Even before the 2015 Cricket World Cup had started, the International Cricket Council (ICC) had announced that the number of participating teams would be reduced to ten — four less than the 2015 tournament — for the 2019 edition.
The new World Cup qualification structure stated that the host nation and the top seven other nations in the ICC ODI Championship on 30 September 2017 would directly qualify for the tournament. The teams that have already booked a berth in the 2019 edition are India, Australia, England, Bangladesh, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and South Africa. The last two spots would be decided by the World Cup qualifiers, which will commence on 4 March.
As the ICC World Cup Qualifiers nears, here's a guide to all your questions regarding the tournament:
Which teams will participate?
Windies, Afghanisation, Zimbabwe, Ireland were the bottom four sides in the ICC ODI rankings on the cut-off date and by the virtue of that, they have qualified for the event. While Netherlands, Scotland, Hong Kong, Papua New Guinea will also be a part of the tournament, which will be hosted by Zimbabwe, because they were the top four teams in the 2015–17 ICC World Cricket League Championship. The last two teams in the Qualifiers are Nepal and United Arab Emirates — both were the finalists of the recently concluded World Cricket League Division Two tournament; a qualifying event for the World Cup Qualifiers.
Before the main event starts, ten warm-up matches will be conducted from 27 February to 1 March.
The teams have been divided into two groups of five. Group A consists of Ireland, Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, United Arab Emirates and Windies. Afghanistan, Hong Kong, Nepal, Scotland and Zimbabwe are in the Group B. The groups will play on a round-robin basis.
After the group stages, the top three teams of both groups will enter the Super Six round. Then the teams will play three matches against the sides that they didn't compete against in the group stages. All points earned during the group phase will be carried over to the Super Six stage except those which were gained against the bottom two nations from each group.
The top two teams from the Super Six will contest in the final and also progress to the 2019 Cricket World Cup.
Group A: Ireland, Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, United Arab Emirates and Windies
Group B: Afghanistan, Hong Kong, Nepal, Scotland and Zimbabwe
Harare Sports Club, Harare
Afghanistan: Asghar Stanikzai, Mohammad Shahzad, Javed Ahmadi, Ihsanullah Janat, Najibullah Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Samiullah Shenwari, Nasir Jamal, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Zadran, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Dawlat Zadran, Shapoor Zadran
Ireland: William Porterfield, Andrew Balbirnie, Peter Chase, George Dockrell, Ed Joyce, Andy McBrine, Barry McCarthy, Tim Murtagh, Kevin O Brien, Niall O Brien, Boyd Rankin, James Shannon, Simi Singh, Paul Stirling, Gary Wilson
United Arab Emirates: Rohan Mustafa, Ashfaq Ahmed, Qadeer Ahmed, Shaiman Anwar, Mohammad Boota, Imran Haider, Amir Hayat, Zahoor Khan, Adnan Mufti, Mohammad Naveed, Ahmed Raza, Ghulam Shabber, Rameez Shahzad, Chirag Suri, Muhammad Usman
Hong Kong: Babar Hayat, Ahsan Abbasi, Aizaz Khan, Anshuman Rath, Christopher Carter, Ehsan Khan, Ehsan Nawaz, Scott McKechnie, Nadeem Ahmed, Nizakat Khan, Shahid Wasif, Simandeep Singh, Tanveer Ahmed, Tanwir Afzal, Waqas Barkat
Windies: Jason Holder, Jason Mohammed, Devendra Bishoo, Carlos Brathwaite, Sheldon Cottrell, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Evin Lewis, Nikita Miller, Ashley Nurse, Rovman Powell, Kemar Roach, Marlon Samuels, Kesrick Williams
Zimbabwe: Graeme Cremer, Tendai Chatara, Tendai Chisoro, Craig Ervine, Kyle Jarvis, Hamilton Masakadza, Solomon Mire, Peter Moor, Blessing Muzarabani, Brendan Taylor, Sikandar Raza, Brian Vitori, Malcolm Waller, Sean Williams, Cephas Zhuwawo
Scotland: Kyle Coetzer, Richie Berrington, Matthew Cross, Alasdair Evans, Michael Jones, Michael Leask, Calum MacLeod, George Munsey, Safyaan Sharif, Chris Sole, Tom Sole, Craig Wallace, Mark Watt, Bradley Wheal, Stu Whittingham
Netherlands: Peter Borren, Wesley Barresi, Ben Cooper , Vivian Kingma, Fred Klaassen, Max ODowd, Pieter Seelaar, Sikander Zulfiqar, Shane Snater, Ryan ten Doeschate, Timm van der Gugten, Roelof van der Merwe, Paul van Meekeren, Bas de Leede
Nepal: Paras Khadka, Gyanendra Malla, Shakti Gauchan, Basant Regmi, Sharad Vesawkar, Sompal Kami, KC Karan, Aarif Sheikh, Sandeep Lamichhane, Dipendra Singh Airee, Dilip Nath, Lalit Bhandari, Anil Sah, Rohit Kumar, Lalit Rajbanshi
Papua New Guinea: Assad Vala, Charles Amini, Kiplin Doriga, Tony Ura, Alei Nao, Damien Ravu, Lega Siaka, Chad Soper, Jack Vare, Sese Bau, Mahuru Dai, Jason Kila, Vani Morea, John Reva, Norman Vanua