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    The journey to 2027 begins with the start of the eight-team CWC League 2 in Nepal
The journey to 2027 begins with the start of the eight-team CWC League 2 in Nepal
via Midjourney

The journey to 2027 begins with the start of the eight-team CWC League 2 in Nepal

The journey towards the 2027 Cricket World Cup commences in Nepal with the inaugural tri-series of a new Cricket World Cup League 2 cycle.

The competition will follow a similar format to the inaugural edition held in 2019, but with an additional team, making it an eight-team competition. The format will consist of 24 tri-series, each comprising six matches, for a total of 144 ODIs.

All Cricket World Cup League 2 matches will be shown live and free of charge on ICC.tv in selected regions.

The top four finish in League 2 will secure automatic spots for the Cricket World Cup Qualifier. This is the minimum goal for all eight teams aiming to succeed in a World Cup run.

Finishing in the bottom four of League 2 does not disqualify a team from the Cricket World Cup Qualifier, but it does mean that they will have to play in the Cricket World Cup Qualifier Play-off, which is effectively a repechage tournament and also includes the top four teams from the Cricket World Cup Challenge League, the third tier of international 50-over cricket.

Although a strong performance in the Play-off can help a team qualify for the Cricket World Cup through the Qualifier, there is also a risk of demotion to the Challenge League for a League 2 team that performs poorly. This was the unfortunate fate of Papua New Guinea in the previous cycle, as they finished last in League 2 and then last in the Play-off.

Six teams return to League 2 from the last edition, with two new teams joining. The Netherlands, led by wicket-keeper batter Scott Edwards and known for their impressive performance in the Cricket World Cup 2023, are the early favourites. Canada earned their promotion to the competition by finishing above Jersey and Papua New Guinea in the Qualifier Play-off early last year.

International cricket is full of storylines, and the Dutch team may have a chance to defeat the defending League 2 champions, Scotland. The Dutch team prevented Scotland from qualifying for the Cricket World Cup 2023 on Net Run Rate, thanks to Bas de Leede's outstanding individual performance. Scotland will be competing for a top-four spot and tournament honours once again, while Zeeshan Maqsood's Oman team will be looking to improve on their second-place finish in the last cycle.

Nepal, who host the Netherlands and Namibia in the inaugural tri-series, are coming off a strong warm-up series win over Canada and captain Rohit Paudel says he is looking forward to the challenges ahead in both white-ball formats.

Poudel added that Nepal is delighted to host the inaugural triple-header in League 2, which promises to feature some very competitive and talented teams.

Nepal's team is currently in an exciting period with the Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 less than four months away, and the qualification campaign for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2027 is underway.

Nepal is confident after a 3-0 win over Canada in the recently concluded series and hopes to make a strong start in League 2 with this home Tri-series.

Namibia will be seeking revenge in their matches against Nepal, as it was Nepal's historic ODI run that prevented Gerhard Erasmus' team from advancing to the Qualifier. Nepal won 12 of their last 13 ODIs in the previous League 2 cycle, forcing Namibia to compete in the Play-off, where they failed to qualify.

The USA is returning after finishing fifth in the previous League 2 cycle, while the UAE retained their spot in the competition despite finishing second-last.

Muhammad Waseem's team maintained their position by finishing ahead of Jersey and Papua New Guinea in the Qualifier Play-off.

First League 2 Tri-series (featuring Nepal, Namibia and The Netherlands)

15 February: Nepal v Namibia
17 February: Nepal v Netherlands
19 February: Namibia v Netherlands
21 February: Nepal v Namibia
23 February: Namibia v Netherlands
25 February: Nepal v Netherlands

All matches at the Tribhuvan University Ground, Kirtipur

League 2 Teams

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