Women’s World Cup Qualifier suspended amid new Covid-19 variant

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has called off the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2021 that was in Harare due to the imposition of travel restrictions on southern African countries, following the breakout of a new COVID-19 variant in southern Africa.

The tournament was scheduled to be played until 5 December to decide the final three spots for the Women’s World Cup in New Zealand next year.

Qualification places will now be decided based on team rankings.

This means that Bangladesh, Pakistan and West Indies will progress to next year’s tournament, with Sri Lanka and Ireland occupying the two remaining berths in the next 2022-25 cycle of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Women’s Championship.

Meanwhile the men’s one-day international series between the Netherlands and hosts South Africa has been postponed.

The decision to call off the event was made on Saturday, one day after the UK had added six countries – including Zimbabwe – to its travel red list.

Ireland had played two games in the competition and had been due to face Sri Lanka in their third and final group game on Monday.

Play in two of the three matches scheduled for Saturday – Zimbabwe v Pakistan and USA v Thailand – started as scheduled but the third fixture of the day, between West Indies and Sri Lanka, could not be staged as a member of the Sri Lanka team support staff tested positive for Covid-19.

“We are incredibly disappointed to have to cancel the remainder of this event but with travel restrictions from a number of African countries being imposed at such short notice, there was a serious risk that teams would be unable to return home,” said Chris Tetley, ICC head of events.

“We have explored a number of options to allow us to complete the event but it isn’t feasible and we will fly the teams out of Zimbabwe as soon as possible.

“Bangladesh, Pakistan and the West Indies will now qualify for the ICC Women’s World Cup 2022 by virtue of their rankings, whilst Sri Lanka and Ireland will also join them in the next cycle of the ICC Women’s Championship,” he added.


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