Ireland Women's T20 World Cup Qualifying preparations have been thrown into disarray with the cancellation by Zimbabwe of their tour just 48 hours before they were due to arrive.

The governing body received correspondence late this afternoon from Zimbabwe Cricket in which they were informed that due to a funding issue, Zimbabwe Cricket will not be sending their women’s team to Ireland.

CEO Warren Deutrom slammed the African nation for the lateness of the withdrawal, which left Ireland with no time to make alternative arrangements.

“With the team due to arrive on Sunday, there is clearly no time to find an alternate and, after urgent consultation with the ICC to seek clarification, we regret to confirm the women’s tour has been cancelled. This will not, however, impact upon the men’s tour which will proceed as scheduled.”

Zimbabwe men have just arrived in the North-West of Ireland following a short tour of the Netherlands, and play a warm-up game on Saturday against Ireland Wolves before taking on Ireland in the first of a three-match ODI series on Monday.

Deutrom outlined the costs and problems the cancelled series would incur.

“Notwithstanding the significant and costly considerations for Cricket Ireland – including venue hire and management, infrastructure hire, training days, catering, hotel, accommodation and promotional costs – we are all desperately sorry for the players, fans and the many staff and volunteers from across the cricket community who had supported planning for this tour and who planned to be at these matches.

“We are additionally conscious that this series was an important piece of our preparations for the upcoming ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier and we will look into alternative arrangements so our senior Women’s team will not be completely disadvantaged by these disappointing circumstances. We will make further information available as it comes to hand.”