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The Netherlands have qualified for the World Twenty20 Super 10 stage after an incredible victory over Ireland as they chased down their target of 190 to win with six wickets and 37 balls remaining.
FORMER Australian spinner Colin “Funky’’ Miller has taken great delight at how cricket has become more funky.
He says the Twenty20 game has given minnow nations more impetus and predicts a side like Nepal or Hong Kong will one day be crowned Twenty20 world champions.
Miller, who played 18 Tests for Australia including one with his hair dyed electric blue, now lives in Las Vegas but has been watching the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh via the internet.
He has loved watching The Netherlands qualify for the main group and has enjoyed watching nations like Hong Kong and Nepal have memorable wins.
Miller says cricket’s traditional powerhouse teams better watch their backs in the shortest form of the game.
“It seems that this 20-over game has really invigorated these once minnows, players now grow up playing T20 as their first experience of cricket,’’ Miller told News Limited.
“And now the traditional power countries of the game had better watch out.
“T20 cricket is akin to the handicap system in golf. On any given day a team not given a chance of victory can have an on day, take a few chances, hit a few in the middle and cause what once would have been called one of the greatest upsets in the game.
“I can’t wait for the day that Ireland or Hong Kong or Nepal, or even Papua New Guinea are crowned as world T20 champions. And don’t forget to keep an eye out for China in a few years.’’
Colin Miller sends one down. Source: News Limited
Miller retired 12 years ago and says he could not have imagined a team like Hong Kong now holding full ODI status. And he never foresaw how Twenty20 cricket would rise to become the dominant money earner for professional cricketers.
Miller, one of the most versatile players Australia produced who switched from pace bowling to offspin in the middle of his career, would have surely been a hit in Twenty20 cricket.
The World Twenty20 is the only major cricket trophy Australia has not won but Miller believes it is finally on the right track.
After being slow learners in Twenty20 cricket and for years selecting sides that were a near replica of sides in other forms of the game, Australia has taken a specialist squad of Twenty20 cricketers to Bangladesh.
“It would seem that the Aussies have taken selection for this tournament pretty seriously and for what might be the first time, selected a squad of 20-over specialists,’’ Miller said.
“Who cares that one of those guys is 43 years of age, there are also the 20-year-olds in there as well.”
Australian skipper George Bailey agrees that Twenty20 cricket is the perfect format for spreading the game to new areas.
“I’ve got no doubt Twenty20 has sparked cricket interest in Afghanistan, the UAE, Hong Kong and Nepal … those countries certainly believe,’’ Bailey said.
“If international sides are going to play the less cricket-developed nations then Twenty20 is the vehicle for it.’’
Watch our latest cricket news video round-up from the ICC World Twenty20 2014 in Bangladesh on a day when Nepal upset Afghanistan and Hong Kong shocked hosts Bangladesh.
However, despite a two-wicket defeat, Bangladesh still qualified for the Super 10s, where they will play Australia, India, Pakistan and the West Indies, due to a superior net run-rate to Nepal.
It was a dramatic day and one which saw a number of outstanding performances.
Nepal beat Afghanistan by nine runs before Hong Kong dismissed Bangladesh for 108 and then got home in the final over, Haseeb Amjad winning the game with a six.
There were also two women’s warm-up matches today and tomorrow sees a triple-header as Group B concludes with Ireland v Netherlands and UAE v Zimbabwe and Group 1 begins as arch-rivals India and Pakistan clash.
© Cricket World 2014