USA and UAE fought off competition from Namibia, Canada, Jersey and PNG in the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023 Qualifier Play-off.
Such was the domination of USA and UAE in the Qualifier Play-off that the final-day fixtures had no bearing on the top two positions in the standings.
USA's thrilling win over Jersey on the penultimate day ensured they booked their berth for the Qualifiers for the first time since 2005. Elsewhere on the same day, Namibia's 111-run victory over Canada meant UAE had the top-two spot in the bag before they played their final game.
Despite finishing level on points, USA finished the tournament as table-toppers owing to better head-to-head over UAE.
Speaking on making it to the Qualifiers, USA captain Monank Patel said: “It's a great feeling to be able to progress to the Qualifiers in Zimbabwe, even though we see this as a big accomplishment for USA Cricket, we the players also know that it's going to require lots of improvements for us to compete with the bigger teams.
"The players and support staff have worked tirelessly prior and during this event, and the hard work paid off. As I said prior to the Play-offs, we have an opportunity to play in two World Cups in less than twelve months, and this group continues to believe and work towards that goal.”
UAE will be glad to have progressed to the Qualifiers after narrowly missing out on a direct spot after the final-day drama against Nepal in Cricket World Cup League 2.
Chasing 311, Nepal needed 41 in the last six overs when bad light stopped play. Nepal won the game by 9 runs (by DLS method) to earn a direct Qualifier spot while UAE had to go through the wringer of the Qualifier Play-offs.
Reflecting on a successful tournament, UAE captain Muhammad Waseem said: “We are absolutely delighted to confirm our spot for the qualifiers in Zimbabwe. Heading into the tournament in Namibia, we had a clear objective of delivering our best and playing positive and fearless cricket.
"I want to thank the players and our entire support staff for their untiring efforts that have resulted in our success. Our batters have been exceptional for us recently and the bowlers and fielders have backed them up really well.
"The entire team needs to perform at the same level and display the same commitment and passion for us to excel in Zimbabwe.
USA and UAE are now one step away from qualifying for the marquee event later this year in India, but will have to battle eight other teams in the Qualifiers in Zimbabwe set to be held from 18 June to 9 July.
The other eight teams will include the three automatic qualifiers from League 2 – Scotland, Oman and Nepal – as well as the bottom-five placed teams in the Super League, four of whom – Netherlands, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka and West Indies – have been confirmed.
The final spot will depend on the result of Ireland's home series against Bangladesh. The hosts will have to win 3-0 in order to leapfrog South Africa; failing to do so will mean Ireland will have to through the Qualifiers.