Ireland qualify for 2015 World Cup

Dubai, July 10 (IANS) Ireland has become the first associate side to qualify for the 2015 Cricket World Cup, after its ICC World Cricket League (WCL) Championship match against the Netherlands ended in a tie.

Ireland won the first ODI by 88 runs in Amstelveen on Sunday before Tuesday's match ended in a thrilling tie.

With the top two teams in the WCL Championship qualifying for the World Cup, the result of one win and a tie means that Ireland have reached an unassailable tally of 20 points to open up a five-point lead over the Netherlands and Scotland (15 points each).

It has ensured their qualification to the ICC's flagship 50-over event, regardless of how the seventh and final round matches of the competition pan out.

Ireland captain William Porterfield was delighted with the result.

"It means everything. We knew that if we came to Holland and won two games, we'd win the competition. We've won one and tied one, so that does the same job in effect, so it's pretty much 'mission accomplished.' We're pretty happy. We've come here to do a job and we've done it."

However, the 28 year-old admitted that his side's high expectations made it bittersweet to qualify for 2015 after a tied result.

"It (feels) strange at the minute. We've come off almost feeling like a bit of a loss. I think it won't take us that long to get over the fact that we have just drawn the game because we have qualified for the World Cup, we just wanted to do that with a win. But now, we'll be pretty happy."

ICC CEO Dave Richardson said: "Ireland has performed extremely well throughout this competition, winning nine of its 12 matches against the strongest teams in Associate and Affiliate cricket to become the first team to qualify for World Cup."

"Ireland has been at the forefront of the rising standard and profile of Associate and Affiliate cricket around the world, and we look forward to watching the team in 2015 try to emulate and even better - its giant-killing performances of the 2007 and 2011 edition," he said.

In the 2007 World Cop, Ireland defeated Pakistan and Bangladesh, while in 2011, they recorded a heart-stopping victory over England.

Richardson added: "The WCL Championship provides great context to Associate and Affiliate cricket. With one team still to qualify from the WCL, the competition is wide open and any one of Scotland, Netherlands and Afghanistan can progress directly to the main event in Australia and Zealand in 18 months' time."

"The remaining six unsuccessful sides, along with Hong Kong, Nepal, Papua-New Guinea, and Uganda will have another opportunity to qualify for the 2015 event at the World Cup Qualifier 2014, which will be staged in New Zealand next year."

The 2015 World Cup will be Ireland's sixth global event, with the side having already competed in 2007 and 2011 edition, as well as the World Twenty20 in 2009, 2010 and 2012.

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