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Desert T20 Tournament to be held in UAE in January

Namibia, who do not have T20I status yet, have been invited to participate after PNG declined to compete IDI/Getty

The Emirates Cricket Board has announced a T20 tournament for eight Associate countries to be played from January 14 to 20 in the UAE. Apart from UAE, Afghanistan, Hong Kong, Ireland, Namibia, Netherlands, Oman and Scotland will take part in the tournament.

Named the Desert T20 Tournament, the seven-day competition will be played in a round-robin and knockout format, beginning at Abu Dhabi's Zayed Cricket Stadium before culminating in Dubai for the final two days.

"The aim of the tournament is to provide an opportunity for our teams to play more competitive Men's T20 cricket," Zayed Abbas, Emirates Cricket Board member, said. "Each of the participating countries are very close in ICC T20I rankings, so we expect the quality of cricket to be very strong."

Multiple sources had earlier told ESPNcricinfo that a T20 tournament was in the pipeline for early 2017. Although Papua New Guinea were scheduled to participate, Namibia - who do not possess T20I status yet - were invited to participate after PNG declined to compete.

The tournament kicks-off with Scotland facing Hong Kong followed by Afghanistan taking on Ireland on January 14 in Abu Dhabi.