Dubai, Mar 25 (IANS): The ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Qualifier Playoff begins in Namibia on Sunday with six teams set to battle for just two places at the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Qualifier that will be held in Zimbabwe later this year.
The Playoff, which is two steps away from the World Cup, features the teams who placed in the bottom four places of the Men's CWC League 2 and the top spots in the CWC Challenge League A and B respectively. The matches will be played from March 26 to April 5.
Hosts Namibia are in action on the opening day against the United States, having won four of the six encounters between the two teams in One-Day Internationals since 2019. Namibia finished with 19 wins from their 36 League 2 matches and were pipped by Nepal for an automatic spot into the Qualifier. The US finished one place behind the Eagles in League 2 with 16 wins.
Canada captain Saad bin Zafar said, "The tournament holds significant importance for Canada as it presents us with an opportunity to regain our ODI status and to further qualify for the upcoming World Cup Qualifiers in Zimbabwe. The boys have worked really hard to prepare for this tournament and we can't wait to get the tournament going."
Jersey captain Charles Perchard said, "Having been here last year, we are really pleased to be back in Namibia. It's a milestone tournament for Jersey and we can't wait to get started."
Namibia captain Gerhard Erasmus hoped his team will advance to the next stage, banking on their good record at home.
"It's great to welcome the teams to Namibia. We've got a decent record at home and hopefully, if we play well, we can advance. Unfortunately, we've had a couple of unavailabilities and changes in our set-up over the last six months. But we've got the best squad for the moment, and I'm excited for the guys growing into their roles. We'll be looking to play our brand of cricket at the Wanderers ground to go hard and win the opener," he was quoted as saying by the ICC.
Papua New Guinea captain Assad Vala said: "We are looking forward to the qualifiers, we come into these qualifiers with some form behind us but we understand that we are the underdogs. We have been to Namibia before and understood the conditions we will face, We have recently had some tough matches against UAE and know they have had recent changes to management and the team so we are looking forward to meeting them again."
United Arab Emirates captain Mohammad Waseem said they were focused on delivering their best as it is a very important event for them.
"We were able to deliver two good performances in the last two matches of the tri-series in Nepal. The batters produced some good results and the form of Asif Khan and Vriitya Aravind is encouraging for us. I am also pleased that I contributed with my maiden ODI century. Asif produced one of the best ODI knocks by an Associate Member player and showed the world what he is capable of. I am confident that we are more than capable of producing good results in Namibia," he said.
United States captain Monank Patel said it has been a great experience for them after gaining ODI status in 2019.
"It's been a great experience playing in the CWC League 2. I feel we have done reasonably well as a group playing ODI's for the first time. It showed that we belong in this league but we still have lots of areas to improve. We would like to take that experience and ensure we do well in this event and progress to the Qualifiers in Zimbabwe. Also, with the T20 World Cup set to be played on home soil next year, this is a great opportunity for the USA to play in two World Cups within 12 months," he said.
This event is the final opportunity for teams to book a place in the Zimbabwe Qualifier, which will take place from 18 June - 9 July later this year.
All matches will be live-streamed on Fancode.com in the Indian subcontinent and on ICC.tv across the rest of the world.