The World Cup Qualifier 2023 starts on 18th June in Zimbabwe, where 10 teams are battling for the final two places at October's World Cup in India.
Sri Lanka at 4/11 and the West Indies at 4/11 are rated the most likely sides to join India, Australia, England, Pakistan, , South Africa, Bangladesh and Afghanistan at the World Cup, but Zimbabwe and Ireland could pose a threat to the big two.
|What||World Cup Qualifier 2023|
|Where||Harare and Bulawayo, Zimbabwe|
|When||Sunday 18th June to Sunday 9th July|
|How to watch||Sky Sports Mix|
|Odds (To Qualify for the World Cup)||Sri Lanka 4/11, West Indies 4/11, Zimbabwe 9/2, Ireland 5/1, Scotland|
The first stage of the tournament features two groups of five teams.
Hosts Zimbabwe are in Group A alongside the West Indies, Nepal, Netherlands and USA while Group B is made up of Sri Lanka, Ireland, Scotland, UAE and Oman.
The West Indies and Sri Lanka have the most illustrious World Cup pedigree of the 10 qualifying hopefuls. The Windies reached the first three finals, winning in 1975 and 1979 before a shock defeat to India in 1983, while the Lankans were crowned world champions in 1996.
Sri Lanka reached the World Cup final as recently as 2011, when they were beaten by India in Mumbai, but poor results in the 2020-2023 ICC Cricket World Cup Super League mean they must take their chances in the qualifying competition.
The top three teams in each group progress to the Super Six stage, where they will play the three qualifiers from the other section. The finalists, both of whom earn a place at the World Cup, meet in Harare on 9th July.
Sri Lanka are 11/8 to win the World Cup Qualifier although they have left former captain Angelo Mathews out of their 15-man squad. At the 2019 World Cup, Mathews scored an unbeaten 85 in his side's surprise 20-run win over England, who went on to lift the trophy.
Fellow veteran Dimuth Karunaratne is included, despite playing only 37 ODIs compared to his 86 appearances in Test cricket, and exciting all-rounder Dasun Shanaka will captain the side.
Kusal Mendis, Pathum Nissanka and Dhananjaya de Silva are classy top-order batters while they will be expecting great things from spinning all-rounder Wanindu Hasaranga and fast bowler Matheesha Pathirana, who took 19 wickets in 12 matches for champions Chennai Super Kings in this year's Indian Premier League.
The West Indies won their first game of the 2019 World Cup, bowling out Pakistan for just 105, but they lost six of their other seven completed matches and are 11/8 to win the World Cup Qualifier 2023.
They are captained by Shai Hope, who averages just shy of 50 with 14 centuries in 103 ODI innings, and have more batting firepower in the form of Rovman Powell, Nicholas Pooran and Brandon King.
Fast bowlers Alzarri Joseph and Jason Holder are top-class operators and the Windies warmed up for this event with a 1-1 draw in and a 3-0 series win over the UAE. Their main rivals in Group A are expected to be hosts Zimbabwe, who are 9/2 to qualify for the World Cup.
They have an experienced core including skipper Craig Ervine, Sean Williams and Sikandar Raza, who played for Punjab Kings at the IPL, and claimed a shock three-wicket win over Australia last September, skittling the Aussies for 141 in Townsville.
Ireland's main focus this year has been on gaining more Test experience, culminating in a 10-wicket defeat to England at Lord's earlier this month, but they are 11/2 to book a place at the 50-over World Cup.
Their squad includes Paul Stirling, who scored 142 when they chased down 329 to beat England by seven wickets in 2020, and young batsman Harry Tector, who is number seven in the ICC's ODI batting rankings – one place higher than India great Virat Kohli.
Tector smashed 140 off 113 balls in an ODI against Bangladesh in Chelmsford last month and Ireland's chances are also boosted by the availability of left-arm seamer Josh Little, who impressed for IPL runners-up Gujarat Titans at this year's IPL.
Ireland are 11/1 to win the World Cup Qualifier 2023 with Scotland rated 25/1 shots.