Two-time winners the West Indies and 1996 champions Sri Lanka have been drawn into opposing groups for the upcoming ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023 Qualifier that will take place in Zimbabwe between June 18 and July 9.
Each match will be high stakes, with teams contesting for two places at the World Cup in India in October-November.
The 10 teams taking part in the qualifier are split into two groups of five teams. Hosts Zimbabwe, the West Indies, the Netherlands, Nepal, and the United States make up Group A, while Sri Lanka, Ireland, Scotland, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates form Group B.
Queen’s Sports Club and Bulawayo Athletic Club in Bulawayo, Harare Sports Club, and Takashinga Cricket Club in Harare will share 34 matches between them, with Harare Sports Club staging the final on July 9. Old Hararians Cricket Club will also host warm-up fixtures.
The top three teams from each group advance to the Super Six stage, with each team playing the other teams in their group once. They will compete against teams they did not face in the group stage in the Super Six.
Except for points earned against teams that do not advance to the Super Six stage, all points obtained during the group stage will be carried over to that stage. Both finalists advance to the 2023 World Cup.
Zimbabwe will feature on the opening matchday at Harare Sports Club against Nepal, who are aiming to qualify for the World Cup for the first time. West Indies will also be in action on June 18 against the USA at Takashinga Cricket Club.
Sri Lanka facing the UAE at Queen’s Sports Club in Group B on June 19 in Bulawayo, while Ireland will face off against Oman.
The Netherlands will open their campaign against Zimbabwe on June 20 at Harare Sports Club, while Scotland faces rivals Ireland in Bulawayo on June 21 at Queens Sports Club. The Super Six stage will commence on June 29, while the bottom two teams from each group will compete in the Playoff.
DRS will be used for all matches from the Super Six stage onwards, for the first time in the tournament.
The Qualifier, the climax of four years of grueling competition, features the five teams from the ICC Men's CWC Super League, three automatic qualifiers from the ICC Men's CWC League 2, and two teams that advanced from the ICC Men's CWC Qualifier Play-off.