ICC Chief Executive David Richardson has congratulated Afghanistan and West Indies for making it through to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 and also thanked Zimbabwe Cricket, their volunteers and the ICC staff for putting together a successful ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018, which concluded in Harare on Sunday.

Afghanistan and West Indies qualified for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, to be played from 30 May to 14 July in England and Wales, after finishing as the top two sides after 33 matches in the 10-team qualifying tournament. In the 34th and final match of the tournament on Sunday, Afghanistan beat the West Indies by seven wickets with a competent display in the field and with the bat to lift the prestigious silverware.

On behalf of the ICC, I want to congratulate Afghanistan for their efforts in recovering from a slow start to take this prestigious title and, both them and the West Indies for qualifying for the ICC Cricket Word Cup 2019. We look forward to welcoming them along with the eight top-ranked ODI teams in England and Wales for what I m sure will be highly competitive event, said Mr Richardson, who attended Sunday s final in Harare.

The ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier has seen some highly competitive and enthralling cricket with all sides producing some fine performances in their quest to qualify for the World Cup. In congratulating the two successful sides, we also commiserate with those which came so close. Defending champions Scotland came agonisingly close to qualifying for the World Cup, until the heavens opened, while Zimbabwe and Ireland were only one win away from a successful campaign. Thank you to all of the teams who have competed and contributed to such an intense and exciting event.

The qualification process for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 was a rigorous one which started way back in 2013 with 94 Members below the Test Members taking part in various ICC World Cricket League Division events. As part of the meritocratic pathway, the four bottom-ranked Test Members on the MRF Tyres ICC ODI Team Rankings as on 30 September 2017 were given a second chance to qualify for the World Cup, but had to compete against the six leading Associate Members in a 10-team qualifying tournament.

Mr Richardson was effusive in his praise for Nepal, which earned ODI status until 2022 after finishing as one of the top three Associate Members behind the Netherlands. The success of Nepal is one of the great stories of this qualifier. Earning ODI status is a remarkable achievement and one that will, I hope, continue to build on the rapidly growing love of cricket in Nepal.

Mr Richardson also thanked ICC s commercial partners for their support, especially Star Sports, who televised 10 matches in more than 200 territories. The broadcast, digital and media coverage of this tournament has been exceptional, with more coverage than ever before, which has engaged millions of people across the globe during a busy international season.