In light of Scotland's stunning outing against England earlier the week, there has been an uproar of support for the involvement of more teams in the World Cup. Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands have been the three most talked about countries while discussing the aforementioned possibility as all of them missed out on the very limited berths for the 2019 World Cup in extremely close circumstances.
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However, if the transitive property of inequalities is considered, the three European sides will face off each other in a double round robin tri-series to be held in the Dutch cities of Rotterdam, Deventer, and Amstelveen as each team will be eager to assert its dominance in a format they all have been pretty inactive in since last year.
Ireland have played their first ever Test match and have other white ball fixtures lined-up against India. Similarly, Scotland are scheduled to play Pakistan in two T20Is. They will be up against a fresh-faced Netherlands side afflicted by clouds over player availability due to the ongoing County season.
Contests between these sides, be it in World Cup where it's all about making a statement at the global stage or in the World Cricket League where we witness some of the toughest cricket is played away from the sight of the masses, have always been close with not much to choose from among the teams.
With ICC's recent developments, all these sides are no longer associates but full-members in T20Is, along with 101 other countries. Nevertheless, the new stature will motivate them. Let us look at five players who can turn the tides in the favor of their teams in this closely fought tournament.
#5 Kevin O'Brien
The biggest star of Irish cricket has seen his share of dizzying highs and frustrating lows all throughout his career. But now the most experienced cricketer in this Irish squad, O'Brien's confidence will be at an all-time peak having just scored an odds-defying century against Pakistani bowling, which, to put things in context, allowed the English batting to average 26.3 in their own home conditions.
With an ability to take apart any bowling line-up in the world along with an umpteenth reference of him doing unspeakable things to Andrew Strauss' England at Bangalore in 2011, O'Brien will be someone on whose performance the fate of his team will hinge.
Also, if we look beyond his six-hitting prowess, he is a very underrated T20 bowler conceding only 18 runs for a wicket and dismissing a batsman once every 15 balls.
Take him lightly at your own peril.