Christchurch, Jan 30: Scotland and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have secured the final two spots in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 after recording victories on the last day of the Super Six stage of the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier New Zealand 2014 (CWCQ) in Christchurch on Thursday.
On a day when all three matches were do-or-die encounters, UAE finished top of the table with a 36-runs victory over Namibia, while Scotland finished second following its nail-biting three-wicket victory over Kenya.
The two sides will now contest the tournament final, to be played at Lincoln Oval, Christchurch on Saturday.
The final will determine which group the teams will join in cricket's pinnacle event, the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, which will be played in Australia and New Zealand from 14 February to 29 March 2015.
ICC Chief Executive David Richardson congratulated the two teams, saying: "Congratulations to Scotland and UAE for a tremendous effort in qualifying to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. It has been a tough tournament, one in which every game counts, and both teams have performed remarkably well to finish in the top two.
"I would also like to recognise the efforts of those teams who came so close but did not make the top two. Hong Kong and PNG were in the running right up to the final round of Super Six matches and deserve credit for their fine performances at the tournament," he said.
The UAE will now make their second appearance at the ICC Cricket World Cup, having played in the 1996 edition.
Delighted UAE captain Khurram Khan said he is over the moon with the achievement. "You can't describe in words the feeling. I've been playing for UAE since 2001 and it is an amazing feeling to help my team to qualify."
"It's a great achievement. It's been very, very hard to make it this far. Most of us are part time cricketers - we are not professionals. This is for everyone who trusted us and believed in us," he said.
UAE coach and former Pakistan Test bowler Aqib Javed said qualifying for the ICC Cricket World Cup was as much of a mental battle as a physical one for his charges.
"It was a tough task coming to New Zealand, and making the top two. They had in their mind that the pitches would have lot of sideways movement. But in seven games our batting has done really well. And now they are saying these conditions are good for cricket. There won't be any hurdle coming back to play in Australia and New Zealand. They're excited now."
In the second match of the day, Scotland recorded a nail-biting three wicket victory over Kenya to secure a top-two finish and a trip to Australia and New Zealand in 2015 at Hagley Oval, Christchurch.
Scotland has played in two previous ICC Cricket World Cup events (1999 and 2007), and the captain was thrilled that Scotland will be returning after failing to qualify for the 2011 edition.