had steered the score to 102/0 in the 12th over, this tournament opener looked likely to end in a convincing win for the hosts.
However, the spirited Dutchmen pulled things back to limit England’s total to 162/5. The chase began sluggishly, as they lost both openers to fall to 23/2. Tom de Grooth came in at this point and changed the complexion of the game with 49 off 30 balls.
By the time de Grooth was fourth out, the Netherlands needed 47 from seven overs. Peter Borren (30) and Ryan ten Doeschate (22*) played their parts too, boiling it down to seven off the final over, to be bowled by Stuart Broad. It was all about nerves, and England fluffed their chances. With two needed off the last ball, Edgar Schiferli cashed in on an overthrow to snatch a double and a thrilling five-wicket win for the Oranje.
Ireland beat Bangladesh by six wickets, Trent Bridge, 2009
In the inaugural edition of the tournament in 2007, Bangladesh had upstaged the West Indies to progress to the Super Eight stage. But there would be no repeat this time, as the Tigers ran into a determined Irish outfit. Disciplined bowling and fielding from Ireland, coupled with poor shot selection, reduced Bangladesh to 66/5 in the 11th over. Thanks to Mashrafe Mortaza’s quickfire 33*, the total dragged towards 137/8.
Veteran Trent Johnston, who had captained Ireland to victory over Bangladesh at the 2007 World Cup, returned figures of 3/20. Ireland’s reply was anchored by the dependable O’Brien brothers. While Niall hit 40 in 25 balls from number three, Kevin, who came in at a wobbly 89/4 with 49 required from 34 balls, blazed 39* off just 17 balls to help Ireland confirm a place in the Super Eights with ten balls still remaining.
Hong Kong beat Bangladesh by two wickets, Chittagong, 2014
Hosts Bangladesh were sitting pretty atop their first-round group and were almost assured of entering the Super 10 round. By contrast, Hong Kong had lost to both Nepal and Afghanistan and were desperate to end their campaign on a high. Tanvir Afzal gave the Associate side the perfect start, as he struck twice in the first over to leave Bangladesh at 3/2. Later, the innings subsided from 51/2 to 108 all out with a good 21 balls unused.
Off-spinner Nadeem Ahmed scalped 4/21, while leggie Nizakat Khan (3/19) was as effective. Nepal, who had beaten Afghanistan earlier in the day, would progress if Hong Kong attained the target inside 14 overs. Irfan Ahmed (34) set the tone, but Bangladesh were right in it at 50/5. Munir Dar swung the game once again, clubbing a match-winning 36. With one needed in three balls, Haseeb Amjad struck the winning six.
Netherlands beat England by 45 runs, Chittagong, 2014
The Netherlands had made it to the Super 10 on the back of arguably the most sensational heist in T20 history – needing to chase down 190 in 14.2 overs against Ireland, they got there in 13.5.
Their first Super 10 match saw them being rolled over for just 39 by Sri Lanka, but they almost stunned South Africa three days later, losing by only six runs. In their final match, they faced England, who were out of the reckoning.
Wesley Barresi (48) and Stephan Myburgh (39) carried the Dutch to 133/5 on a difficult surface. Pacers Mudassar Bukhari (3/12) and Logan van Beek (3/9) then combined to derail England’s innings.
No batsman crossed 20, and only three reached double figures, as the Netherlands produced a commanding show to add to their list of famous wins in the shortest format. England’s sorry end came at 88 after 17.4 overs.
Afghanistan beat West Indies by six runs, Nagpur, 2016
Having squandered a great opportunity to topple England earlier – they allowed the opposition to recover from 85/7 to 142/7 before losing by 15 runs – Afghanistan ensured that they bowed out on a high by handing the eventual champions their only defeat of the tournament.
The fast-rising Asian side stuttered to 56/5 in the 12th over, before Najibullah Zadran’s timely 48* from 40 balls improved the total to 123/7.
Afghanistan’s spin-heavy bowling attack (spinners bowled 16 of the 20 overs) defended the modest total tigerishly against the likes of Dwayne Bravo, Darren Sammy, and Andre Russell (Chris Gayle had been rested), as none of the batsmen was able to dictate terms through the course of the innings.
Off-spinner Mohammad Nabi gave away only three runs and took a wicket in the final over, which restricted the West Indies to 117/8.