Dubai: Sixteen teams from across the world, including United States and Uganda, will compete in March next year to claim the last two available spots for the ICC World Twenty20, to be held in Sri Lanka. The ICC World Twenty20 Qualifiers will be held in the UAE from March 13 to 24.
The 12-day qualifying tournament will be played at five venues -- Dubai International Cricket Stadium and ICC Global Cricket Academy grounds number one and number two in Dubai, Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Zayed Stadium and Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
The 16 teams have been divided into two groups with Afghanistan, Netherlands, Canada, Papua New Guinea, Hong Kong, Bermuda, Denmark and Nepal forming Group A. Ireland, Kenya, Scotland, Namibia, Uganda, Oman, Italy and the USA form Group B.
The tournament winner will join Australia and the West Indies in Group B of the ICC World Twenty20 in September 2012 while the losing finalist will complete Group A which also includes defending champion England and 2007 winner India.
"This final qualifier is the last step of a pathway that comprised 13 ICC regional tournaments during 2010 and 2011 and saw the involvement of over 90 ICC Associate and Affiliate members. The 72-match format has been designed to give the best sides every chance of making the final," ICC Global Development Manager Tim Anderson said.
According to the tournament format, the sides that top the two groups will feature in the 1st Qualifying Final at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on March 22 with the winner sealing a place in the ICC World Twenty20, to be staged from September 18 to October 7.
Meanwhile, the sides that finish second and third in the two groups will play cross-over matches. The two winners of those matches will progress to the Preliminary Final to be played on March 23 at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
The 2nd Qualifying Final -- for the second spot in the ICC World Twenty20 -- will take place on March 24 at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium between the loser of the 1st Qualifying Final and the winner of the Preliminary Final.
The winners of the two Qualifying Finals will play in the tournament final on March 24 at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.