Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
THE Zimbabwe senior men’s cricket team will have to go through a rigorous qualifying process for next year’s ICC T20 World Cup after missing out on an automatic spot reserved for the top ranked sides.
The Chevrons, who have been to five of the last six editions of the tournament, need to up their game in the preliminary Global Qualifier that will feature 14 teams. The tournament will take place in October this year at a venue yet to be announced.
The top four teams from the eliminator will join 2014 champions Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in the group stage at the finals of the tournament in Australia late next year. According to the new tournament rules, only the top 10 sides are assured of direct qualification to the finals after the ICC expanded the tournament to accommodate 14 teams at the finals as from next year.
The top eight teams on the rankings table by the December 31, 2018, cut-of-date will start their campaign directly in the Super 12s. These are Pakistan, India, England, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, West Indies and the ever-improving new ICC Member, Afghanistan.
Former champions and three-time finalists Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, who occupy ninth and 10th places respectively, will start in the group stage where they will have to contend with six other nations that will make it through from the Global Qualifier.
It’s going to be more laborious for the Chevrons who missed out on automatic qualification since they sit on 12th place on the rankings. Zimbabwe first have to negotiate their path from the Global Qualifier which will feature largely minnows of international cricket and will also include world number 11 Scotland, Netherlands, Hong Kong, Oman and Ireland. The other teams to take part in this tournament will come from the various regional qualifying tournaments featuring Associate and upcoming cricket nations. Asia, Africa and the Americas will provide two teams each for the Global Qualifier while Europe and East Asia-Pacific have one slot apiece.
This leaves Zimbabwe and 13 other hopefuls to fight for the six places available for the group stage of the T20 World Cup tournament, which warms-up the platform for the Super 12s.
According to a statement from ICC, four teams from the group stage that also involves Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will advance to the Super 12s where they meet the elite of world cricket.
“The International Cricket Council today confirmed the sides that have qualified directly for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2020 to be held in Australia, based on the MRF Tyres ICC Men’s T20I Team Rankings as on 31 December, 2018.
“As per the qualification criteria set for the tournament, Australia and the other nine top-ranked sides have ensured direct qualification.
“The top eight make it straight to the Super 12s stage while the remaining two will play in the group stage along with six other teams who will make it through from the ICC T20 World Cup Qualifier in 2019. Four teams from the group stage will advance to the Super 12s,” read part of the ICC statement.
Source :The Herald