With a little over six weeks to go before the T20 WC Qualifier gets underway in the United Arab Emirates, the ICC confirmed the schedule and draw for the 14-team tournament, which will run from October 18th to November 2nd in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
The tournament will see the 14 countries, comprising hosts UAE along with Scotland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Hong Kong and Oman - who were awarded byes to the qualifier by dint of reaching the 2016 WT20, together with Jersey, Papua New Guinea, Namibia, Kenya , Singapore, Canada and Bermuda - who progressed through regional qualifying.
Zimbabwe's ongoing suspension from the ICC saw them removed from the tournament, to be replaced by Nigeria as the third African Qualifier. The top six countries at the tournament will qualify for the 2020 T20 WC in Australia, where they will join Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in the "First Round" of the tournament, from which the top four sides will qualify for the main phase of the tournament.
The 14 countries at the qualifier will be split into two groups of seven, the seeding based on T20I rankings at the end of August. Group A, based in Dubai, comprises both finalists from the previous edition of the qualifier; the Netherlands and Scotland, along with Namibia, Kenya, Papua New Guinea, Singapore and Bermuda. Group B will be based in Abu Dhabi and feature hosts UAE together with ICC full member Ireland, along with Oman, Hong Kong, Canada, Jersey, and Nigeria.
Each group will contest a single round robin, with the bottom three teams directly eliminated and and the group winners progressing directly to the semi-finals and securing certain qualification. The second and third-placed teams in each group will play crossover play-offs for the remaining two semi-final berths, with the losers from those matches going on to play off against the 4th-placed teams for each group for a place in the 5th place play-off. With only six qualification berths on offer, these final "losers' play-offs" will in effect be decisive in determining the final two qualifiers for the main tournament in Australia next year.
The 51 matches will be played across four grounds, with Group B's matches played at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, whilst Group A's matches will be split across the two ICC Academy grounds and Dubai International Stadium, which will also host the majority of the play-off and knock-out matches. It is understood that the tournament will again be partially broadcast, with only those matches at Sheikh Zayed and Dubai International to be televised.
18 October: Scotland v Singapore (10h00), Netherlands v Kenya (14h10) at ICC Academy 1; Hong Kong v Ireland (14h10), Oman v UAE (19h30) at Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi.
19 October: PNG v Bermuda (10h00), Netherlands v Namibia (14h10) at ICC Academy 1; Scotland v Kenya (14h10) at ICC Academy 2; Jersey v Nigeria (14h10), Ireland v UAE (19h30) at Zayed Cricket Stadium.
20 October: PNG v Namibia (10h00), Bermuda v Singapore (14h10) at ICC Academy 2; Hong Kong v Oman (14h10) at Zayed Cricket Stadium, Canada v Jersey (10h00) at ADC 1.
21 October: Scotland v PNG (10h00), Kenya v Bermuda (14h10) at ICC Academy 1; Hong Kong v UAE (14h10), Canada v Nigeria (19h30) at Zayed Cricket Stadium; Ireland v Oman (14h10) at ADC 1.
22 October: Scotland v Namibia (10h00), Singapore v Netherlands (14h10) at ICC Academy 1; UAE v Jersey (14h10) at ADC 1.
23 October: Namibia v Bermuda (10h00), Singapore v Kenya (14h10) at ICC Academy 2; Ireland v Canada (14h10), Hong Kong v Jersey (19h30) at Zayed Cricket Stadium; Oman v Nigeria (10h00) at ADC1.
24 October: Scotland v Bermuda (19h30) at Dubai International Stadium; Netherlands v PNG (10h00) at ICC Academy1; UAE v Nigeria (10h00), Hong Kong v Canada (14h10) at ADC 1.
25 October: PNG v Singapore (10h00), Namibia v Kenya (14h10) at Dubai International Stadium; Oman v Canada (19h30) at Zayed Cricket Stadium; Ireland v Jersey (10h00) at ADC1.
26 October: Netherlands v Bermuda (14h10), Namibia v Singapore (19h30) at Dubai International Stadium; Ireland v Nigeria (10h00) at Zayed Cricket Stadium.
27 October: PNG v Kenya (10h00), Scotland v Netherlands (14h10) at Dubai International Stadium; Oman v Jersey (14h10), UAE v Canada (19h30) at Zayed Cricket Stadium, Hong Kong v Nigeria (10h00) at ADC 1.
29 October: Play-off 1 - A2 v B3 (14h10); Play-off 2 - A3 v B2 (19h30) at Dubai International Stadium.
30 October: Play-off 3 - A4 v Loser of Play-off 1 (14h10); Play-off 4 - B4 v Loser of Play-off 2 (19h30) at Dubai International Stadium.
31 October: Play-off for fifth and sixth places - Winner of Play-off 3 v Winner of Play-off 4, ICC Academy 1
1 November: Semifinal 1 - B1 v Winner of Play-off 1 (14h10), Semifinal 2 - A1 v Winner of Play-off 2 (19h30) at Dubai International Stadium.
2 November: Third place Play-off - Loser of Semifinal 1 v Loser of Semifinal 2 (14h10); Final (19h30) at Dubai International Stadium
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