ICC Men's CWC League 2: Journey to CWC 2027 begins with tri-series in Nepal

ICC Men's CWC League 2: Journey to CWC 2027 begins with tri-series in Nepal

The journey towards the 2027 Cricket World Cup commences in Nepal with the inaugural tri-series of the new Cricket World Cup League 2 cycle.

Following a format akin to the first edition held between 2019 and 2023, the competition expands from a seven-team structure to accommodate eight teams, featuring 24 tri-series comprising six matches each, totaling 144 ODIs.

Every match in the Cricket World Cup League 2 pathway will be accessible for free on ICC.tv (in select regions).

Securing automatic berths for the Cricket World Cup Qualifier is the aim for teams finishing within the top four in League 2, representing a key objective for all eight teams aspiring to succeed in their World Cup campaign.

Format of CWC League 2 2024-27:

Finishing in the bottom four of League 2 doesn't preclude teams from Cricket World Cup qualification. However, it does entail the added risk of participating in the Cricket World Cup Qualifier Play-off, which functions as a repechage tournament including the top four teams from the Cricket World Cup Challenge League, the third tier of international 50-over cricket.

While a strong performance in the Play-off can reinstate a team's Cricket World Cup prospects via the Qualifier, there's also the peril of a poor showing leading to relegation to the Challenge League, as experienced by Papua New Guinea in the preceding cycle, finishing last in League 2 and subsequently in the Play-off.

Six teams make a return to League 2 from the previous edition, joined by two new entrants. Spearheaded by wicket-keeper batter Scott Edwards, the Netherlands, who turned heads in the Cricket World Cup 2023, enter as early favorites. Canada earned promotion to the competition after outperforming Jersey and Papua New Guinea in the Qualifier Play-off last year.

Associate international cricket abounds with narratives, notably the potential return of the Dutch to challenge defending League 2 champions Scotland. The Scots were denied a place in the Cricket World Cup 2023 by the Dutch on Net Run Rate, with Bas de Leede's standout performance still fresh in memory. Scotland eyes a top-four finish once again, with Oman under Zeeshan Maqsood also aiming to improve on their second-place finish in the previous cycle.

Nepal, having triumphed in a preparation series against Canada, anticipates hosting the Dutch and Namibia in the opening tri-series. Captain Rohit Paudel expresses enthusiasm for forthcoming challenges across both white-ball formats.

Namibia seeks a form of retribution in their encounters with Nepal, recalling Nepal's impressive ODI streak in the last League 2 cycle, which thwarted their progression to the Qualifier and relegated them to the Play-off.

Meanwhile, the USA returns after finishing fifth in the previous League 2 cycle, while the UAE maintains its spot despite finishing second to last. Muhammad Waseem's team retained their position by outperforming Jersey and Papua New Guinea in the Qualifier Play-off.

The first League 2 Tri-series, featuring Nepal, Namibia, and the Netherlands, is scheduled as follows:

February 15: Nepal vs Namibia
February 17: Nepal vs Netherlands
February 19: Namibia vs Netherlands
February 21: Nepal vs Namibia
February 23: Namibia vs Netherlands
February 25: Nepal vs Netherlands

All matches will be held at the Tribhuvan University Ground, Kirtipur.

The teams participating in League 2 are Canada, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, Oman, Scotland, United Arab Emirates, and the USA.

ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup League 2 kicks off in Kirtipur on Thursday, featuring Namibia, the Netherlands, and hosts Nepal in the first of 24 tri-series. These tri-series will serve as a pathway for four teams to edge closer to qualifying for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2027, set to be held in South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Namibia.

The eight-team league includes Canada, Oman, Scotland, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States of America, culminating in 144 matches leading up to the World Cup Qualifier.

The top four teams from League 2 will progress to the World Cup Qualifier. They will be accompanied by four teams from the Qualifier Play-Offs, as well as teams based on ICC ODI Rankings.

Teams were assigned to the World Cup League 2 and the Qualifier Play-Offs based on the preceding World Cup Qualification cycle.

The top four teams in the Qualifier, an event that witnessed the elimination of two-time world champions West Indies previously, will join 10 direct qualifiers in the World Cup. Co-hosts South Africa and Zimbabwe, along with the top eight ranked teams, will complete the 14-team World Cup lineup.

Chris Tetley, ICC Head of Events, emphasized the significance of League 2 in team development.

“The League 2 fixtures are a vital component of our cricket calendar as they not only offer a route to the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2027 but also provide a program of highly competitive cricket to help teams plan their schedules.”

“Several of the teams playing in League 2 will also participate in this year’s Men’s T20 World Cup in the USA and the West Indies. The League 2 series offer Members the chance to arrange T20I fixtures alongside their 50 over matches, allowing for excellent preparation for the World Cup in the T20 format. I wish all the players the very best in what promises to be a closely fought league.”

Nepal captain Rohit Paudel expressed his excitement about the upcoming months as his team readied themselves for their first League 2 series at home.

“We are pleased to be hosting the first tri-series of what promises to be a well-contested League 2 with several talented sides in the fray."

"These are exciting times for us with the Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 less than four months away and our qualification campaign starting for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2027."

"We are heartened and more confident after a 3-0 win over Canada in the just concluded series and hope to get off to a fine start in League 2 with this home Tri-series.”

Nepal's International Cricket Calendar for 2024-27: 

Februrary 2024:
  • Nepal vs Canada: 3 ODIs (Nepal)
  • Nepal vs Netherlands vs Namibia: 6 CWL2 ODIs, 6 T20Is (Nepal)
June 2024:
  • T20 World Cup (US & WI)
September 2024:
  • Nepal vs Canada vs Oman: 6 CWL2 ODIs, 6 T20Is (Canada)
October 2024:
  • Nepal vs Canada: 2 ODIs (Canada)
  • Nepal vs USA vs Scotland: 6 CWL2 ODIs, 6 T20Is (USA)
May/June 2025:
  • Nepal vs Scotland vs Netherlands: 6 CWL2 ODIs, 6 T20Is (Scotland)
October 2025:
  • Nepal vs USA: 3 T20Is (Nepal)
  • Nepal vs USA vs UAE: 6 CWL2 ODIs (UAE)
November 2025:
  • Nepal vs Oman: 2 ODIs (Nepal)
  • Nepal vs Oman vs UAE: 6 CWL2 ODIs (Nepal)
December 2025:
  • Nepal vs Oman: 3 T20Is (Nepal)
January 2026:
  • Nepal vs Canada: 5 T20Is (Nepal)
  • Nepal vs Scotland vs Netherlands: 6 T20Is (Nepal)
August 2026:
  • Nepal vs Netherlands: 2 ODIs (Netherlands)
  • Nepal vs Scotland vs Netherlands: 6 CWL2 ODIs, 3 T20Is (Netherlands)
October 2026:
  • Nepal vs Oman vs Canada: 3 ODIs (Oman)
  • Nepal vs Oman vs Canada: 6 CWL2 ODIs, 6 T20Is (Oman)
November 2026:
  • Nepal vs Scotland vs USA: 6 CWL2 ODIs, 6 T20Is (Home)

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