ICC T20 World Cup: Know your associate member countries in the mega event

Nine of the 20 countries in the fray in waiting to surprise their more fancied opponents

The Namibia team during a sendoff organised on 19 May 2024 (Photo: @CricketNamibia1)
The Namibia team during a sendoff organised on 19 May 2024 (Photo: @CricketNamibia1)
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Gautam Bhattacharyya

Barely has the IPL ended, and the countdown for the T20 World Cup has begun, The bi-annual event is turning a corner as it’s really going global this time from 2 to 29 June – having 20 teams in the fray for the first time and action moving to the US (alongwith the Caribbean) to tap the biggest diaspora market for the game.  

The T20 format, as always, lends itself to unpredictability – and one need not go beyond the recent US-Bangladesh series to seek testimony to that. Co-hosts US, an associate member comprising mostly of expat cricketers and few familiar faces like former Black Cap Corey Anderson, embarrassed the experienced Bangladesh squad to win the three-match series 2-1.

It will, hence, not be far-fetched to expect more such upsets over the next month. Here’s a look at thumbnail sketches of the associate member teams as one doesn’t know who can spring a surprise on a given day:  

USA

Co-hosts USA make their ICC Men’s T20 World Cup debut in 2024 with an opening match against rivals, Canada, in Texas the perfect way to announce themselves. It has been a rapid rise since a first T20I against the UAE only five years ago, but American cricket has gone from strength to strength since then, with their first victories coming against the Cayman Islands later that year.

A first win against a Test nation came with victory over Ireland in 2021, something they will look to repeat in the World Cup group stage when they meet in Lauderhill.

One to watch: Batter Aaron Jones will again form the bedrock of the batting line-up. The New Yorker boasts an ODI high score of unbeaten 123 and will be key to American fortunes.

Canada

Canada are set for their World T20 debut but they are no strangers to the global stage having appeared at four ICC Men’s Cricket World Cups, most recently in 2011. They have never been beyond the group stage but will be determined to spring a surprise and do so this time around on North American soil after booking their place with victory in the Americas Qualifier.

One to watch: Allrounder Harsh Thaker has the ability to win matches for Canada with bat or ball in hand. The 26-year-old has impressed in both limited overs formats in the past year and will be determined to step up to the plate this summer.

Namibia

Namibia return for their third consecutive appearance at the event after cruising through the Africa Qualifier with a perfect record.

The Eagles reached the Super 12 on debut in 2021 in the UAE, thanks to victories over Netherlands and Ireland before narrowly missing out on reaching the same stage in 2022 despite defeating Sri Lanka. They will be hopeful of reaching the knockout stages again but will need to navigate first-ever T20 internationals with England and Australia first.

One to watch: Captain Gerhard Erasmus is the man that makes Namibia tick. The The 2023 ICC Associate Cricketer of the Year will hope to be their inspirational leader this summer.

Scotland

Scotland makes their fourth straight appearance at a World T20 and will have eyes on reaching the knockout stages for only the second time after impressing in qualifiers. Scotland edged out Test nation and neighbours Ireland to earn top spot in the Europe Qualifier, a feat that will give them plenty of confidence for their chances across the Atlantic. An opening match against England is a mouth-watering prospect and one Scotland will be hoping to set out their stall in as they look to match their 2021 achievement of progressing from the groups.

One to watch: Bowler Brad Currie could be a matchwinner for Scotland, with the 25-year-old starring in qualification. Currie posted figures of five for 13 in the final against Ireland, the best-ever T20I bowling figures from a Scot and will hope to take that form into the summer.

Oman

Oman return to the biggest stage in men’s T20 cricket after missing out the last edition and will be determined to make up for lost time. They ensured their place at this year’s event with victory in the Asia Qualifier, defeating Bahrain in the semi-final to book their ticket before taking home the trophy with a dramatic Super Over victory against Nepal. Oman have never made it beyond the group stages of a men’s World Cup and will hope to improve on that this year, but it will take some doing.

One to watch: Vice-captain Aqib Ilyas will look to hold the side together with his all-around abilities. The 31-year-old is one of the most experienced members of the squad and was named Player of the Tournament in the Asia Qualifier.


Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea are back for their second World T20 appearance and will be determined to better their 2021 showing where they finished 16th. There have been positive strides since then, including comfortable qualification via victory in the East Asia-Pacific Qualifier as well as regular victories over other associate member nations.The key will be whether this side can make the step up and earn a victory over a Test nation, with three in Group C, something Papua New Guinea have never done before.

One to watch: The obvious choice is batter Tony Ura as the 34-year-old has scored highest number of T20I runs for Papua New Guinea. Ura was part of PNG’s first-ever T20I squad in 2015 and has been integral ever since, topscoring against both Japan and Philippines in qualification.

Uganda

Uganda make their World Cup debut after finishing second in the Africa Qualifier behind Namibia. The Cricket Cranes pulled off victory over a Test nation at the first attempt with a win over Zimbabwe in qualifying and will look to pull off the same feat in Group C.

One to watch: Riazat Ali Shah was the star of Uganda’s victory over Zimbabwe, and the all-rounder will be determined to match that form in the summer. Shah scored 42 off 28 balls and his quick hitting in the middle order - as well as his effective medium pace - will be the key to Ugandan success.

Netherlands

Netherlands are no strangers to the ICC World Cups, having featured in both the 50-overs and T20 formats. The Dutch reached the Super 12s in 2022 before bowing out and will have aims of making it to the Super 8s this time around.Their performance in 2022 booked their spot at the 2024 edition and performances since have provided plenty of further encouragement with a first victory over South Africa coming later that year. They will hope for a repeat result when they meet again in Group D, which also features Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal.

One to watch: Big hitting Max O’Dowd will hope to continue to lead from the front for the Netherlands. O’Dowd is the top T20I run scorer in Dutch history and will be determined to extend that record in the summer.

Nepal

Nepal are set for their debut appearance in a decade after booking their ticket with a runners-up place in the Asia Qualifier. The Rhinos pushed winners Oman all the way to a super over in Kirtipur and will take plenty of heart from their impressive performances, which also included a victory over the UAE in the semi-final.

One to watch: Opener Rohit Paudel, their 21-year-old captain, has been the key to recent Nepalese success and will continue to be so during the summer.

(With inputs from ICC)