This is the first time that six non-Test playing countries will advance to cricket’s most exciting event
First time six Associate & Affiliate sides have qualified to the ICC World Twenty20
ICC President Alan Isaac has congratulated Ireland for winning the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier UAE 2013 after the defending champion defeated 2010 winner Afghanistan in the final by 68 runs in a match that was broadcast live by ICC’s broadcast partner, STAR Sports, from Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
The two finalists had already qualified for the ICC World Twenty20 Bangladesh 2014 after topping their respective groups in the tournament, and Ireland now progresses to Bangladesh as the number-one ranked qualifier, and will compete in Group B alongside Zimbabwe, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Netherlands.
This marks Ireland’s fourth consecutive appearance at the ICC World Twenty20, and is also the first time that six non-Test playing countries will advance to cricket’s most exciting event.
Mr Isaac said: “The final was played in the spirit of our great game, and was a wonderful spectacle of cricket for the fans in Abu Dhabi and those watching the live broadcast coverage around the world. The match was a testament to the continuously improving standard and depth of cricket in Associate and Affiliate countries.
"Congratulations to Ireland, which has displayed incredible performances to record its third victory at the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier. The way the team performed throughout the tournament has shown discipline, determination and incredible ability under pressure.
"Congratulations also go to Afghanistan, which will be making its third consecutive appearance at the ICC World Twenty20. Both teams qualified for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 earlier this year, and I am delighted to see them continue to raise the standards and profile of cricket,” he said.
In total, six teams have qualified from this event to the ICC World Twenty20 Bangladesh 2014, an increase from two in 2012. Nepal and Hong Kong have made history by qualifying to their maiden global ICC event, while the Netherlands will reappear at the tournament after defeating England in the 2009 event and the UAE will be playing in its first global ICC event since the ICC Cricket World Cup 1996.
Mr Isaac said: “I am very pleased to congratulate four more teams on their qualification Qualifying to the ICC World Twenty20 Bangladesh 2014 is a wonderful opportunity for these countries to showcase their talent on a truly global stage, as well as promote and develop the game in their respective countries, so congratulations to Hong Kong, Nepal, the Netherlands and the UAE for their outstanding efforts.”
Mr Isaac continued: “This is a truly exciting time in Associate and Affiliate cricket, and I wish the teams all the very best of luck as they begin their preparations for international cricket’s most exciting event, the ICC World Twenty20 Bangladesh 2014.”
Mr Isaac also thanked the contribution of ICC's commercial partners: "The ICC owes a huge vote of thanks to our commercial partners, Reliance, LG, Pepsi, Emirates, Reebok, Castrol, MoneyGram and Hyundai. The ongoing support from out sponsors is essential as we continue to promote cricket around the globe, particularly Associate and Affiliate cricket," he said.
"The ICC would also like to thank STAR Sports, its global broadcast partner, for its efforts in producing high quality broadcast coverage of the final days of the tournament, as well as STAR Sports' licensees, which have broadcast those matches around the globe. In addition to the live-streaming of 16 group stage matches, the broadcast coverage of the tournament has helped fans around the world see the very best of Associate cricket," Mr Isaac said.
Mr Isaac thanked the Emirates Cricket Board and venues for hosting the event. “I would like to thank the venues, the ground staff and the Emirates Cricket Board for doing a terrific job in staging these matches,” he said.
“Thanks also to the match officials and the support staff of the competing teams, who have worked tirelessly to make this event a success. You can all reflect on a job well done,” he said.
"Lastly, I would like to thank all the players for giving their best performances while upholding the spirit of our Great Sport. I have no doubt that the players will take a lot of positives from this tournament, and I look forward to seeing many of them again in January, where they will compete for the final two qualification spots at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015."