Cricket World Cup League 2: Team by Team Guide

The second iteration of Cricket World Cup League 2 promises context, drama and new heroes stepping up on the road to 2027.

By Daniel Beswick

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Beginning in Nepal on Thursday (15 February), the competition moves to an eight-team competition, with the top four taking automatic spots for the Cricket World Cup Qualifier.

Ahead of the new competition, an early look at the teams turning out in League 2 on the road to Cricket World Cup 2027.


It’s been a winding road for the Canadians to earn a spot at the League 2 table. First, the side topped their 2019-2022 Challenge League group to advance to the Qualifier Play-off in March and April last year. They then finished above both Jersey and Papua New Guinea to jump up to League 2, and earn their ODI status back, having lost it in 2019.

Led by Saad Bin Zafar, the side have built into their campaign with a one day tri-series with Hong Kong and Malaysia, as well as a bilateral tour of Nepal. Saad’s left-arm orthodox will be crucial in the campaign, as well as the left-arm seam of Kaleem Sana and the batting work of Aaron Johnson.

The side begin their League 2 campaign in UAE at the end of February, also facing Scotland in the second tri-series of the competition.

Canada defeat spirited Jersey in Qualifier Play-Off | Match Highlights

Canada defeat spirited Jersey in Qualifier Play-Off | Match Highlights | Cricket World Cup 2023 Qualifier Play-Off


After a period of T20 focus culminating in another qualification for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup for 2024, attention turns back to the longer white-ball format for Gerhard Erasmus’ side.

The Eagles come into the cycle refreshed, and would consider themselves perhaps a tad unlucky with how the last League 2 cycle shook out, missing out on an automatic spot for the Qualifier thanks to Nepal’s barnstorming final charge. From there, injuries and unavailabilities crippled their Qualifier Play-off campaign in a bid to move back into World Cup contention last cycle, as UAE and USA claimed the two remaining Qualifier spots.

Looking ahead, Namibia are close to full strength for their first assignment in Nepal. David Wiese is unavailable, though the side bring in U19 World Cup talent Jack Brassell, and welcome back opening batter JP Kotze in the squad.

Gerhard Erasmus stars with 121* | Oman v Namibia | CWC League 2


It may have taken two thirds of the cycle, over 30 players and the appointment of Monty Desai for Nepal to find the winning formula, though once they found it, they proved to be a force at League 2 level.

Winning 13 of the last 14 ODIs of the competition, Nepal snuck past Namibia to claim an automatic spot at the Qualifier, and looked a threat for everyone across the competition in Zimbabwe.

Nepal prevail against UAE to seal CWC Qualifier berth | Match Highlights

An Achilles heel for the side in previous times, there are reasons to be excited on the batting front, with numerous players standing up in recent outings. Anil Sah and Bhim Sharki’s twin centuries helped the side complete a 3-0 clean sweep against Canada, with Sah’s performance enough for him to be raced into the first League 2 squad after being initially omitted.

On the bowling front, expect Lalit Rajbanshi to play a big role in Nepal’s spin department, with newcomer Surya Tamang likely to emerge as the cycle goes on. Sompal Kami and miracle man Karan KC will be ever-present in the fast-bowling department.

Taking four wins in the opening home tri-series at the Tribhuvan University Ground presents a golden opportunity for the hosts to open an early buffer against fellow tournament threats.

Karan KC blitz sets up Nepal win over USA | CWC23 Qualifier

Karan KC registered figures of 4/33 against USA to star in Nepal's first win in the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2023.


After wins over South Africa and Bangladesh at the Cricket World Cup last year in India, Scott Edwards’ side are the team to beat, but the Dutch be well aware of the travails of hard-fought Associate cricket, and their seven opponents in the competition.

While the side miss the likes of Colin Ackermann, Logan van Beek and Paul van Meekeren for the first tri-series, many of the World Cup squad travel to Nepal for the first tri-series, and the side have bolstered their depth in recent years.

Young leg-spinner Shariz Ahmad is one player to have enjoyed the recent exposure to high-class international cricket, and should enjoy Nepali conditions should he be selected. Shariz, Aryan Dutt, Vikramjit Singh and ICC Associate Men's Cricketer of the Year Bas de Leede are all 24 years of age or younger, and should carry the touch for the team in orange on the long road to 2027.

