ICC World Twenty20 Qualifiers July 17, 2008

ICC agree to Twenty20 play-off

Cricinfo staff

The ICC has announced a revised schedule for the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier in Belfast next month.

The tournament, involving the six leading Associate teams - Bermuda, Canada, Ireland, Kenya, the Netherlands and Scotland - will now take place from August 2 to 5, with a fourth day included to allow room for a third and fourth-place play-off.

That additional fixture has become necessary because a third team will join the two finalists in next year's tournament, providing Zimbabwe Cricket's board ratifies Zimbabwe's decision, taken during the ICC's annual conference week, to step down from the ICC World Twenty20 2009.

If that is confirmed then the winner of the Belfast event will take the place of Zimbabwe in the main draw, in Group A, alongside India and Bangladesh. The losing finalist will take its place in Group B, alongside Pakistan and England and has the prospect of playing the opening match of the tournament, against the host team at Lord's, London. The winner of the third and fourth place play-off slots into Group D, with South Africa and New Zealand.

The format for the WT20 Qualifier takes in 11 matches over four days, with the six teams split into two groups based on the sides' ODI rankings. Group A is made up of Ireland, Scotland and Bermuda while Group B features Kenya, Netherlands and Canada.

The first two days of the tournament, August 2 and 3, features round-robin action with the top two sides from each group going forward to the semi-finals. Those semi-finals will take place on day three, followed by the all-important third and fourth place play-off. A fifth and sixth place play-off - a second additional fixture to the original schedule - will get the fourth day off and running before being followed by the final.