ICC Intercontinental Cup 2009-10 fixtures confirmed
The ICC has confirmed the remaining fixtures in the 2009-10 Intercontinental Cup, with everything leading towards next November's final, which will take place in the United Arab Emirates.
The next match will start on January 23 and sees defending champions Ireland facing improving newcomers Afghanistan in Sri Lanka. Two days later, second-placed Kenya will take on 2004 champions and current leaders Scotland in a top-of-the-table clash.
There is a total of US$250,000 in prize money for the Associate and Affiliate teams taking part in the ICC Intercontinental Cup with US$100,000 for the winners and US$40,000 for the runners-up.
Having previously been designed around a two-group, three-day format, the event then evolved in 2006 to an eight-team round-robin and truly global tournament of four-day cricket which gives those teams who do not play Test cricket the invaluable experience of the longer form of the game.
This year's format includes seven teams (Afghanistan, Canada, Ireland, Kenya, Netherlands, Scotland and Zimbabwe XI), while the new competition, the ICC Intercontinental Shield, involves the four teams below that, namely Bermuda, Namibia, Uganda and the United Arab Emirates.
Scotland won the first ICC Intercontinental Cup in 2004, beating Canada in the final, while Ireland has been victorious in all three events since then, beating Kenya in the 2005 decider, Canada in the 2006-07 event and Namibia in 2007-08.
The remaining fixtures for the second-tier ICC Intercontinental Shield have also been announced.
ICC INTERCONTINENTAL CUP
23-26 Jan - Afghanistan v Ireland, Sri Lanka 25-28 Jan - Kenya v Scotland, Kenya 17-20 Feb - Afghanistan v Canada, UAE 10-13 Jun - Netherlands v Scotland, Netherlands 11-14 Aug - Scotland v Afghanistan, Scotland 11-14 Aug - Ireland v Netherlands, Ireland 21-24 Aug - Canada v Zimbabwe XI, Canada 1-4 Sep - Canada v Ireland, Canada 1-4 Sep - Netherlands v Zimbabwe XI, Netherlands 2-5 Oct - Kenya v Afghanistan, Kenya 6-9 Oct - Zimbabwe XI v Ireland, Africa 13-16 Oct - Zimbabwe XI v Scotland, Africa 25-29 Nov - FINAL (five days), UAE
ICC INTERCONTINENTAL SHIELD
20-23 Jan - UAE v Uganda, UAE 2-5 Apr - Namibia v Bermuda, Namibia 5-8 Jul - Bermuda v UAE, Bermuda 18-21 Sep - Uganda v Namibia, Uganda 25-28 Nov - FINAL, UAE
Sahil Dutta is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo