The 2018 ICC World Cup Qualifiers are set to begin in March in Zimbabwe which will see the top two teams make their way to 2019 World Cup. The tournament will see the likes of Windies, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, and Ireland lock horns against one another in a bid to reach the World Cup.
The tournament was initially scheduled to take place in Bangladesh but with the sub-continent team qualifying for the World Cup in 2019, it was announced that the venue would be shifted to an alternate location. Three bids were under consideration; one from Zimbabwe, one from the United Arab Emirates, and a joint-bid from Ireland and Scotland, out of which the African country emerged as the winner.
Ten teams will contest the qualifiers in Zimbabwe, which begins on March 4, with two going through to join the top eight-ranked nations in a slimmed-down World Cup in England which will run from May 30 to July 15, 2019.
“Seeing four Full Member sides up against our best Associate Member teams who have progressed through qualification will make for some exciting cricket. This is the conclusion of a four-year qualification process that began with regional events and progressed through to the global World Cricket League. There is a huge amount at stake for all ten teams battling it out for the remaining two spots at the ICC Cricket World Cup.”
Group A: Windies (A1), Ireland (A2), Netherlands (A3), Papua New Guinea (A4), and ICC World Cricket League Division 2 (WCL Div.2) winner (A5)
Group A will see the likes of Windies take on the dangerous Irish, along with the unpredictable Netherlands who are the reigning World Cricket League champions and runners-up Papua New Guinea.
The winner of world cricket league division 2, which is yet to be determined will occupy the fifth and the last spot in Pool A.
Group B: Afghanistan (B1), Zimbabwe (B2), Scotland (B3), Hong Kong (B4), ICC World Cricket League Division 2 (WCL Div.2) runners-up (B5)
African underdogs Zimbabwe and Asian side Afghanistan are both a part of Pool B and are set to lock horns in the group stages. The likes of Scotland and Hong Kong have also qualified for spots in Pool B after finishing in the top four of the World Cricket League.
The fifth and the final spot in Pool B will be given to the ICC World Cricket League Division 2 runner-up which is also still in contention.