Scotland and Namibia in the Super 12

Looking at the performances of the two associates in the Super 12 stage it has to be said that they both underperformed. Namibia will be the most pleased, leaving with the honours in the match between the two, but when it came to their matches against the four full members they were well off the pace.

Of course the four full members they came up against had some of the best T20 players in the world amongst their numbers. The T20 game has moved on considerably since the last tournament was played in 2016 and with associate players largely (and often unfairly) overlooked by the T20 franchise league circuit, they've been somewhat left behind.

The most obvious skill deficit was with bowling in the final phase of an innings. When bowling first both Namibia and Scotland often kept the run scoring down until the last five or six overs when the batting team started to run away with things.

With less than 12 months to go until the next T20 World Cup, there isn't much time to close the gap. Players from both teams have no doubt increased their stock on the franchise circuit, with Mark Watt - definitely Scotland's best player - being immediately picked up for the Abu Dhabi T10 league. More players involved in the various franchise league can only help.

ICC qualifying nonsense

The performance of Bangladesh in the Super 12 exemplified how badly the ICC can mess up qualifying for their tournaments. Despite losing all five matches in the Super 12 they retain their place in the Super 12 next time because they - just about - remained in the top eight of the rankings. Sri Lanka and the West Indies, who both finished ahead of Bangladesh in the same group, both have to play in the so-called first round.

It's the inconsistency that is maddening. Had Bangladesh not made it to the Super 12 stage they would have had to play in one of the global qualifiers for the next tournament, irrespective of their ranking. Likewise, had the West Indies made the final they'd have been in the Super 12 stage next time automatically even if they were ranked outside the top eight.

That Bangladesh remained in the top eight despite only beating Oman and Papua New Guinea should be taken as a sign that the ICC T20I rankings are not fit for purpose and should never be used to decide qualification, especially when there's a recent tournament you can use instead.

Players with long careers

There was some talk at the T20 World Cup about the long careers of Shoaib Malik and Chris Gayle, who both made their debuts back in 1999. But there have also been some 1990s debutants playing recently in associate cricket.

Like Gayle and Malik, Amjad Khan made his international debut in 1999, and was recently in action for Denmark at the European qualifier. Frank Nsubuga, who helped Uganda to a win in one of the two African sub-regional qualifiers last month, made his debut back at the 1997 ICC Trophy when he played for East and Central Africa. Gibraltar's Dave Robeson recently returned to their side after a twenty year absence to play in a T20I against Bulgaria having made his debut at the inaugural European Championship in Denmark back in 1996.

Longest of them all though is Alejandro Ferguson, who made his debut for Argentina way, way, back at the 1994 ICC Trophy alongside his father Tony and has been a regular for them ever since, including at the ongoing Americas qualifier in Antigua. Long careers run in his family. Dad Tony played for Argentina from 1965 to 1994, whilst granddad George played from 1930 until 1960.

Younger brother Paul may have had a shorter international career, playing from 1997 to 2014, but don't bet against another member of the Ferguson clan cropping up in Argentine squads over the next 30 years.

Qualifying round-up

Qualifying for the next men's and women's T20 World Cup has continued in the three weeks since my last column. The Americas women's qualifier concluded with the USA securing the region's place in the global qualifier, whilst Brazil secured second in extraordinary fashion in a last day match against Canada.

With Canada needing just three runs from the final over with five wickets in hand, Brazil bowled a dot ball and followed it with five wickets - the first and last being run outs - with the only run being one scored before the last run out. Brazil had successfully defended 48 to win by one run.

Also in the Americas region the men's qualifier reaches its conclusion today in Antigua. The USA have already secured their place in the next stage of qualifying, with Canada well placed to join them. The Canadians need a win over Panama today to be certain, and even if they lose Bermuda will need a thumping win over Argentina to overcome the net run rate margin.

In Africa - where only one team is progressing from the sub-regional qualifiers unlike the two I mentioned last time after a change in the structure - the group B qualifier has concluded in Rwanda. Tanzania and Botswana each won their first three matches convincingly to set up a final day decider. A closely fought contest ended with Tanzania winning by 3 runs to secure their place in the African final.

That final starts on Wednesday with Tanzania and Uganda coming up against Nigeria and Kenya in an intense double round-robin tournament played over just four days.

The Asian Western region qualifier in Qatar started with the hosts losing to Bahrain by 8 wickets in the opening match. That defeat came back to haunt Qatar though as they fell just short on net run rate by a margin of just 0.093 to Bahrain who join Hong Kong as Asia's representatives in the next stage of qualifying.