20 October 2017

Namibia to Host World Cricket League Division 2

NAMIBIA's remote chances of qualifying for the 2019 Cricket World Cup (CWC) were given a boost when the International Cricket Council (ICC) recently awarded it the right to host the World Cricket League Division 2 tournament in February next year.

The home ground advantage will count in Namibia's favour, but qualification for the 2019 CWC in England and Wales will be extremely tough, after the ICC reduced the number of participating countries from 14 in 2015 to 10 in 2019.

There will now be two qualifying tournaments for CWC 2019, with the top two teams at the WCL Division 2 in Namibia progressing to the final CWC Qualifier in Zimbabwe in March next year.

The top two teams in Zimbabwe will then qualify for the World Cup to join the world's top eight One Day International (ODI) ranked nations.

Namibia's chances of qualifying for Zimbabwe next year via the World Cricket League Championship that they are currently competing in already disappeared a while ago as they are currently second last in the eight-nation competition.

The top four countries will qualify directly for Zimbabwe where they will battle it out against the West Indies, Afghanistan, Ireland and Zimbabwe for two places at the World Cup.

With one round remaining in the WCL Championship, the Netherlands on 19 points and Papua New Guinea on 16 have already qualified for Zimbabwe, but Scotland (15), Hong Kong (14) and Kenya (12) still have a chance to grab the final two spots.

Nepal (9), Namibia (6) and UAE (6) cannot make the top four positions anymore and will now compete in Windhoek next year along with Canada and Oman for the final two spots for Zimbabwe.

The ICC last week also announced important changes to world cricket, with a Test Series League consisting of nine teams being introduced that will start in 2019, while a 13-nation ODI league will start in 2020.

The ODI league will be a direct qualification pathway towards the ICC Cricket World Cup and will be contested by the 12 full members plus the winners of the current ICC World Cricket League Championship.

The final round of matches in the WCL Championship will be held in Dubai from 6 to 8 December 2017, with the Netherlands, PNG, Scotland and Hong Kong still in with a chance of winning the competition.

ICC chairman Shashank Manohar said: "I would like to congratulate our members on reaching this agreement and putting the interests of the development of the game first. Bringing context to bilateral cricket is not a new challenge, but this is the first time a genuine solution has been agreed on.

"This means fans around the world can enjoy international cricket knowing every game counts and in the case of the ODI league, it counts towards qualification to the ICC Cricket World Cup," he added.

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