There is all to play for in Namibia next month as the top two teams from ICC World Cricket League (WCL) Division 2 will qualify for the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018 and will be just one-step away from England and Wales 2019.
Eighty-three teams started the qualification process for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 and all teams in the ICC WCL Division 2 taking place between 8 and 15 February in Namibia are now just two steps away from the ICC’s pinnacle 50-over event.
Canada and Oman who secured promotion from the ICC World Cricket League Division 3 in May 2017 are joined by Kenya, Namibia, Nepal and the United Arab Emirates who get a second chance to qualify for the Zimbabwe event after finishing in the bottom four of the ICC World Cricket League Championship 2015-2017 that culminated in December 2017.
Nepal who finished seventh in the ICC World Cricket League Championship with four wins from 14 matches will be aiming to improve on that to secure one of the two qualification spots to the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier.
Canada have previously played in four ICC Cricket World Cups in 1979, 2003, 2007, 2011 and will be looking to make it a fifth. The team have toured Barbados as part of its preparation for the ICC WCL Division 2 and can draw on the experience of Nikhil Dutta and Hamza Tariq who both played in the Caribbean Premier League.
Oman have impressed throughout the qualification process starting in Division 5 and spectacularly climbing the ladder at every stage. During that time, Oman has also performed well in the ICC World Twenty20 qualification process.
Kenya who have been a regular feature in ICC Cricket World Cups most recently in 2011 will look to captain Rakep Patel to lead the way. Regarded as one of Kenya’s finest cricketers at present with the bat. Dependable seamer Nelson Odhiambo will seek to make an impact on the pace bowling attack in the tournament.
Striving for participation in their third ICC Cricket World Cup, after 1996 and 2015 the United Arab Emirates have been competing in the tri-series in Dubai. It has provided valuable preparation for the team against tough opponents Ireland and Scotland, where they secured one victory against the Scots.
Namibia who last competed in the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2003 have been busy preparing in competition in South Africa. The team will look back to the ICC World Cricket League Division 2 in 2015 where they claimed second spot as hosts and will hope to emulate that.
The 18-match tournament will take place across three venues in Windhoek, Wanderers, WAP and Trustco UNITED.
Nepal captain Paras Khadka said: “ICC World Cricket League Division 2 will be like a royal rumble where every team will give their best in order to seal their places for next level. Therefore, this tournament means a lot to Nepal cricket.
“I am hopeful that we will get through this tournament as it is a stepping stone to the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier. We are excited that we are just two steps away from the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.”
Nepal: Paras Khadka (captain), Gyanendra Malla, Sharad Vesawkar, Basant Regmi, Shakti Prasad Gauchan, Sompal Kami, Anil Kumar Sah, Rohit Kumar Paudel, Karan KC, Md. Arif Sheikh, Sandeep Lamichhane, Dipendra Singh Airee, Dilap Nath, Lalit Bhandari
Canada: Nitish Kumar (captain), Bhavindu Adhihetty, Cecil Pervez, Dhanuka Pathirana, Ruvindu Gunasekera, Hamza Tariq, Srimantha Wijeyeratne, Junaid Siddiqui, Nicholas Kirton, Navneet Dhaliwal, Nikhil Dutta, Dilon Heyliger, Saad Zafar, Satsimranjit Dhindsa
Kenya: Rakep Patel (captain), Collins Obuya, Gurdeep Bhagat, Dhiren Gondaria, Irfan Karim, Nelson Odhiambo, Shem Ngoche, Hiren Varaiya, Nehemiah Ngoche, Emmanuel Ringera, Lucas Ndandason, Rushabhvardhan Patel, Alex Auma, Karan Kaul
Namibia: Sarel Francois Burger (captain); Stephan Julian Baard, Jean Bredenkamp, , Petrus Jacobus Burger, Merwe Gerhard Erasmus, Jan Nicolaas Frylinck, Zane Edward Green, Jean-Pierre Kotze, Lohandre Louwrens, Bernhard Scholtz, Johannes Smit, Louis van der Westhuizen, Christoffel Viljoen, Craig Williams
Oman: Sultan Ahmed (captain), Aaqib Ilyas Sulehri, Ahmad Fayyaz Butt, Ajay Vrajlal Lalcheta, Swapnil Sunil Khadye, Bilal Khan, Khawar Ali, Muhammed Nadeem, Muhammad Naseem, Zeeshan Maqsood, Jay Viram Odedra, Jatinder Singh, Vaibhav Shridhar Wategaonkar, Kaleemullah Kaleemullah
United Arab Emirates: Rohan Mustafa (captain), Muhammad Ashfaq Ahmed, Ghulam Shabbir, Rameez Shahzad, Muhammad Boota, Muhammad Usman, Adnan Mufti, Shaiman Anwar, Ahmed Raza, Imran Haider, Qadeer Ahmed, Muhammad Naveed, Muhammad Amir Hayat, Zahoor Khan
The match officials are:
Match Referee – Dev Govindjee
Mentor Umpire – Langton Rusere
Umpires -Buddhi Pradhan (Nepal), Claude Thorburn, Kalidas, Alex Dowdalls, Sarika Prasad, Akbar Ali Khan, Tabarak Dar and David Odhiambo
8 February: Kenya v UAE (Wanderers); Nepal v Namibia (WAP); Oman v Canada (Trustco UNITED)
9 February: UAE v Canada (Wanderers); Nepal v Oman (WAP); Kenya v Namibia (Trustco UNITED)
11 February: Namibia v Oman (Wanderers); Kenya v Canada (WAP); UAE v Nepal (Trustco UNITED)
12 February: Kenya v Nepal (Wanderers); UAE v Oman (WAP); Namibia v Canada (Trustco UNITED)
14 February: Nepal v Canada (Wanderers); UAE v Namibia (WAP); Kenya v Oman (Trustco UNITED)
15 February: Final (Wanderers); 3rd v 4th Playoff (WAP); 5th v 6th Playoff (Trustco UNITED)