ICC World Cup teams confirmed

Afghanistan continued their giant strides in global cricket by qualifying for the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup in England with a thrilling five-wicket win against Ireland in the final Super Six encounter of qualifiers, here on Friday.

Chasing 210 to win, a quickfire 54 off 50 balls from opener Mohammad Shahzad had looked as if had set up a comfortable victory. It took a 29-ball 39 from captain Asghar Stanikzai to get the team over the line.

Stirling's half-century came off 77 deliveries but was run out soon after that and from there on only Kevin O'Brien (41) showed some fight down the order as Afghanistan led by Rashid made a terrific comeback to restrict Ireland to 209 for seven in the 50 overs.

Afghan Leg-spinner Rashid Khan was his side's star man on the day, finishing with 3-40 from his 10 overs to take his career tally to 99 ODI wickets.

And so it proved as Shahzad made the most of a reprieve after Barry McCarthy put down a tough caught-and-bowled chance when the batsman was on five, going on to strike six fours and two maximums.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) eliminated Zimbabwe to give Afghanistan and Ireland a lifeline by turning their last Super Six match as a shootout to qualify for the 2019 World Cup race.

"The big cheque they're getting (from the World Cup) has to be pushed back down through".

Ireland will not participate at next year's cricket World Cup after suffering an agonising defeat to Afghanistan in their all-or-nothing encounter in the Zimbabwean capital of Harare.

"First of all, congratulations to Afghanistan", he said. But it advanced on net run rate. It was not just the dream of us the team, it was the dream of Afghanistan.

The Afghans will take on West Indies in the final at Harare Sports Club on Sunday in what would be a mere formality with both teams already guaranteed a spot in next year's Cricket World Cup to be hosted by England and Wales. I can't even explain the joy. We now get back for some rest and recuperation, he said.

"For them to progress, it's going to be harder".

Ireland missing out on qualification for next year's World Cup hasn't disheartened skipper William Porterfield, given that they are full members of the ICC and have other things to look forward to. I feel sorry for the likes of Scotland.

Ireland failed to qualify after playing at the last three Cricket World Cups.

  • Rosalie Stanley