UAE, 13 other countries prepare for T20 World Cup cricket qualifiers

ABU DHABI, Fourteen national cricket teams, including the UAE team, will compete in Abu Dhabi and Dubai this month in the 2019 International Cricket Council, ICC, T20 World Cup Qualifier. The results will determine which teams will go forward to the 2020 ICC World Cup cricket tournament in Australia.

The first stages of the competition began in February 2018, with teams from 61 Associate ICC members taking part. Of these, 25 teams proceeded to the regional finals earlier this year, with the top seven teams then winning places in the qualifier tournament, which runs from 18th October to 2nd November.

These teams are joined by the six teams from a 2015 qualifying tournament that were ranked outside the top ten places in the ICC T20 championship at the end of last year. The UAE wins its place as host of the tournament.

The six top teams in the qualifier games will then join Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in the first group stage of the 2020 ICC T20 World Cup to compete for a place in the final stages against the cricketing countries, which have already qualified: Pakistan, India, England, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, West Indies and Afghanistan.

The teams competing in the UAE-hosted qualifier have been divided into two groups.

Scotland, The Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Namibia, Singapore, Kenya and Bermuda are in Group A, while the UAE is in Group B, along with Oman, Ireland, Jersey, Hong Kong, Canada and Nigeria. Following a round-robin series of matches in each group, the top teams will then compete in the play-offs to determine the order of the six teams that will qualify for the finals in Australia.

Group A teams will play at the ICC Academy Ground in Dubai Sports City and at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. Group B teams will play their matches at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

The play-offs, the semi-final and final will take place at the Dubai International Stadium, with the exception of one match at the ICC Academy Ground, between 29th October and 2nd November.

The UAE team, captained by Muhammad Naveed, was announced last month by the Emirates Cricket Board.

In a statement announcing the team, Waleed Bukhatir, a Board member and Chief Selector, said, “Our goal in this tournament is to finish top of our pool and to secure direct qualification into the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2020 [in Australia]. We are confident in our side’s ability to help make this a reality,” he said.

“The Emirates Cricket Board,” Bukhatir added, “is exceptionally proud to be hosts of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifiers. We are delighted to be able to welcome 14 exceptionally talented cricketing nations to the UAE, and to the world-class facilities on offer in Abu Dhabi at the Zayed Cricket Stadium, the ICC Academy and the Dubai International Stadium, in Dubai.

“We wish all teams an enjoyable tournament and encourage the cricket-loving community to take advantage of the great weather and free entry to watch what will be fifteen days of scintillating cricket across three outstanding venues.”

Source: Emirates News Agency

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