The Dutch last travelled to Nepal in 2021 for a T20I tri-series, falling to the hosts in the competition’s final.

Netherlands stun South Africa in World Cup shock | Match Highlights | CWC23

Match highlights as Netherlands opened their account in the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023 with a stunning upset victory over South Africa in Dharamsala.


Zeeshan Maqsood’s side were clubhouse leaders for a large portion of the last cycle, though watched their lead wilt away after finishing their 36-match campaign earlier than the rest of the field, eventually falling second to Scotland who overtook them during their final tri-series.

While the team boast a bucketload of experience at international level, all but two or three of the current group will be under 30 years of age, and the side would likely need to see an injection of new talent given the rigours and timeline of the second cycle.

The team should be boosted by a fit Aqib Ilyas for the entire cycle, having overcome a cancerous bone tumour first noticed in 2022.

The right hander averaged 61 across his 16 appearances in the competition, and boasts a career ODI average of almost 48.

Serious health scare not enough to slow Oman 'warrior' Aqib Ilyas | CWC23 Qualifier

Oman batter Aqib Ilyas is back to his best and eyeing off one particular Super Six opponent at the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2023


Defending champions of the competition, Scotland were arguably an individual effort from Bas de Leede away from a Cricket World Cup spot in 2023 at the Qualifier, as the Dutch snuck past them in a Net Run Rate thriller.

The Dutch coming back down poses arguably the biggest threat for the Scots to go back-to-back, though there are reasons to be confident for Richie Berrington's team.

The side have found batting in spite of the loss Kyle Coetzer and Calum MacLeod both retiring during the last cycle, with Brandon McMullen coming through at the backend of the last cycle. Scottish U19 World Cup performer Jamie Dunk, who was 12th man in the Team of the Tournament, could also enter the fray.

Scotland are well-rounded with the ball in all conditions, with spinner Mark Watt set to lead the charge in slower conditions, as shown by his 54 wickets at 17.94 in the last cycle.

Berrington bails Scotland out with magnificent century | CWC23 Qualifier

The Scotland captain turned the tide for his team in Bulawayo.

United Arab Emirates

A side that found stability at the end of the last cycle through the stable leadership of Muhammad Waseem and a gelled line-up, the UAE showed their quality at the Qualifier Play-off, eventually taking part in the Cricket World Cup Qualifier

The Emiratis will relish a fresh start on the road to 2027, and the side put their challenge forward with a blend of youth and experience in their ranks. Having been thrown into senior cricket early, the likes of Vriitya Aravind, Aayan Afzal Khan and Ali Naseer among others should play a bigger role, with Waseem, Rohan Mustafa and Basil Hameed again playing key roles. Also look out for late-order hitting from Asif Khan, who added another dimension to UAE's power game in the back half of the last League 2 cycle.

The UAE begin their campaign with a home tri-series against Scotland and Canada at the end of February, and should be in the conversation for a top-four spot by the end of the cycle.

Asif Khan hammers an unbeaten 151 for UAE against USA | CWC23 Qualifier

Asif Khan powered UAE to a commanding total against the USA at the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2023

United States

Perhaps the hardest side to predict given a heavy turnover of players and the likelihood of multiple cricketers qualifying for the side during the cycle, USA bring a number of unknowns to this League 2 cycle.

As several future stars fit into the side however, there are some constants that provide a solid base for USA's League 2 campaign. With the ball, left-arm fast bowler Saurabh Netravalkar is a consistent performer highlighted by his 58-wicket effort in the last cycle, with tearaway quick Ali Khan guaranteed to ask questions of opposition top orders.

With the bat, Monank Patel and Aaron Jones both passed 1000 runs in the last cycle, and flourish in the 50-over format.

Should the Americans find the pieces to their jigsaw early, a top-four finish is a realistic goal.

Ali Khan out to let his bowling do the talking for USA | CWC23 Qualifier

USA quick Ali Khan is 'all about emotions' while making a statement at the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2023

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