The second round of the Group B preliminary rounds of the World T20 get's underway tomorrow, starting with Scotland against Zimbabwe which begins at 9:30am UK time. The second match of the day sees Hong Kong take on Afghanistan, which commences at 2pm UK time.
Scotland - Zimbabwe
Scotland began their tournament with a narrow loss to Afghanistan on Tuesday, whilst Zimbabwe themselves were also involved in a tight game but, they came out on the winning side as they beat Hong Kong by 14 runs. Scotland will be looking to keep their hopes in the tournament alive as they know a loss will end their campaign for this year. As for Zimbabwe, they know that if they can get the victory they will put huge pressure on the other two sides in the group and will fancy their chances of progressing if they can win tomorrow.
Zimbabwe will go into the game as quite heavy favourites as many of their players have been all around the world playing in the various T20 events and they have also been playing the top-tier sides for a number of years with some success. Scotland will feel that they are real underdogs for this match, but they know if they can play some of their best cricket that they could cause the Zimbabwe side some problems, which may cause some discomfort among the opposition players.
The Zimbabweans will be looking to go one better than in 2014, where they narrowly lost out on qualification to the main event on net run-rate to the Netherlands after finishing on the same amount of points from their three matches. Last time Scotland also failed to qualify for the main event as they didn't even reach the second qualifying stage, and so to reach the stage that they are at now is deemed as a success.
The important player for the Scot's will be opener Kyle Coetzer, who has been in real form of late and is looking like being a key player as they look to progress in the tournament. As for Zimbabwe, their most important player is also an opener and Hamilton Masakadza is the man who looks to get them off to flying starts and he has been able to do this on many occasion. He's a really high-quality player and can cause real damage to any bowling line-up.
This second match in an event like this is always crucial as it can really decide the outcome of a particular group as it could eliminate teams, and it could also all-but send a team through to the next stage of an event. There have been four matches so far in the World T20 and all have been incredibly close, which shows just how much there is between all of the second tier sides.
Hong Kong - Afghanistan
Hong Kong head into their second match of the tournament on the back of a unlucky loss to Zimbabwe on Tuesday. Hong Kong, are along with Oman, the side with the supposed least chance of progressing through to a further stage as they don't have the same kind of resources which the bigger nations at this stage have.
They need to play without fear in this one, as this is exactly what Oman did when they got the better of Ireland by two wickets in the last over, as teams tend to play better when they haven't got any real pressure on them to perform. Hong Kong are massive underdogs for this one, like they will be in every match which they play at this event and so it's vital that they just get the basics right, things such as the out-fielding and if they get off to a good start then not getting to carried away and just playing the situation as this will help them to play much better.
The key player for Hong Kong is opener and wicket-keeper James Atkinson who scored a brilliant 53 in the opening day defeat, but he will need to be in fine form if his side are too have any chance of reaching the latter stages of this event. His wicket-keeping has also improved drastically of late and he is become a real key player for this constant-improving Hong-Kong side.
Afghanistan will see this game as one which they should really be winning as it's against one of the minnows in their group and so to not beat Hong Kong would be a real shame for the side. Although the opposition must not be taken lightly, they know that anything other than a win would be a real disappointment for everyone involved.
The Afghani side have been in real good form of late and have been one of the most improved sides in world cricket of late and are showing signs that they can compete with both Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, both of whom are sides which are just below the test playing teams at this stage. The key player for Afghanistan will be another opener who also takes the gloves Mohammad Shahzad who scored 62 in the previous match from just 39 balls, whilst also collecting a stumping in the Scotland innings and is one of the players to watch at this stage of the competition. You would expect this to be quite a tight affair between two sides who need the victory for contrasting reasons, which sets the match up perfectly and you would expect this match to attract a large audience.