Following on from the World Cup Qualifiers Group stage that finished on Monday, six teams will compete for the two spots available at the 2019 World Cup. By virtue of qualifying for this stage, Scotland and the UAE have achieved ODI status for the next international cycle.
The six teams all finished in the top three of their groups, and the points that they won off one another carry through to the Super Sixes, with points that were won against teams that didn’t qualify being dropped.
Every side to have competed so far in the World Cup Qualifiers have been victims of an inept International Cricket Council, who are intent on limiting the growth of cricket, hence their ridiculous decision to shrink the 2019 World Cup down to 10 teams. The competitiveness of the Qualifier so far only makes this decision seem all the more absurd. Associate nations have enjoyed two victories and a tie against Full members: Scotland beat Afghanistan by 7 wickets; Hong Kong beat Afghanistan by 30 runs; Scotland tied with Zimbabwe. On top of this, the UAE hit a valiant 297 runs in defeat against the West Indies.
Super Sixes Table
The tournament favourites face a tricky Super Sixes stage. Jason Holder’s side face two Test nations, and one Associate that was unbeaten against said Test nations in the previous group stage. If they win all their games then they are guaranteed qualification, whilst winning two of the three would probably assure qualification as well.
15 March vs Afghanistan
19 March vs Zimbabwe
21 March vs Scotland
The Scots were extremely unfortunate to not come into this round with maximum points, after a thrilling tie against hosts Zimbabwe. That being said, they remain unbeaten and are one of the from sides and surprise packages of the tournament so far. They start off against the UAE, which won’t be an easy match for Kyle Coetzer’s side as this tournament has been full of surprises. After the UAE, matches against Ireland and the West Indies follow. Scotland, like the West Indies, Zimbabwe, and Ireland, know that should they win all of their games then they will guarantee qualification. They will be hoping that Afghanistan can do them a favour and topple the West Indies in the first round of fixtures.
15 March vs UAE
18 March vs Ireland
21 March vs West Indies
In a similar scenario to Scotland, Zimbabwe will instead be hoping that their are wins for the UAE and Afghanistan in the first round of fixtures. There are no easy matches at this stage, and Zimbabwe will be under the added pressure of being a Test nation and the hosts. Three wins will be enough for Zimbabwe, while two wins would see them reliant on other results going their way.
16 March vs Ireland
19 March vs West Indies
23 March vs UAE
Out of the top four sides, the Irish face the steepest climb to the World Cup. Only bringing two points through to the Super Sixes will be a hinderance, but not on that can’t be overcome. Openers William Porterfield and Paul Stirling have hit form at the right time, and will be hoping to propel Ireland into the 2019 World Cup. Teams from Group A arguably have the harder set of fixtures though, which will make Ireland qualifying a fantastic achievement should it happen. Ireland have to win all three games to have any chance of qualifying.
16 March vs Zimbabwe
18 March vs Scotland
23 March vs Afghanistan
Lucky to have made it this far after a dire Group stage, Afghanistan know that even if they win all of their games, they may not qualify. An opening round victory against the West Indies would do Scotland and Zimbabwe a world of good.
15 March vs West Indies
19 March vs Zimbabwe
23 March vs Ireland
Massive underdogs at the Super Sixes, the UAE are not helped by their awful NRR, made so by a 222-run defeat to Ireland. Like Afghanistan, even if they win all of their matches they still may not qualify. Through qualifying for the Super Sixes, they have gained ODI status for the next international cycle.
15 March vs Scotland
20 March vs Afghanistan
22 March vs Zimbabwe
ODI Status Play-Offs
15 March: Papua New Guinea v Nepal
15 March: Netherlands v Hong Kong
17 March: 7th/8th place play-off
17 March: 9th/10th place play-off
The four teams that didn’t qualify are all now competing for the last ODI Status spot for the upcoming international cycle. The Netherlands have already secured ODI status, by winning the World Cricket League. This means that: Papua New Guinea, Nepal, and Hong Kong are fighting it out to become the final ODI nation.
If the Netherlands beat Hong Kong, then whoever wins between Papua New Guinea and Nepal will claim the last ODI spot, as they would face the Netherlands in the 7th/8th place play-off, and seeing that the Netherlands already have ODI status, the Dutch would have nothing to play for.
If the Netherlands lose to Hong Kong, then the winners of Papua New Guinea and Nepal will play against Hong Kong in a play-off to decide who gets the last ODI spot, and the losers of the Papua New Guinea and Nepal will miss out on ODI status and play the Dutch in the 9th/10th place play-off.