The Netherlands and Hong Kong sealed the final two spots available for the ICC World Twenty20 returning victors in the second round of playoffs in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.
Both teams had finished runners-up in their respective groups but lost to third-placed teams in the cross over playoffs. Since, the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifiers tournament regulation gave another opportunity to second and third placed teams, both teams made it through in their second attempt.
Hong Kong lost to Group ‘B’ third-placed team Nepal five wickets and the Netherlands were edged by 10 runs by Group ‘B’ third-placed team hosts United Arab Emirates on Wednesday with both winners making early progress towards next year’s event. Ireland and Afghanistan were already through as winners from Group ‘A’ and Group ‘B’ respectively.
The qualification of Hong Kong will also mean Asia will see eight nations competing in the 16-team ICC World Twenty20. Test playing nations India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are the Asian countries playing alongside Afghanista, UAE, Nepal and Hong Kong.
In the second round of playoff matches today, Hong Kong defeated Papua New Guinea by 29 runs and the Netherlands thumped Scotland by eight wickets. Both teams will now fight for the fifth place playoff. Italy finished ninth defeating Namibia by 25 runs on Wednesday.
The qualifying six teams will now join bottom ranked Test playing nations Zimbabwe and Bangladesh in the Group Stage of the ICC World Twenty20. With eight teams divided in two pools, only the two table toppers after a round-robin league will join the top eight Test playing nations in Super 10 stage.