With the 2019 Cricket World Cup main event slated to be held in England and Wales, at least 10 teams will fight for two places up for grabs during the qualifiers in March 2018 in Zimbabwe.
The battle for the final two spots will see countries like Afghanistan, Ireland and the hosts Zimbabwe locking horns against each other. However, all eyes will be on two-times world champions and a star-studded West Indies team that had missed out on automatic qualification for the 2019 World Cup by finishing outside the top eight on the ICC ODI Team Rankings at the September 30, 2017 (cut-off date).
Moreover, they will be accompanied by Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Scotland and Papua New Guinea who ended up in the top four of the ICC World Cricket League Championship. The remaining two sides will be confirmed after the culmination of the ICC World Cricket League Division 2, scheduled to be played in Namibia from February 8-15. Team such as Canada, Kenya, Namibia, Nepal, Oman and the United Arab Emirates will feature in Division 2 tournament.
The 10 teams taking part in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2019 are divided into two groups of five teams. The West Indies, Ireland, the Netherlands, Papua New Guinea and winners of the ICC World Cricket League Division 2 re slotted in Group A, while Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, Scotland, Hong Kong and runners-up of the ICC World Cricket League Division 2 make up Group B.
Each side will face other in their respective group once with the top three progressing to the Super Six stage. All the 6 sides qualified for Super Six will play against the sides they did not encountered in the group stage. All points earned in the group stage will be carried over to the Super Six stage besides those fetched against the bottom two from each group. Subsequently, the finalists of the event will feature in the World Cup.
Here’s the full fixture (1st round):
March 4: PNG v WCL Div.2 winner; Ireland v Netherlands; Zimbabwe v WCL Div.2 (runners-up); Afghanistan v Scotland.
March 6: PNG v Ireland; West Indies v WCL Div.2 (winner); Zimbabwe v Afghanistan; Scotland v Hong Kong.
March 8: Netherlands v WCL Div.2 (winner); West Indies v PNG; Scotland v WCL Div.2 (runners-up); Afghanistan v Hong Kong.
March 10: West Indies v Ireland; PNG v Netherlands; Zimbabwe v Hong Kong; Afghanistan v WCL Div.2 (runners-up).
March 12: West Indies v Netherlands; Ireland v WCL Div.2 (winners); Hong Kong v WCL Div.2 (runners-up); Zimbabwe v Scotland.
March 15: A1 v B1; A3 v B3; A5 v B4 (play-off); A4 v B5 (play-off).
March 16: A2 v B2.
March 17: 9th/10th position play-off; 7th/8th position play-off.
March 18: A2 v B3.
March 19: A1 v B2.
(With PTI inputs)