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March 3, 2013
The World Cricket League Championship resumes this week with a crucial round five of matches for Associate nations that will go a long way to deciding who qualifies for the 2015 World Cup.
Two automatic places are available at the World Cup for the top-two finishers in the Championship table and with six matches to play, Ireland and Scotland are currently leading the race.
Just four points separate the top four teams in the table and teams will be eager to add to their tally with 12 points available from the remaining matches.
Leaders Ireland currently top the table with 13 points and will hope to extend their two-point advantage over second-placed Scotland. Ireland and Scotland both take on Asian countries in conditions more familiar to their opposition.
Ireland face the UAE without fast-bowler Boyd Rankin for the first time. Rankin has ended his Ireland career to concentrate on playing county cricket and has ambitions to play Test cricket for England.
Scotland have more changes to their squad with several current county players, and Neil Carter who ended his Warwickshire career last season, included for the first time. They play Afghanistan, whose strong showing in recent years has made them the fairytale story of Associate cricket. But they have never appeared at a World Cup before.
Netherlands could be the big winners of round five. They play Namibia and are firm favorites for maximum points. They will be looking for Afghanistan to beat Scotland and hope UAE can take at least one victory from Ireland. That would put Netherlands into a strong position in the final two rounds of matches.
Four games from round five will be streamed live by the ICC with both matches between Afghanistan and Scotland, and Ireland and UAE forming part of up to 18 matches that the ICC will stream live before the end of the World Cricket League Championship.
Teams that don't make it through to the world cup automatically can still qualify for the 2015 World Cup through the qualifying tournament next year.
Alongside the World Cricket League, nations will be back in Intercontinental Cup action hoping to climb the table with the top two teams reaching the final at the end of the season.
March 6, Afghanistan v Scotland, World Cricket League, Sharjah, *Streamed Live
March 8, Afghanistan v Scotland, World Cricket League, Sharjah, *Streamed Live
March 11, Kenya v Canada, World Cricket League, Dubai
March 12-15, Afghanistan v Scotland, Intercontinental Cup, Abu Dhabi
March 12-15, UAE v Ireland, Intercontinental Cup, Sharjah
March 13, Kenya v Canada, World Cricket League, Dubai
March 18-21 Kenya v Canada, Intercontinental Cup, Dubai
March 18, UAE v Ireland, World Cricket League, Sharjah, *Streamed Live
March 20, UAE v Ireland, World Cricket League, Sharjah, *Streamed Live
April 11-14, Namibia v Netherlands, Intercontinental Cup, Windhoek
April 16, Namibia v Netherlands, World Cricket League, Windhoek
April 18, Namibia v Netherlands, World Cricket League, Windhoek
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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