The International Cricket Council (ICC) today announced the schedule of the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier 2013 which will take place in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from 15 to 30 November, 2013.
In exactly 100 days, sixteen sides from across the globe will feature in the 15-day tournament which will be played at seven venues – Dubai International Cricket Stadium and ICC Academy grounds No.1 and No.2 in Dubai, Zayed Cricket Stadium and Abu Dhabi Ovals 1 and 2 in Abu Dhabi and the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
The 16 teams have been divided into two groups with last year’s winner, Ireland, in Group A alongside Canada, Hong Kong, Italy, Namibia, Uganda, USA and the host United Arab Emirates, while Group B comprises of Afghanistan, Bermuda, Denmark, Netherlands, Nepal, Kenya, Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Scotland.
The top six sides in the tournament will qualify for the ICC World Twenty20 2014 scheduled to be held in Bangladesh in March next year. The qualifying teams will form part of the opening round of Twenty20 cricket’s crowning event.
ICC’s Global Development Manager, Tim Anderson, said: “The time has come once again for important and prestigious event on the ICC calendar in which 16 leading members amongst the Associates and Affiliates will vie for the six available places in the ICC World Twenty20 Bangladesh 2014.
“This final qualifier is the last step of a pathway that comprised 11 ICC regional tournaments during 2012 and 2013, this time we will see six teams gain the opportunity to be a part of the global tournament to be held next year.”
This is the third time that the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier is being held in the UAE. The tournament was last hosted in the country in 2012 and saw Afghanistan and Ireland claiming the qualifying positions.
The Chief Executive of the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB), David East, said: “We are happy and excited to host the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier 2013 for the third successive year…
“This qualifying event for next year’s ICC World Twenty20 2014 will take place ahead of the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup 2014, an event billed as the finishing school for future stars. The allocation of these two important events is an illustration of the faith and confidence the ICC has on the ECB in producing quality events.
“The ECB will ensure that it lives up to its high standards and will try it make the events memorable for the players, officials, spectators, media and the sponsors.”
According to the tournament format, the sides that will top the two groups at the conclusion of the group stages will automatically qualify for Bangladesh 2014 without having to make the final of the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier 2013.
Meanwhile, the sides that finish second and third in the two groups will play cross-over matches to be played at Dubai International Cricket Stadium on 27 November in a double-header. The two winners will also progress to the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier 2014.
The sides that finish fourth and fifth in the two groups will also play cross-over matches, to be played at ICC Academy Oval 1 and Oval 2 respectively. The winners of these two matches will then play the losers of the third v fourth cross-over fixtures; the victors of these matches will then also progress into the ICC World Twenty20 Bangladesh 2014.
Once the six qualifying teams have been identified, the winner of Group A will play the winner of the A2 v B3 play-off and the winner of Group B will play the winner of the A3 v B2 play-off, the victors of these two games will then progress to the final of the tournament.
The losers of the semi-finals will then play each other in the third/fourth play-off while the final two qualifying sides will play a fifth/sixth play-off. The rankings of the teams overall from this event will then identify as to which group they will go into for the first round of the ICC World Twenty20 2014 tournament, alongside Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.
The top eight Twenty20 sides, from the Full Members have automatically qualified for the second round of the ICC World Twenty20 2014, while the top two sides from the first round will join them later in the event.
Background of ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier
The ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier has grown in stature since it was first held in Belfast, Ireland, in August 2008. That event comprised the then six top Associate Members – Bermuda, Canada, Ireland, Kenya, Netherlands and Scotland.
Ireland and Netherlands shared the trophy when the final was washed-out without a ball being bowled. The two sides, along with Scotland which replaced Zimbabwe, qualified for the ICC World Twenty20 2009 which was staged at Lord’s, The Oval and Trent Bridge in England. Pakistan won the tournament beating Sri Lanka in the final at Lord’s.
The UAE hosted the second edition in February 2010 which was contested by the six sides having first-class and T20I status – Afghanistan, Canada, Ireland, Kenya, Netherlands and Scotland – as well as hosts UAE and United States of America (USA) who were specially invited by the ICC.
After 17 matches over six days at two venues in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Afghanistan and Ireland reached the final and qualified for the ICC World Twenty20 2010 which was staged in the West Indies and won by England. Afghanistan won the qualifying tournament when it defeated Ireland by eight wickets.
This 2012 edition of the tournament was also played in the UAE and was contested between Afghanistan, Netherlands, Canada, Papua New Guinea, Hong Kong, Bermuda, Denmark, Nepal, Ireland, Kenya, Scotland, Namibia, Uganda, Oman, Italy and USA.
The tournament, played in March 2012, was ultimately won by Ireland who defeated Afghanistan in the final, with both sides making it through to the ICC World Twenty20 Sri Lanka 2012 which was ultimately won by the West Indies.