The following is Zimbabwe Cricket chairman Tavengwa Mukuhlani s statement on Zimbabwe s successful hosting of the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018, the 10-team tournament that ran from 4-25 March:

It has been a fantastic couple of weeks but, as the old adage goes, all good things must come to an end. As the curtain came down on the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018 this Sunday, it was a rollercoaster of emotions for us at Zimbabwe Cricket and, I believe, for all Zimbabweans. First, I wish to put it on record that Zimbabwe Cricket is disappointed and feels the pain of the fans and the entire nation following our national team s failure to qualify for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 in England and Wales.

The boys are gutted and they know their performance, especially against the United Arab Emirates in the match that sealed our fate, was not good enough to take us through. I am, however, confident they will pick up the pieces, continue working harder and try to make it right. When we win, we win together. When we lose, we must lose together. So, with the nation s steadfast support, through thick and thin, we will recover from this setback and achieve better results in the future.

On the other hand, as a nation we have every reason to stand tall with immense pride having successfully hosted a spectacular tournament. The world watched in awe as thousands of fans packed our stadia, singing and dancing, chanting and clapping undeterred even when it rained creating a carnival atmosphere that is uniquely and authentically Zimbabwean.

On behalf of Zimbabwe Cricket, I wish to express our sincerest gratitude to the thousands of Zimbabweans, young and old, for warmly embracing the game of cricket and making the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018 a truly memorable experience. The month-long tournament has sparked nationwide interest in the sport and has been a catalyst for new and improved facilities to support the development of the game of cricket at all levels throughout Zimbabwe. I am looking forward to an exciting future for the game in our country.

I am also extremely proud of the strong and positive impact of the tournament on Zimbabwe, with the event driving millions of dollars into our economy. Thanks to the event, we have also seen increased cooperation and goodwill between the various stakeholders Zimbabwe Cricket, the Government and host cities, commercial partners, the media and the community at large. We are indebted.

I wish to express our deepest gratitude to the International Cricket Council for not only showing faith in our ability to host an event of this magnitude and global significance but for also providing us with all the necessary support to ensure we deliver a world-class tournament. The Local Organising Committee and volunteers were key to the success of this tournament. Congratulations for a job well done and thank you for your dedication and tremendous efforts.

To the competing teams, thank you for your excellence and for the professional manner in which you conducted yourselves on and off the field. I hope you have enjoyed your stay and will take back many special memories from the tournament.

Last but not least, congratulations to Afghanistan on their victory in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018 final in which they defeated the Windies by seven wickets.

I also wish to extend hearty congratulations to the two finalists on qualifying for the World Cup proper. Well done and I wish you all the best at the main global showpiece.

Thank you.