The Cricket World Cup Qualifier Play-off in Namibia will see six teams reduced to two in the race to qualify for the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023.
The ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023 Qualifier Play-off will be held in Namibia with the hosts joined by Canada, Jersey, Papua New Guinea, United Arab Emirates and the United States for the round-robin series.
The Qualifier Play-off includes the bottom four teams in the recently-completed League 2 series (Namibia, USA, UAE and PNG), as well as the winners of each of the Challenge League groups (Canada and Jersey).
Every match in the Qualifier Play-Off will carry ODI status, meaning the teams coming from the Challenge League pathway (Canada and Jersey) will play ‘ODIs’ for the first time in the cycle.
Each team will play five ODIs between 26 March and 5 April with the top two in the final standings progressing to the Cricket World Cup Qualifier.
The six teams competing in the Qualifier Play-off are therefore two steps away from clinching a berth at the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023.
The top two in the Qualifier Play-off will join eight other teams in the Qualifier to be held in Zimbabwe from 18 June to 9 July, with the top two in that event booking the last spots at the Cricket World Cup 2023.
In a curious event within the event, the bottom two League 2 teams (UAE and PNG), and each of the Challenge League winners (Canada and Jersey), will be competing for two places in the League 2 tournament - and ODI status that comes with it - in the next cycle.
The top two of those four teams will grab a League 2 spot, while the remaining two will play in the Challenge League.
Squad: Saad Bin Zafar (c), Aaron Johnson, Matt Spoors, Dilon Heyliger, Harsh Thaker, Jeremy Gordon, Kaleem Sana, Nicholas Kirton, Nikhil Dutta, Pargat Singh, Ravinderpal Singh, Parveen Kumar, Shreyaas Movva, Srimantha Wijeyeratne
Canada's surge to the top of the Challenge League A group came with only one loss in their 15 matches and should provide plenty of confidence that they can make a statement against opposition coming from the League 2 series.
The foundation of Canada's hot streak has been an even spread of talent across an experienced batting line-up that should enjoy the opportunity to test themselves as the stakes rise.
Srimantha Wijeyeratne smashed 393 runs from only eight Challenge League innings, while Ravinderpal Singh can also plunder quick runs, and Nicholas Kirton and Harsh Thaker have shown plenty of promise. Veteran Navneet Dhaliwal hit the second-most runs in the Challenge League A with 479 but will miss this tournament.
Skipper Saad Bin Zafar tends to be the most reliable performer with the ball, although left-arm quick Kaleem Sana claimed 16 wickets from only four matches in the Challenge League and could be crucial to Canada's chances of progressing.
Squad: Charles Perchard (c), Daniel Birrell, Dominic Blampied, Harrison Carlyon, Jake Dunford (wk), Nick Greenwood, Anthony Hawkins-Kay, Jonty Jenner, Josh Lawrenson, Elliot Miles, Ben Stevens, Julius Sumerauer, Asa Tribe, Benjamin Ward
The winners of the Challenge League B group will be out to ride that wave of success and the boost that will come from playing matches with ODI status for the first time to stun some of their more fancied opponents.
Jersey have a host of emerging batters that are set to gain valuable experience from this event but are well within their rights to also have an eye on securing a place in the Qualifier after impressing in the Challenge League.
Nick Greenwood (23 years old) led all-comers as the highest run-scorer in that series with 809 from 15 matches, while Harrison Carlyon (22), Jonty Jenner (25) and Josh Lawrenson (20) were also among the top 10.
Skipper Charles Perchard will be part of a well-balanced bowling attack set to be led by young pacer Julius Sumerauer, with spinners Elliot Miles and Dominic Blampied also threats.
Squad: Gerhard Erasmus (c), Shaun Fouche, Niko Davin, Michael van Lingen, Jan Nicol Loftie-Eaton, Michau du Preez, Zane Green, Helao Ya France, Bernard Scholtz, Ruben Trumpelmann, Ben Shikongo, Joshuan Julius, Mauritius Ngupita, Karl Birkenstock
Namibia will be out to take advantage of familiar conditions and fervent fan support as they host the Qualifier Play-off 2023.
But the pressure to perform will be turned up on home soil especially without experienced players like Jan Frylinck, JJ Smit and Tangeni Lungameni due to injury, while the emerging Lohan Louwrens and Divan La Cock will also miss the Qualifier Play-off.
Namibia will expect to still have the depth to finish in the top two and keep their dream alive of reaching this year's ICC Cricket World Cup, especially with skipper Gerhard Erasmus leading the way after scoring the most runs (1298) in the League 2 series.
Michael van Lingen and Jan Nicol Loftie-Eaton offer support with the bat, while left-arm quick Ruben Trumpelmann and spinner Bernard Scholtz are the dangermen in a balanced bowling attack.
Papua New Guinea
Squad: Assad Vala (c), Kipling Doriga, Charles Amini, Alei Nao, Sese Bau, Tony Ura, Hiri Hiri, Riley Hekure, Norman Vanua, Sema Kamea, Kabua Vagi-Morea, Chad Soper, Gaudi Toka, Hila Vare, John Kariko
Papua New Guinea will enjoy entering the Qualifier Play-off with a clean slate after winning only five of their 36 League 2 matches over the past few years but finding form toward the end of that series.
