Nepal team © AFP
Nepal team © AFP

Nepal beat Hong Kong comfortably in their last match in the 2018 ICC World Cup Qualifiers. In the process they helped Afghanistan’s cause, pegging Hong Kong back. Afghanistan became the third team from Group B, after Zimbabwe and Scotland to qualify for the Super Sixes. They will be pitted against West Indies, Ireland, and UAE. The other four teams will compete in the playoffs that will decide positions 7 to 10. On the 15th, PNG, fifth in Group A, will play Nepal, fourth in Group B, at Harare; on the same day, Netherlands, fourth in Group A, will take on Group B’s fifth, Hong Kong, at Kwekwe.

But how do Nepal have a chance? Let us check the ICC pre-tournament announcement first: “Netherlands plus three highest finishing Associate Member sides to earn ODI status till 2022.” Of course, Netherlands had won the ICC World Cricket League Championship, and had gained ODI status as a result.

West Indies, Zimbabwe, Ireland, and Afghanistan are all Test-playing nations, and have ODI status by default. With Netherlands also out of the equation, that leaves us with three more slots. Having qualified for the Super Sixes, Scotland and UAE are the other two teams.

Look at the equation again now. Nepal will play PNG and Netherlands will play Hong Kong. If Nepal beat PNG and Netherlands beat Hong Kong, Nepal will attain ODI status. Why? Because Netherlands and Nepal will clash in the 7th-8th place decider — and Netherlands are already through.

But what if Netherlands lose to Hong Kong? In that case, the 7th-8th place match will be contested by Nepal and Hong Kong. Thus, if Hong Kong beat Netherlands and Nepal beat PNG, Nepal will have to beat Netherlands in the 7th-8th place decider.