Hong Kong, Scotland seal Zim berths

HARARE – Two more teams – Hong Kong, Scotland – have confirmed their participation in the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier to be held in Zimbabwe after the completion of the 2015-17 ICC World Cricket League Championship.

Zimbabwe is scheduled to host the qualifiers in March next year after the ICC agreed to reduce the number of participating teams at the 2019 Cricket World Cup to 10 from 14.

A new World Cup qualification format was introduced in which the host nation England and the top seven teams on the ICC ODI Championship as of September 30, 2017 would directly qualify for the tournament.

The other two remaining slots would be then up for grabs at a qualifying tournament featuring the least ranked sides – the West Indies, Zimbabwe, Ireland and Afghanistan – and those from the World Cricket League Championship.

The Netherlands finished top of the ICC World Cricket League Championship and claimed the 13th ODI League position after an action-packed day of cricket in Dubai yesterday.

Joining the Netherlands in Zimbabwe will be Papua New Guinea together with Scotland and Hong Kong, who claimed the two remaining slots.

At least two more slots are still available for the qualifiers and they will be decided next February when the 2018 ICC World Cricket League Division Two concludes with a tournament in Namibia.

The teams that will take part in that tournament are Canada, Oman, Kenya, Nepal, the United Arab Emirates and Namibia.

Meanwhile, the Netherlands captain Peter Borren is pleased with his side’s triumph in the ICC World Cricket League Championship and qualification to take part in the qualifier in Zimbabwe.

“It is an amazing feeling, definitely the highlight of my career. With winning the ICC World Cricket League Championship, we have now become the thirteenth team in the ODI League and this is huge; I could not be prouder of the effort of the team not just today, but also over the last three years,” Borren said.

Hong Kong captain Babar Hayat was equally excited.

“We are very excited to qualify for the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier. We are very excited to qualify for the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier,” Hayat said.

“We are very excited to qualify for the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier, we have been preparing for a long time, we went to Australia, we played in Hong Kong and have come here (to Dubai) early and we are really excited to play in the qualifiers. We are really looking forward to it and going to prepare hard.”

Scotland captain Kyle Coetzer said: “There was a job to get done, we wanted to be as composed and aggressive as possible. We had a strong performance today and it is great to have confirmed qualification to the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers. I am very happy for the team and everyone who has played their part.”