Group A of the preliminary rounds of the World T20 gets underway on Wednesday, beginning with Bangladesh who face the Netherlands in the first game which starts at 9.30 AM UK time. The game is quickly followed by the second game in the group which sees Ireland take on Oman at 2PM UK time, which will be covered live here on VAVEL.
Bangladesh - Netherlands
Both teams will be looking to get off to perfect start in the group as they will see it as a big opportunity to qualify for the next round. Bangladesh will be huge favourites to not only win this game but qualify from the group and will be annoyed they even have to go through qualifying to get into the main tournament. The Tigers will be looking to do better than two years ago when they hosted the tournament as they bowed out in the group stage before semi-finals. The key player for Bangladesh will be their all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan who in the shortest form of the game is one of the best there is around. The favourites will feel confident with the competition being held in the sub-continent as they will feel they have the perfect bowling attack for the conditions. Preparations have gone well for the Tigers as they have been playing in the Asia Cup and only lost out to India in the final narrowly.
The Netherlands, on the other hand, are the underdogs who like to pull off shock results. Two years ago no one gave them a chance of beating any big teams, but they ended up defeating England by 45 runs. It wasn't the first time they have done that either as they beat the English in 2009 so Bangladesh will have to take them seriously. The key player for the Netherlands will be Aussie Tom Cooper who has the experience of the bigger games and has played some memorable knocks down the years, including the knock that sent his team through the qualifiers against Ireland in 2014.
Ireland - Oman
Ireland head into their opening match against Oman looking to make sure they are not complacent against a team that will make their first appearance at an ICC event. Ireland has to be careful as they have only made a score of 150 once in their last eleven matches which will be a worry for such an experienced team. Ireland are probably the most backed Associate team and many people would like them to become a test playing nation, but first they must show what they are made of and get through a tough group. The key player for the Irish during the tournament will be their captain William Porterfield who has been there and seen so many things during his time as captain. Ireland will need to call on all of their experienced players to all step up big time if they want to qualify.
Oman will see these games in the group as free games as no one expects them to win any of their matches. The minnows must not be taken lightly though as they beat the likes of Canada, the Netherlands, Afghanistan and Namibia to even qualify for this stage of the tournament. Even before this stage only a few days ago they beat Scotland in a warm-up so they must be taken really seriously by the Irish. The key players for Oman will be their leading run scorer Adnan llyas and Jitinder Shah who are both players that will be looking to show that they can do it on the big stage.