Scotland and Ireland have been given the ultimate incentive to qualify for the next ICC World Twenty20 - the prospect of taking on the old enemy, England, in their own back yard.

Ryan Watson's Scots competed in the inaugural event in South Africa in September, losing to Pakistan by 51 runs and exiting the tournament when their match against India was washed out and the Indians, in turn, beat Pakistan.

With two places again on offer to associate nations for the next 20-over showpiece, in 2009, the winner of the qualifying race will go into Group B alongside Pakistan and tournament hosts England, who have never played either of their Celtic rivals on home soil.

Should the Scots go one better than they did in qualifying second for the 2007 event, it would allow them two cracks at the English in consecutive years, with a one-day international confirmed for 18 August next year at Citylets Grange in Edinburgh.

If it is Ireland, they will probably enjoy two darts at Paul Collingwood's side in the same summer, with England scheduled to cross the Irish Sea in 2009.

The Celts will have to grapple with associate rivals such as Kenya, the Netherlands and Canada for the right to be involved in England, with the second-ranked of two qualifiers plunged into a daunting Group D with New Zealand and South Africa.

The qualifying criteria have not yet been determined, with no World Cricket League Division One tournament - the vehicle used last time round - scheduled until 2011. The World Cup Qualifier in the spring of 2009 will fall too late, so the Twenty20 qualification might be calculated according to rankings.

  • Group A: India, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe.
  • Group B: Pakistan, England, Associate 1.
  • Group C: Australia, Sri Lanka, West Indies.
  • Group D: New Zealand, South Africa, Associate 2.