The ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier (CWCQ) will be staged in New Zealand from 13 January to 1 February, 13 months before the finalists return to New Zealand and Australia for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.
Previously known as the ICC Trophy, the ICC CWCQ has, throughout the years, provided fans a unique brand of high voltage, exciting action as the competing sides give their all in a bid to qualify to cricket’s most prestigious event, the ICC Cricket World Cup.
The ICC Trophy was renamed the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier in 2009, and the nine editions of the tournament so far have produced seven different winners from the 31 teams that have competed.
The tournament has been held in seven countries, with England hosting the first three editions, Sri Lanka winning the 1975 event and Zimbabwe triumphing in 1982, 1986 and 1990 to complete a hat-trick of titles.
The ICC CWCQ NZ 2014 will see 10 leading Associate and Affiliate sides – 2009 finalist Canada, Hong Kong, two-time finalist Kenya, Namibia, Nepal, 2001 champion Netherlands, Papua New Guinea (PNG), 2005 winner Scotland, 1994 champion the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Uganda – split into two groups of five teams each. A total of 48 matches will be played over three weeks, and the finalists will join the 10 Full Members as well as Afghanistan and Ireland in the ICC Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, which will be played from 14 February to 29 March 2015.
We take a trip down memory lane to relive some of the champagne moments of the previous nine editions of the ICC CWCQ.
1979 – England
The English Midlands provided the locale for the inaugural edition. The finalists, Canada and Sri Lanka, qualified for the ICC CWC 1979 in the West Indies. Sri Lanka, which overturned the disadvantage of forfeiting points earlier in the tournament, won the title after defeating Canada by 60 runs in the 60-over final at Worcester.
Duleep Mendis, who was the highest scorer of the tournament with 221 runs, also top-scored for Sri Lanka with 66 in the final. And given that no batsman could reach three figures in the tournament, Mendis’ tally of three half-centuries (the most by any batsman in the event) made him the most valuable batsman of the ICC Trophy 1979.
1982 – England
In the ICC Trophy 1982, bad weather affected play throughout, with numerous games being washed out. Zimbabwe beat Bermuda by five wickets in the final at Leicester to qualify for the ICC CWC 1983, which was staged in the same country.
Bermuda skipper Colin Blades and his team-mate Elvin James topped the batting and bowling charts, respectively. Blades scored 310 runs from eight matches at an average of 103.33, while James took 15 wickets at an average of 12.46 and strike rate of 26.40.
Current India coach Duncan Fletcher, who led Zimbabwe in that tournament, was the pick of the bowlers in the final, taking 3-34.
1986 – England
England hosted the ICC Trophy for a third successive time in 1986, with the final this time staged at Lord’s. Zimbabwe became the first team to retain the ICC Trophy, beating the Netherlands by 25 runs in the final and taking the only available spot at the ICC CWC 1987 in India and Pakistan.
Zimbabwe’s batsmen, with the exception of Grant Paterson, had been inconsistent in the tournament. However, when it really mattered, Robin Brown and current Zimbabwe coach Andy Waller scored half-centuries, blunting RJ Elferink of the Netherlands, who finished as the highest wicket-taker of the event with 23 scalps at an average of just 9.82.
1990 – Netherlands
In 1990, the ICC Trophy was played outside of England for the first time, with the Netherlands hosting the competition. The winner, however, remained unchanged, as Zimbabwe completed a historic hat-trick of titles. In fact, it is the only team yet to win the tournament more than once.
Zimbabwe beat the host by six wickets in the final in The Hague after winning every other game it played in the tournament to qualify for the ICC CWC 1992 in Australia and New Zealand.
Nolan Clarke was the tournament’s leading run-getter, with 523 from nine matches at an average of 65.37. Eddo Brandes of Zimbabwe was the highest wicket-taker, with 18 victims at an average of 12.77.
Dave Houghton, Andy Pycroft and John Traicos also created ICC Trophy history by becoming the only three players to feature in the winning side in three (successive) finals.
