Explained: 2027 Cricket World Cup Qualification Pathway

With the tumultuous 2023 Cricket World Cup past us, it’s time to focus on the upcoming 2027 Cricket World Cup. The 14th edition will see 14 teams in the running to claim the coveted trophy.

But before the main show, teams need to secure their spots in the World Cup. The ICC has announced the qualification process for the 2027 Cricket World Cup.

Who are the hosts of the 2027 edition?

South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Namibia will co-host the 2027 Cricket World Cup. South Africa and Zimbabwe will co-host the tournament for the second time, while Namibia will be hosting for the first time.

How many teams will automatically qualify?

10 teams will directly qualify based on the ICC ODI Rankings. Co-hosts South Africa and Zimbabwe, along with 8 other top-ranked teams on the ICC Rankings, will secure their places automatically. Namibia, despite being a co-host, won’t get an automatic slot but rather will participate in the Cricket World Cup League 2 (CWC L2).

Also Read | How are the ICC Rankings Calculated?

So what is Cricket World Cup League 2?

CWC L2 is an 8-team tournament consisting of associate nation members with ODI status. The tournament will be played over 3 years, with each team playing 36 ODI matches across 9 triangular series.

Apart from Namibia, the Netherlands, Nepal, Oman, Scotland, the USA, Canada, and the UAE are the other participants. 

The top 4 teams from the CWC L2 will move to the CWC Qualifier, one step before the World Cup. The bottom 4 teams will get one more chance to enter the CWC Qualifier by playing with the 4 teams from the CWC Challenge League in the CWC Qualifier Playoff.

Now what are the Challenge League and Qualifier Playoff?

Challenge League is made up of 12 teams split into 2 groups of 6 teams. Each group will contest 3 round-robin tournaments in the next 3 years.

None of the 12 teams has ODI status, with all games contested between them having List A status.

Papua New Guinea, Jersey, Denmark, Hong Kong, Kenya, Qatar, Singapore, Uganda, Bahrain, Italy, Kuwait, and Tanzania will participate in the third-tier List A competition. 

Bahrain, Italy, Kuwait, and Tanzania advanced to the Challenge League after securing a top 4 finish in the Challenge League Playoff, which also saw Bermuda, Vanuatu, Malaysia, and Saudi Arabia compete.

The top 2 teams from each Challenge League group will then proceed to the Qualifier Playoff, where they will meet the bottom 4 teams from CWC L2. Then the top 4 teams from the CWC Qualifier Playoff will make it to the CWC Qualifier.

What is in store in the CWC Qualifier?

The CWC Qualifier is a 10-team tournament to determine the 4 teams that will book their seats in the 2027 World Cup edition. The 2 bottom-ranked teams on the ICC Rankings (excluding South Africa and Zimbabwe) and the top 4 teams each from the CWC L2 and Qualifier Playoff will make the cut.

The top 4 teams at the end of the tournament will secure their spots in the World Cup. With the 14 teams confirmed for the main event, the qualification process will come to an end.

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