ICC Media Release
The four teams that will join the 10 Full Members in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 were finalised today with Ireland, Canada, the Netherlands and Kenya booking their places.
Having already done enough to qualify on Wednesday, it mattered little to Ireland that it went down to Kenya by six wickets at LC de Villiers Oval but that win secured Steve Tikolo's team its place in the big event.
Meanwhile, Netherlands beat Canada at WITS University to draw level with the North Americans and Kenya but Jeroen Smits and his men stay in fourth place once the net run-rate is taken into account leaving Canada to contest Sunday's final with Ireland.
Defending champion Scotland, which has underperformed most of the way through this event, managed to cling on to its ODI status for another four years at least by beating the United Arab Emirates at Benoni, thus finishing in fifth position and consigning the UAE to seventh spot.
Afghanistan continues its amazing story by beating eighth-place Namibia at Krugersdorp and so ending the tournament in sixth position and gaining ODI status until 2013 at least.
Ireland all-rounder Andrew White said: 'That's part of the job done for us. The initial goal for us was to get through to the World Cup but having done so well since the last World Cup our overall goal was to try and win the tournament. So we still have to do that.
'We believe we are the best Associate team around but in order to prove that again we need to win this tournament. So although we have qualified for the World Cup, to an extent it's still job not finished. It's important, for our own well being, that we prove we are the best Associate in all formats.
'We have played consistently throughout the tournament and we'll back ourselves to go out and put in another good performance in the final and hopefully that will be good enough on the day.'
Up against Ireland will be a Canada side that has played well throughout most of this 19-day tournament so far, even without talisman John Davison, who suffered an injury half-way through. Captain Ashish Bagai says although it has been a tiring few weeks, his boys are ready for one more challenge.
'It has been a good effort by everyone in the squad. We have played pretty consistently and I am really looking forward to the final now. We are delighted to have qualified for the World Cup but we want to win this trophy.
'It has been a long tour for us and everyone is tired but we will keep it going for one more game and we will get a good rest after that. Then, once we have recovered, we will set out our plan for the World Cup 2011 so that we prepare as well as possible and come into that tournament playing as good cricket as we possibly can,' said Bagai.
Kenya skipper Steve Tikolo, who has played in four World Cups, said afterwards that he would not be around for a fifth.
'My legs are going now and I'm getting a little too slow. I think it's time to let the youngsters come through,' said 37-year-old Tikolo, who has been the heart of the Kenya team for the best part of 15 years.
'I will probably play until the end of this season but I will not be around for the next World Cup. There is plenty of young talent coming through in Kenya so I think the time is right for me to step away.
'I am very happy we qualified – that was our main goal coming here so that is good enough for me. I think we outplayed Ireland today. The guys came to the ground today very determined and we wanted it badly so that was encouraging, especially considering our poor performance against Namibia two days ago.'
Netherlands captain Jeroen Smits, whose side easily overcame Canada in WITS, was clearly delighted with his team's fourth-place finish.
'I'm feeling very happy and excited that we are through to another World Cup,' said Smits.
'We played in 2003, 2007 and now we have made it to another one. I think we deserve to be there. We had a few hiccups along the way but basically our batting lineup has been solid through the tournament and we have a good mix of youth and experience. It all came together nicely today and we showed just how well we can play.'
For Afghanistan coach Kabir Khan, the fact his team now has ODI status is a big boost to cricket in his country.
'When we came into the Super Eight we weren't in a very good position to qualify, but the way the boys played showed how much courage and talent they have got winning some much tougher matches! I am sure we will play in a World Cup one day.
'My first goal when we came into this tournament was to get into the Super Eight as we didn't want to be relegated. I thought it would be very hard to make the World Cup, playing against so many top sides in this qualifier, but finishing in the top six is an excellent result for us.
'It will help develop the cricketing culture in Afghanistan and there will be more cricket and we will have the opportunity to play four-day cricket (in the ICC Intercontinental Cup). We are not going home empty-handed from the tournament – we have managed to achieve our ODI status.
'I think four-day cricket brings out the true cricketer in everybody as in one-day cricket players may play bad shots against you chasing runs, but in four-day cricket you have to get the batsman out with your own qualities and skills.
'We will also benefit from the support from the ICC in preparing for these competitions. Our team is also very good in the short-form of the game and in Twenty20 they will be challenging a lot of the big teams. All their life in Afghanistan they have played 20 or 25-over cricket, so their games are well suited to this,' said Kabir.