Minnows have a lot at stake in ICC Trophy

Published: Friday, March 11, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Dublin:Cricket's leading nations outside the Test elite will have more to play for than ever before at this year's International Cricket Council (ICC) Trophy with five places at the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies on offer to the 12 sides taking part in the all-Ireland event this July.

The eighth ICC Trophy will see 42 matches held at a record 25 venues in both Northern Ireland, a province of the United Kingdom, and the independent Republic of Ireland beginning with six matches around the northern centre of Belfast on July 1 and concluding with the final at Clontarf, in the southern capital of Dublin on July 13.

Hosts Ireland will be in Group 'A' of the One-day tournament with Denmark, the United Arab Emirates, Uganda, the United States and Bermuda while Group 'B' features the Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Scotland, Namibia, Oman and Canada.

"It is 25 years since Sri Lanka beat Canada in the final of the first ICC Trophy in England and on the occasion of this event's Silver Jubilee there is more at stake for the 12 participating teams than ever," said ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed who was speaking at receptions in Dublin and Belfast.

"As well as competing for the prestigious ICC Trophy, this event is about the five remaining places at the next ICC Cricket World Cup in the West Indies.

"There are five previous winners of the ICC Trophy. Three have gone on to claim Test match status (Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh) while the other two, the holders Holland and United Arab Emirates, will be amongst the contenders in Ireland."

Speed added: "The Irish Cricket Union (ICU) and its stakeholders now have three-and-a-half months to deliver a world-class event and I wish them every success with their task."

ICU president Stan Mitchell said the ICC Trophy, which this year will feature coloured clothing for the first time, would be a huge boost for cricket on both sides of the border.

"The tournament will simply be the biggest event in the long history of the Irish Cricket Union and with five places at stake for the next ICC Cricket World Cup, it will build up terrific support.

"Cricket knows no boundaries in Ireland and we are particularly grateful to the ICC for breaking with the tradition of one centre to allow the tournament to be played north and south of the border."

At the last ICC Trophy, in 2001, the Netherlands beat Nambia in the final in Toronto with hosts Canada also qualifying for the 2003 World Cup in southern Africa after defeating Scotland in the third-place play-off.

Ireland famously beat the West Indies back in 1969 and, more recently, have helped nurture the talent of promising Middlesex batsman Ed Joyce, now an England hopeful.

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