1994 – Kenya
The ICC Trophy 1994 offered, for the first time, three teams (the two finalists and the winner of the 3rd/4th place play-off) a chance to qualify for the next edition of the ICC CWC.
The Netherlands beat Bermuda by 103 runs in the play-off, while the United Arab Emirates beat host Kenya by two wickets in a nail-biting final in Nairobi. As a result, the UAE, Kenya and the Netherlands qualified for the ICC CWC 1996 in Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka.
Veteran Nolan Clarke of the Netherlands created history by once again topping the scoring charts (just as he had done in 1990), with 517 runs from nine matches at an average of 86.16 and with three centuries to his name.
Gavin Murgatroyd of Namibia and Fred Arua of Papua New Guinea were the joint-highest wicket-takers, with 19 scalps each.
1997 – Malaysia
The 1997 ICC Trophy in Malaysia threw up another new winner in the form of Bangladesh, which beat Kenya by two wickets (by the Duckworth-Lewis method) in the final.
Scotland beat Ireland in the 3rd/4th place play-off to take the only other qualifying spot up for grabs through this tournament to the ICC CWC 1999 in England.
Current Kenya player and coach Steve Tikolo smashed 147 runs off 152 balls in a losing cause in the final, while his skipper then, Maurice Odumbe, was named the Player of the Series for scoring the most runs (493 from 10 matches at an average of 98.60).
Kenya’s Asif Karim, Bangladesh’s Mohammad Rafique and the Netherlands’ Asim Khan were the join highest wicket-takers, with 19 wickets apiece.
2001 – Canada
In the 2001 ICC Trophy in Canada, the trend of throwing up new champions continued. The Netherlands beat Namibia by two wickets, in what proved to be a dramatic final in Toronto that was decided by three runs that were scampered following a misfield off the very last ball.
Canada stunned Scotland to take the third spot up for grabs at the ICC CWC 2003 in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya.
Daniel Keulder of Namibia was the tournament’s leading run-scorer with 366 from nine matches at an average of 45.75.
Denmark’s Soren Vestergaard and the Netherlands’ Roland Lefebvre were the highest wicket-takers, with 20 victims each. Lefebvre was also the Player of the Series.
2005 – Ireland
In 2005, Ireland hosted the ICC Trophy, but was beaten by 47 runs in the final by Scotland.
This edition offered a chance for the most number of teams (the top five finishers) to qualify for the ICC CWC 2007. Apart from Scotland and Ireland, Bermuda, Canada and the Netherlands booked their places for the ICC CWC 2007.
Bas Zuiderent of the Netherlands finished on top of the batting charts, with 474 runs from seven matches at an average of 118.50.
Paul Hoffmann of Scotland and Edgar Schiferli of the Netherlands were the joint-highest wicket-takers, with 17 wickets each to their name.
2009 – South Africa
In 2009, the ICC Trophy was renamed the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier, and was played in South Africa as the final event of the ICC World Cricket League 2007-09.
The tournament offered the top four finishers a place in the ICC CWC 2011 in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. The top four after the Super Eight stage – Ireland, Canada, Kenya and the Netherlands – qualified for the ICC CWC 2011.
In the final, Ireland comprehensively beat Canada by nine wickets to claim its first ICC CWCQ title.
David Hemp of Bermuda was the tournament’s leading run-getter with 557 runs, while Edgar Schiferli of the Netherlands was the leading wicket-taker with 24 to his name.
Year Host Winner Runner-Up
1979 England Sri Lanka Canada
1982 England Zimbabwe Bermuda
1986 England Zimbabwe Netherlands
1990 Netherlands Zimbabwe Netherlands
1994 Kenya United Arab Emirates Kenya
1997 Malaysia Bangladesh Kenya
2001 Canada Netherlands Namibia
2005 Ireland Scotland Ireland
2009 South Africa Ireland Canada