Can Nepal qualify for 2023 World Cup in India and are UAE in danger of losing ODI status?

Final phase of qualifying for showpiece event is under way with much still at stake

Nepal and UAE will play in a Cricket World Cup League 2 tri-series in Kathmandu from this week. Chris Whiteoak / The National
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More than three-and-a-half years after the competition started in Scotland, the Cricket World Cup League 2 will reach its finale in Kathmandu over the coming days.

UAE, Papua New Guinea and hosts Nepal will play the final tri-series of the competition, which is part of the qualifying process for the World Cup in India later this year.

Despite the exhaustive programme for fixtures, with just six left to play, there remains plenty to be decided.

Cricket World Cup League 2 remaining fixtures

All games at Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu

Thursday, March 9, Nepal v PNG

Friday, March 10, UAE v PNG

Sunday, March 12, Nepal v UAE

Monday, March 13, Nepal v PNG

Wednesday, March 15, PNG v UAE

Thursday, March 16, Nepal v UAE

What is at stake?

The top three sides in League 2 advance to the global World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe in June and July.

The remaining four sides in the league are forced to play in the Qualifier Play-off in Namibia at the end of March.

The top five sides in League 2 will retain one-day international status. The last two will have to play for the right to keep their ODI playing rights at the Play-off.

What is the World Cup Qualifier Play-off?

Monday’s 42-run loss to Nepal in Dubai meant that UAE are now no longer able to advance past Namibia into third place in League 2. As such, they will be entered into the Qualifier Play-off in Namibia.

It is a six-team event. It will involve the four lowest placed sides in League 2, so UAE, PNG, United States, plus one of either Namibia or Nepal.

Those sides will be joined by the top two teams from the ICC Challenge League, namely Canada and Jersey.

The top two sides in the event will progress to the global Qualifier in Zimbabwe, which is scheduled to take place in June and July.

What is the Qualifier?

The Qualifier will decide the final two places at the 2023 World Cup in India, scheduled for October and November.

Hosts India qualified automatically. Australia, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, England, New Zealand and Pakistan have already secured their places via the ICC rankings.

Netherlands and Zimbabwe are already confirmed as participating in the global Qualifier. They will be joined by three more sides from the ODI Super League, out of West Indies, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Ireland.

Oman and Scotland are confirmed from League 2, with either Nepal or Namibia set to join them directly.

The final two places will be decided by the Qualifier Play-off.

How can Nepal go directly to Zimbabwe?

Rohit Paudel’s side need to win all four of their matches in Kathmandu in the coming days to leapfrog Namibia into third place.

It is a tough task, but they are on a remarkable run of form. Nepal have won seven out of eight matches in League 2 over the past month.

How can UAE retain one-day international status?

The top five sides in League 2 are assured of ODI status – and thus significant extra funding from the ICC.

There are a variety of permutations which could see the UAE achieve that in Kathmandu. Essentially, they need to win more matches than Nepal do over the remaining fixtures to finish above them.

Three wins would also provide that guarantee, as it would lift them above United States in the points table.

Two wins would not be enough to get above USA. The first tiebreaker for League 2 is number of wins. UAE and USA would be tied on 16 if they do win twice in Nepal.

The second tiebreaker is head-to-head. USA won four matches out of the five that the two sides played in League 2, against one for UAE.

The sixth and seventh placed sides in League 2 will compete with Canada and Jersey for ODI status in the Qualifier Play-off. The two highest ranked sides of those get ODI status.

Updated: March 08, 2023, 4:12 AM