WELLINGTON - Cricketing minnows the United Arab Emirates and Scotland secured berths at the 2015 World Cup on Thursday after taking the top two spots at a qualification tournament in New Zealand.
Both teams finished the round robin phase of the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup Qualifier on eight points after posting four wins and one loss, with the UAE's superior run rate giving them the edge over Scotland. The results mean they will play in next year's World Cup alongside superpowers of the game such as India and Australia. Scotland have featured in the World Cup twice before, in 1999 and 2007, while the UAE appeared in the tournament's 1996 edition. The Scots qualified after beating Kenya by three wickets in their final match with just three balls to spare, while the UAE downed Namibia by 36 runs.
Hong Kong entered the final day of the round robin with hopes of earning a debut World Cup appearance but results did not go their way, even though they posted a three-wicket win over Papua New Guinea. The UAE and Scotland will contest the final of the qualification tournament in Lincoln on Saturday to determine which pool they will play in at the World Cup.
A total of 14 teams will contest the World Cup, to be hosted by Australia and New Zealand, comprising the ICC's 10 full member nations and four affiliate countries. Ireland and Afghanistan secured two of the affiliate spots last year.