Assad Vala will captain the team and lead the way with the bat, especially after the veteran demonstrated his class with the second-most runs in the League 2 series with 1290.
Experienced trio Tony Ura, Charles Amini and Sese Bau can add valuable runs, but PNG look to have fewer options with the ball as they rely on pacers Chad Soper and Norman Vanua to target quick wickets while Vala can tie up an end with his more-than-useful off-spin.
While progress to the Cricket World Cup Qualifier will be the main goal for PNG in Namibia, they will also be out to finish above at least two of Canada, Jersey and the UAE to return to League 2 and hold onto their ODI status in the next cycle.
United Arab Emirates
Squad: Muhammad Waseem (c), Aayan Khan, Ansh Tandon, Aryan Lakra, Asif Khan, Aryansh Sharma, Junaid Siddique, Karthik Meiyappan, Matiullah, Rameez Shahzad, Rohan Mustafa, Sanchit Sharma, Vriitya Aravind, Zahoor Khan
This tournament is the perfect opportunity for the UAE to prove that they belong in the top echelon and a top-two finish will be required from the Emirati side to confirm this.
On recent form one would expect the UAE to be among the favourites, but consistency has often proved their downfall in the past.
New skipper Muhammad Waseem has been seeing them well in recent times and will be expected to score heavily in Namibia, while the likes of experienced pacer Junaid Siddique and wily spinner Karthik Meiyappan provide enough sound bowling options.
This tournament also looms as an opportunity for UAE wunderkind Vriitya Aravind to make an impact on a bigger stage after compiling 1047 runs in the League 2 series to be among the top 10 scorers while starting out in the event as a teenager.
Squad: Monank Patel (c, wk), Aaron Jones, Shayan Jahangir (wk), Nosthush Kenjige, Ali Khan, Sushant Modani, Saiteja Mukkamalla, Saurabh Netravalkar, Nisarg Patel, Kyle Philip, Usman Rafiq, Gajanand Singh, Jasdeep Singh, Steven Taylor
The inconsistent USA will be extra motivated to make their mark and gain valuable experience on a bigger stage with an ICC Men's T20 World Cup heading to their shores next year.
But before then they will have to navigate their way through a tricky Qualifier Play-off to keep their hopes alive of reaching the Cricket World Cup this year, after missing out on a spot in the Qualifier due to a rollercoaster League 2 campaign.
Top-order batters Monank Patel and Aaron Jones will need to carry their League 2 form into the Qualifier Play-off to give the USA their best chance of progressing, while openers Steven Taylor and Sushant Modani will be out to give their prolific teammates a launching pad to attack from.
The bowling attack will be led by Saurabh Netravalkar after the quick took 58 wickets for the third-most in the League 2 series.
How to watch the Qualifier Play-off
The Cricket World Cup Qualifier Play-off will be available on Fancode in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal and Pakistan; and on Willow TV in the USA.
Fans in ALL other regions can watch the Qualifier Play-off live and FREE on ICC.tv on:
* ICC.tv website
* ICC.tv mobile apps (available in the App Store and Google Play)
* Samsung TV and LG TV apps
Cricket World Cup Qualifier Play-off
Watch Highlights of Every ODI as the USA and UAE Secured a Spot in the Next Stage - FREE on ICC.tv
All six teams will face each other in a round-robin tournament, as each team plays five ODIs in total.
The winner of each match will be awarded two points; with a tie, no result or abandoned match resulting in one point each.
Net run rate will also be calculated from each match and could prove crucial in the final standings that decide which two teams progress to the Cricket World Cup Qualifier. Net run rate is not applicable in matches that are declared as 'no result'.
Where teams finish equal on points, the order of their final standings will be determined in the following order:
- The team with the most wins
- If still equal, the team with the most wins over the other team(s) that are equal on points and have the same number of wins
- If still equal, the team with the highest net run rate
- If still equal, the teams will be ordered as per their original seeding
The Cricket World Cup Qualifier Play-off will be played at two venues in Windhoek, the capital city of Namibia; Wanderers Cricket Ground and United Cricket Club Ground.
The Cricket World Cup Qualifier Play-off will be played in Namibia from 26 March to 5 April.
- Namibia v USA, 9:30am, Wanderers Cricket Ground
- UAE v PNG, 9:30am, Wanderers Cricket Ground
- Jersey v Canada, 9:30am, United Cricket Club Ground
- Canada v USA, 9:30am, Wanderers Cricket Ground
- PNG v Namibia, 9:30am, United Cricket Club Ground
- Namibia v Jersey, 9:30am, Wanderers Cricket Ground
- USA v UAE, 9:30am, United Cricket Club Ground
- UAE v Canada, 9:30am, Wanderers Cricket Ground
- PNG v Jersey, 9:30am, United Cricket Club Ground
- PNG v USA, 9:30am, Wanderers Cricket Ground
- Namibia v UAE, 9:30am, United Cricket Club Ground
- Canada v Namibia, 9:30am, Wanderers Cricket Ground
- USA v Jersey, 9:30am, United Cricket Club Ground
- Jersey v UAE, 9:30am, Wanderers Cricket Ground
- Canada v PNG, 9:30am, United Cricket Club Ground