Ed Hawkins previews Namibia v Ireland and Sri Lanka v Netherlands from Sharjah on Friday.
"Roelof van der Merwe batted at No 3 but failed against Namibia. The 25/1 is clearly wrong on most recent batting order. A quickfire 20-odd could be enough to win it"
Namibia v Ireland
Friday 21 October 11.00
TV: Live on Sky Sports
Namibia on the charge
Namibia are bang in the race for the tournament proper after they beat Netherlands. A win here puts them through to take on the big boys.
David Wiese has taken a while to come good for his new team but he did so in style against the Dutch, smashing 66 from 40 in a thrilling chase of 165. Wiese, Gerhard Erasmus and JJ Smit are known as the bomb squad and they detonated the Dutch.
Possible XI Baard, Green, Williams, Erasmus, Wiese, Smith, van Lingen, Frylinck, Loftie-Eaton, Trumpelmann, Scholz
Ireland had one foot in the next round when they reduced Sri Lanka to eight for three. What followed was one of the best examples of a team imploding under the expectancy of achieving something.
For the next 37 overs Ireland played atrocious, brainless cricket. It makes them hugely vulnerable here, particularly with big-gun batters not turning up.
Probable XI Stirling, K O'Brien, Balbirnie, Delany, Campher, Tector, Rock, Adair, Young, Singh, Little
In ten matches in the IPL the average score in Sharjah batting first was 137 and there was a 70% bias for the team chasing. Those are two must-know stats before you consider betting on what will happen on the surface.
It is reasonable, then, to take extreme lows on the first-innings runs. At least the runs par line looks a guaranteed short and we're likely to head south at a mark of 140.
Namibia a trade
Ireland are 1.538/15. It's a price to run a mile from. Namibia are available at 2.707/4 and if they get the toss in their favour we can easily see them trading at even money because of Irish profligacy.
Bigger than that may even be available because of the chance Paul Stirling might be forced to give it a biff in the first six overs. So keep an eye out for 3.002/1 in-play. It may even be worth letting it run with the bomb squad poised.
Stirling has been boosted to 5/2 with Sportsbook for top Ireland bat but he's had a shocking tournament so far. For Nambia Erasmus is 7/2, Wiese 6/1 and Smit 15/2.
Sri Lanka v Netherlands
Friday 21 October 15.00
TV: Live on Sky Sports
Lanka still have much to prove
Sri Lanka have qualified without breaking sweat. It's tempting to reckon they are the dark horses but don't be fooled by the quality of opposition they've faced here.
Their bowlers have caught the eye, however, and a varied attack could cause problems in the next round. Their batting is unlikely to have the power to go deep, though.
Possible XI Nissanka, Kusal, Chandimal, Avishka, Hasaranga, Rajapaksa, Shanaka, Chameera, Karunaratne, Theekshana, Kumara
The Dutch have been desperately disappointing. They would have fancied themselves to be in the hunt for qualification at this stage but they are now playing only for pride.
Opener Max O'Dowd has been a bright spot but they're carrying players. Ryan ten Doeschate didn't bowl or bat versus Namibia. Skipper Pieter Seelar doesn't do anything either it seems and is consistently hiding in the order.
Possible XI O'Dowd, Myburgh, van der Merwe, Ackermann, Edwards, van Beek, Leede, Ten Doeschate, Seelar, van der Gugten, Klaasen
Are Sri Lanka up for it?
If Sri Lanka are on it they should roll this Dutch XI for something paltry if the toss goes their way. We would short the runs par line in the low 130s.
However, it's a bit of an ask for Sri Lanka to be bang at it again. They are not known for consistent performances and with qualification already assured they could go off the boil. The Dutch are 6.005/1. We could grab a couple of points if their pacers (Fred Klaasen for example) get amongst them bowling first.
Wanindu Hasaranga blitzed Ireland and the 20/1 he top scores again could be a bet considering he came in at No 5. There's also a rick on the top Dutch bat price list. Roelof van der Merwe batted at No 3 but failed against Namibia. The 25/1 is clearly wrong on most recent batting order. A quickfire 20-odd could be enough to win it.
Simon Doull picks his title winner on Cricket...Only Bettor
Ed Hawkins P-L
Based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running advice or commission rate. Figures 2013-2016 on 1pt level stakes. Includes Hawk-Eye column p-l