The UAE face the toughest start possible to their Cricket World Cup Qualifier campaign after being drawn to face Sri Lanka in their opening match in Bulawayo.
The 10-team competition will decide the final two countries to play at the main event in India later this year.
England, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand have advanced directly to India through the ODI Super League.
The UAE were the last team to earn a place at the qualifier, after finishing second behind the US in the qualifier play-off in Namibia.
As such, they are the lowest-seeded side in the competition, but they will be confident of taking some scalps at the tournament given their recent turnaround in form.
They also have a three-match ODI series against the West Indies in Sharjah planned as preparation for the qualifier.
They have been pitched into a group with Sri Lanka, Oman, Scotland and Ireland in the group phase of the qualifier, and will be based in Bulawayo.
In the other pool, Nepal – with whom UAE have built a strong rivalry in recent times – also face a testing start.
They will play hosts Zimbabwe in Harare, before going on to play USA, the West Indies and the Netherlands.
From the two groups of five, the top three sides progress to a Super Six phase. From there, teams play opponents progressing from the other group, with points accumulated against other Super Six teams from their original group carrying forward. The top two teams in that advance to the World Cup.
“The stakes don’t get any bigger in what will be a very competitive event enjoyed by fans looking to see who will join the eight teams that have already booked their tickets to India,” said Geoff Allardice, the ICC’s chief executive.
“With two former Men’s Cricket World Cup champions [West Indies and Sri Lanka] among the contenders as well as emerging cricket nations who are aiming to qualify for the first time, this unique event.”