2015 World Cup hopefuls clash in New Zealand

Dubai, Dec 22 : With two places up for grabs at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 (CWC), 10 teams head into next month's ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier New Zealand 2014 (CWCQ) knowing that the tournament represents the final chance to qualify for ICC's flagship event that will be staged in Australia and New Zealand from Feb 14 to Mar 29.

The ICC CWCQ NZ 2014 is the final step in a qualification pathway that started in each of the five regions in 2011, and features 10 leading Associate and Affiliate teams.

The finalists from January's event will join the 10 Full Members as well as Ireland and Afghanistan in cricket's biggest event, which progressed after securing the top two positions at the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Championship (WCLC).

The sides taking part in the ICC CWCQ NZ 2014, which runs from 13 January to 1 February, are Canada, Hong Kong, Kenya, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Scotland, Uganda and United Arab Emirates.

The two groups have been drawn up on the basis of the teams' rankings going into the ICC CWCQ NZ 2014. These are:

Group A Group B

UAE Netherlands

Scotland Kenya

Canada Namibia

Hong Kong PNG

Nepal Uganda

The 10 teams have been divided into two groups of five, with the top three progressing into the Super Sixes stage of the tournament.

The side that wins the tournament will join Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, England, New Zealand and Sri Lanka in Pool A of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, while the runner-up will team up with India, Ireland, Pakistan, South Africa, West Indies and Zimbabwe in Pool B.

In the North Island, matches will be played at Mt Maunganui's Bay Oval and the iconic terraced Pukekura Park in New Plymouth. In the South Island Christchurch's Hagley Oval will debut as an international cricket venue. Matches will also be played in Rangiora, Queenstown and Lincoln, with the Bert Sutcliffe Oval hosting the final of the tournament on 1 February.

This is the 10th edition of the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier, which was known as the ICC Trophy until 2005. Previous winners of this tournament include Sri Lanka (1975), Zimbabwe (1982, 1986 and 1990), the UAE (1994), Bangladesh (1997), Netherlands (2001), Scotland (2005) and Ireland (2009).

--IBNS (Posted on 23-12-2013)

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