Sri Lanka and Scotland to Quarrel for the Crown of Table-toppers: 2023 CWC Qualifier Day 10 Preview and Prediction

The Crown of Group B table-toppers is on the line!

As the Group A caravan of the 2023 ICC World Cup Qualifiers has been wind-up, now it’s time for the final day of Group B action to take place. The final two fixtures of the group stages will be hosted by Bulawayo Sports Club and Queens Sports Club of the Zimbabwean city of Bulawayo this Tuesday. 

The heavyweights Sri Lanka and Scotland are thriving on an invincible record in the group round while the Asian underdogs Oman has also just a formality away from the Super Six qualification. Earlier, we witnessed the likes of Zimbabwe, West Indies and Netherlands securing their places in the next stage after claiming the qualification ticket from Group A. 

The first encounter of the day is going to be the biggest clash of Group B as the two sides who are yet to be defeated in the group stages are up against each other. Meanwhile, the circumstances in the second fixture will be opposite to the first game as both of the combatants are still searching for their first win. 

Match 19: Sri Lanka vs Scotland 

The Scottish banner thriving under the new leadership of Richie Berrington

It is the battle between two nations who are thriving on a triumphant run and have proved themselves as hot favorites to barge into the finals. The winner of this high-profile clash will finish the Group B caravan as the table-toppers and will be advancing into the Super Six stage with an invincible record. 

Sri Lanka is participating in the Qualifiers for the first time since winning the inaugural edition in 1979 and is determined to replicate it once again.  Just a week before the commencement of the World Qualifiers event, Sri Lanka ended their ODI series-win drought of one year with a 2-1 triumph over Afghanistan. 

It instilled high spirits in their roster as the Lankan Lions carried forward the positive momentum through the warm-up and group games as well. Enduring a five-match winning streak, the bowling unit of SL has bowled out their opposition on all three occasions of group stages. 

Scotland staged an amazing comeback after suffering from a forgettable campaign in the United States Tri-Nation Series earlier this month. The 36-year-old Scottish skipper Richie Berrington is yet to taste defeat since his full-time appointment replacing Kyle Coetzer right before the kick-off of this competition. However, the circumstances became very tight in their opening game with Ireland when two runs were needed from the last ball having only one wicket in hand but the heroics of Michael Least saved the day for the Saltires. 

The 1996 World Cup Champions have squared off against the European combatants in the ODIs on four occasions in which the Lankan Lions have emerged victorious thrice while one fixture was abandoned without a ball bowled. 

It was the opening game of the two-match ODI series on Scottish soil where SL attained a bilateral trophy by 1-0 after winning the following game. They have also clashed at the biggest stage of the fifty-over format in the 2015 World Cup where the Scottish Saltires suffered a massive 148-run defeat after failing to chase the total of 363. 

Sri Lanka Predicted XI: Pathum Nissanka, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Mendis (wk), Sadeera Samarawickrama, Charith Asalanka, Dasun Shanaka ©, Dhananjaya de Silva, Wanindu Hasaranga, Maheesh Theekshana, Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kumara

Scotland Predicted XI: Christopher McBride, Matthew Cross (wk), Brandon McMullen, Richie Berrington ©, Tomas Mackintosh, Michael Leask, Chris Greaves, Mark Watt, Safyaan Sharif, Chris Sole, Adrian Neill

Whether it’s head-to-head record or current form or on-paper strength even this Scotland side cannot match the strength of the Lankan Lions despite Scotland also having an undefeated record. 

It is quite difficult to find a weakness in this Sri Lanka unit and surge counter-attack as they have showcased sheer dominance in the group stages after winning each and every fixture convincingly. The main strength of the Scottish Saltires lies in their batting attack and the key for them to win this forthcoming contest is to stick to the same. 

Match 20: Ireland vs United Arab Emirates 

Sri Lanka destroyed the qualification hopes of Men in Green

Ireland has a glorious history of storming the biggest stage of one-day internationals but unfortunately, their contention for the 2023 World Cup has officially ended. They have a final opportunity against UAE to finish their Qualifiers campaign with a win while their opposition will be also stepping out with a similar aim. 

Ireland had a very tough first day in the group stage campaign where they couldn’t defend the first-inning total of 281 and suffered a five-wicket loss at the hands of Oman. It was followed by another defeat while batting first, this time they came very close to successfully defending the total of 286 runs against Scotland but eventually ended up losing it by just a one-wicket margin. 

The Men in Green got the opportunity to chase for the first time in this competition against Sri Lanka most recently however, their batting unit couldn’t handle the pressure of a humongous target of 326 and surrendered on the final score of 192 inside 31 overs. 

On the other hand, the Arabian Falcons couldn’t even put up a strong fightback even once in their three group fixtures and dropped weapons without resistance. They managed to restrict Scotland to 282 in their most recent appearance but the UAE batting unit couldn’t stand upfront the wrath of the Scottish pace duo of Sufyaan Sharif and Chris Sold which eventually led them to a massive 111-run defeat. 

Batting has turned out to be the prime weakness of Emirates while facing quality opposition as the 17-year-old Aayan Khan remains the only UAE batter who has struck a half-century or more in this tournament. 

These two cricketing nations have shared the battlefield of One-Day Internationals six times till now and all of them were played at UAE’s home venues in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Men in Green have always showcased a dominant display over the Asian opposition with a head-to-head record of 5-1 including a 2-0 bilateral triumph in March 2017.

The Arab Falcons were supposed to host a four-match series in January 2021 but unfortunately, the second and third fixtures were cancelled due to covid-19 outbreak and the series was eventually shared on a 1-1 scoreline. Taking the urge to win for both teams into consideration, both of them are likely to field a full-fledged playing eleven to avoid a bottom-placed finish in the table. 

Ireland Predicted XI: Paul Stirling, Andy McBrine, Andrew Balbirnie ©, Harry Tector, Lorcan Tucker (wk), Curtis Campher, George Dockrell, Gareth Delany, Mark Adair, Joshua Little, Barry McCarthy

UAE Predicted XI: Muhammad Waseem ©, Rohan Mustafa, Vriitya Aravind, Aryansh Sharma (wk), Asif Khan, Basil Hameed, Ali Naseer, Aayan Afzal Khan, Karthik Meiyappan, Zahoor Khan, Junaid Siddique

Despite having such a miserable current form, the Irish Greens are standing on brighter chances to emerge victorious in this encounter. They have posted 280+ runs total twice in this tournament and are likely to opt to bat first if the coin toss turns out in their favor. The Arabian Falcons are capable enough to stun this Ireland side however, it is necessary for their batting unit to step up in order to aim for a victory.