Ireland and Afghanistan are among 16 countries vying for six places at the 2014 World T20 with qualification to be held in the UAE next month. (AFP Photo)
Defending champions Ireland and high-flying Afghanistan are among 16 countries vying for six places at the 2014 World Twenty20 with qualification to be held in the United Arab Emirates next month, cricket's governing body announced Thursday.
Bangladesh will host the fifth edition of the World Twenty20 from March 16 to April 6.
The format of the World T20 will be announced at the event's launch in Dhaka on Sunday.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) said the qualifiers will be staged at six venues across the United Arab Emirates from November 15-30.
"Some of the very best cricketers from ICC's Associate and Affiliate members will assemble in the UAE next month when the 16-team ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier UAE 2013 will be staged across six venues in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah," ICC release said.
"At stake in the UAE will be the six available places in the ICC World Twenty20 Bangladesh 2014," it said.
The tournament will see the 16 sides split into two groups of eight, a total of 72 matches will be played over 15 days and the sides that top the two groups at the conclusion of the group stages will automatically qualify for Bangladesh 2014.
The sides that finish second and third in each of the two groups will play cross-over matches with the two winners also progressing to the ICC World Twenty20 2014, said the ICC.
The sides that finish fourth and fifth in each of the two groups will also play cross-over matches, with the winners of these two matches then playing the losers of the second v third cross-over fixtures; the victors of these matches will then also progress into the main event.
Ireland won the title in 2012, which also featured Afghanistan, in Sri Lanka.
Ireland, who missed the inaugural World Twenty20 in South Africa in 2007 but appeared in 2009, 2010 and 2012, have named a formidable side retaining no less than 11 players from the 2012 campaign that saw it win the last qualifier.
Afghanistan, who have qualified for the 2015 World Cup (50 overs) in Australia and New Zealand, have named 11 players in the squad who were members of the side that finished runner-up to Ireland last year in the WT20Q.
Peter Borren will once again lead the Netherlands, who played in the 2007 WT20 and upset England in the tournament opener at Lord's in 2009.
While the Dutch side will be without the services of Ryan ten Doeschate, the ICC Associate and Affiliate Player of the Year in 2008, 2010 and 2011, they will be bolstered by returning allrounder Daan van Bunge.
Former England player Paul Collingwood, who famously led England to the World Twenty20 title in the West Indies in 2010, will be the assistant coach of Scotland.