Final opportunity for World Cup dreamers

ICC Media: In what is undoubtedly the most important men’s tournament of 2018, 10 leading and proud cricket nations will go head to head in a cut-throat ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018 to fight it out for the remaining two places at the ICC’s pinnacle 50-over tournament – the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 – which will be staged in England and Wales from 30 May to 14 July.

Two-time former world champions Windies are top-seeded in the tournament, which will be played across four venues in Bulawayo and Harare from 4-25 March. The Windies, who were clearly far from their best in the two warm-up matches when they lost to Afghanistan and barely won against the United Arab Emirates (UAE), will open their campaign on Tuesday, 6 March, against the UAE at the Old Hararians.

Alongside the Windies and the UAE in Group A are Ireland, the Netherlands and Papua New Guinea (PNG). On the opening day on Sunday, fourth-seeded Ireland will square-off against the Netherlands at the Old Hararians, while PNG will take on the UAE at the Harare Sports Club.

Second-seeded Afghanistan lead Group B, which also comprises third-seeded hosts Zimbabwe, defending champions Scotland, Hong Kong and Nepal. Afghanistan will launch their campaign on the opening day on Sunday against Scotland at the Bulawayo Athletic Club, while Zimbabwe will face Nepal at the Queens Sports Club.

Each side will play the other teams in their group once with the top three from the groups progressing to the Super Six. The teams will each play three Super Six matches against the sides they did not meet in the group stage. All points won in the groups (two for a win, one for a no-result and zero for a loss) will be carried over to the Super Six stage apart from those gained against the bottom two from each group.

The top two teams in the Super Six stage will qualify for the World Cup and also contest the final to be played at the Harare Sports Club on 25 March, while the Netherlands (ICC World Cricket League Championship winners) and the three highest finishing Associate Members will earn ODI status till 2022.

Today’s fixtures (matches featuring the Netherlands and Nepal will be classified as non-ODIs as the two sides don’t have ODI status coming into this tournament):

●Ireland v Netherlands, Old Hararains (Group A)

●PNG v the UAE, Harare Sports Club (Group A)

●Zimbabwe v Nepal, Queens Sports Club (Group B)

●Afghanistan v Scotland, Bulawayo Athletic Club (Group B)

In the event of teams finishing on equal points in a Group, the ordering of teams will be decided in the following order of priority:

●   The team with the most wins in the Group matches will be placed in the higher position.

●   If there are teams with equal points and equal wins in the Group matches then in such case the team with the higher net run-rate in the Group matches will be placed in the higher position

●   If two or more teams are still equal, they will be ordered according to the head to head match(es) played between them (points then net run-rate in those matches).

●   If the above does not resolve the Group ordering, or if all matches within a Group produce no-results, then any tied teams will be ordered as per their Group seedings and the top three teams in each Group will progress to the Super Six stage.

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