Zimbabwe have forfeited their Intercontinental Cup match against Scotland after the two sides couldn't agree a venue following Scotland's decision not tour the country and with the Zimbabwe board declining to use a neutral location.
It means Scotland will now face Afghanistan in the final in Dubai during November after the ICC reluctantly accepted Zimbabwe Cricket's (ZC) decision although warned against it happening again in the future.
"We wanted this fixture to go ahead and we did everything possible to facilitate an agreement between the two sides. We were happy for the match to take place anywhere in the world but the sides could not agree," said Dave Richardson, chairman of the event technical committee and ICC general manager of cricket. "It is disappointing for us and the ICC Intercontinental Cup that these two sides could not agree when or where to play their fixture and, for the integrity of the competition, these circumstances must not be allowed to happen again."
"However, taking into account all of the circumstances that have been presented to the technical committee in this case, we are prepared to accept ZC's unequivocal and unqualified statement of forfeiture and declare the match as being forfeited."
Zimbabwe took part in the tournament - the first-class event for Associate nations - as part of their route back to Test cricket although their decision to forfeit means they won't be faced with the potential embarrassment of losing in the final despite still being funded as a Full Member.
"We feel that the Intercontinental Cup is a significant competition in Scotland's development and therefore important that it gets the full benefits associated with playing in it," Ozias Bvute, the ZC managing director, said. "Moreover, given the limited playing opportunities available to them, it would be unnecessarily counterproductive to rob them of their right to participation or reduce their chances of reaching the final.
"Zimbabwe has no dispute with either Cricket Scotland or the ICC. Instead, we seek only a solution that will ultimately allow for fair participation by all, as such, ZC has decided to forfeit the match in favour of Scotland. ZC wishes it to be noted that our development side has enjoyed its participation in this competition and we wish Cricket Scotland and their team the best as they now progress to the final."
Cricket Scotland chief executive Roddy Smith added: "Cricket Scotland notes the decision of the event technical committee. We are glad a conclusion has been reached on this issue and we are now very much looking forward to participating in the final. It will be a great opportunity for our young, talented side to experience the big-match environment of an ICC final."