Scotland, UAE lock horns in ICC World Cup Qualifier final (Preview)
Posted on Jan 31 2014 | IANS
Christchurch, Jan 31 : Scotland and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will lock horns in the final of the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier New Zealand 2014 (CWCQ) at Lincoln Oval here Saturday in a match that will determine which pool they will join at cricket's pinnacle event, the Cricket World Cup 2015.
The two teams secured their positions in the final, as well as a spot in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, after recording victories on the last day of the Super Six stage of the ICC CWCQ NZ 2014 Thursday.
Scotland and UAE now complete the 14-team line-up for the 2015 event, and will compete alongside the 10 Full Members, Afghanistan and Ireland.
The winner of the ICC CWCQ NZ 2014 final, which will be live-streamed on the official ICC website www.icc-cricket.com Saturday, will join Afghanistan, four-time champion Australia, co-host New Zealand, Bangladesh, three-time finalist England, and 1996 champion Sri Lanka in Pool A of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.
The losing finalists will be placed in Pool B along with defending champion India, Ireland, 1992 champion Pakistan, South Africa, two-time champion the West Indies and Zimbabwe.
The sides have already faced each other once during this tournament, in a group match played at Queenstown Events Centre, Queenstown -- an encounter that Scotland won by 53 runs thanks to a rapid-fire century by opener Calum MacLeod (113 from 97 balls).
Prior to that, the UAE and Scotland last locked horns in 50-over cricket in two ICC World Cricket League Championship encounters in March 2012, which the UAE won by four wickets and two wickets, respectively.
The UAE, who were the number-one ranked side for the tournament, go into Saturday's final as the leading team from the Super Six stage, having sealed their spot at the top of the table with a 36-run victory over Namibia at Rangiora Oval here Thursday.
The UAE will be searching for their second ICC CWCQ trophy, having won the ICC CWCQ, which was then known as the ICC Trophy, in 1994. That victory led to the side's only appearance in the ICC Cricket World Cup, in 1996, where the team recorded a seven-wicket victory over the Netherlands.
UAE skipper Khurram Khan was thrilled to see his side qualify for their second ICC Cricket World Cup.
"You can't describe in words the feeling. I've been playing for UAE since 2001 and it is an amazing feeling to help my team to qualify."
Reflecting on his side's performances to date in the tournament, the skipper felt that his side had the all-round capability necessary to reach the final.
"Everybody chipped in. The top order scored runs and the fast bowlers replied to the call and played superbly. It's just called teamwork.
"The hard work we have put in has paid off. The way we have worked together and performed when we needed to," he said.
Scotland secured their spot in the final after recording a nail-biting three-wicket victory over Kenya at Hagley Oval here.
Seeded third in the tournament, Scotland finished second in the Super Six table to advance to their third ICC Cricket World Cup, having previously played in 1999 and 2007. The side also won the ICC CWCQ in 2005.
Scotland captain Preston Mommsen said that qualification to the 14-team ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 was a momentous occasion for his side.
"It is absolutely awesome, we have worked really hard to get to this position and to actually get over the line is unbelievable."