Eight sides prepare to clash in northern Australia in ICC World Cricket League Division 3 May 24, 2007

Darwin provides route to ICC Cricket World Cup 2011

For eight sides the road to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 in the Asian sub-continent runs via Darwin in northern Australia.

It is there that Argentina, the Cayman Islands, Fiji, Hong Kong, Italy, Papua New Guinea Tanzania and Uganda will come together this weekend (27 May) in the ICC World Cricket League Division 3 (ICC WCL Div 3).

The sides will battle it out over the course of a week for the chance to go to Windhoek in Namibia in November to take part in the ICC WCL Div 2 tournament.

And the top four sides from that event - which will involve not only the two leading sides from Darwin but also Denmark, Namibia, Oman and the United Arab Emirates - will go forward to the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier in the UAE in 2009.

Ireland has already shown what that can lead to. It was runner-up in the previous ICC CWC Qualifier (known as the ICC Trophy) in 2005 and has since gone on to achieve a place in the LG ICC ODI Championship table after wins against Pakistan and Bangladesh and a tie with Zimbabwe.

So, there is plenty at stake for all the sides in Darwin and it promises to be a thrilling week of cricket in a city that has previously staged both Test and ODI cricket when Australia played against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in 2003 and 2004.

Explaining the significance of the ICC WCL and how the Darwin tournament fits in, ICC Global Development Manager Matthew Kennedy said: "The idea of the WCL is to give each of the 87 Associate and Affiliate Members a clearly defined pathway to progress and develop in world cricket.

"Apart from Division 1, which involves the top six Associate sides, the next best teams from the ICC Trophy 2005 have been allocated to Division 2 and 3 events along with the top teams from each of five regional qualifying events.

"It means that regular global one-day cricket opportunities are no longer confined to just the top sides in the LG ICC ODI Championship table and this tournament in Darwin is a prime example of that.

"Our belief is that by exposing these sides to different opponents and different conditions they will improve and take that improvement back into their own domestic structures thereby helping our strong sport grow even stronger by broadening its base to a significant degree.

"With places up for grabs in the ICC CWC Qualifier, the incentives and rewards for teams to improve have never been greater and I wish all the sides in action in Darwin the best of luck in what should be a terrific tournament and a great advertisement for Associate cricket," he added.

The teams in Darwin will be divided into two groups of four with the top two sides in each going forward to semi-finals while the bottom four sides take part in a plate competition.

Then, on the final day of competition, on Saturday 2 June there will be a final as well as play-offs for all the minor places.

The Groups are as follows:

Group A Group B
Papua New Guinea Uganda
Italy Cayman Islands
Papua New Guinea Uganda
Argentina Tanzania

Further details of the ICC WCL Div 3 event in Darwin, including the detailed schedule, can be found here:

A further release previewing the tournament, including details of some of the players taking part, will be sent out by 1200 GMT on Friday 25 May.

Brian Murgatroyd is ICC Manager - Media and Communications