ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2023 - from West Indies’ heartbreak to a World Cup comeback for the Netherlands

The Netherlands and Sri Lanka qualified for the 2023 ICC Men's World Cup from the Qualifier. Two-time champions West Indies missed out.

Umaima Saeed
Umaima Saeed

Last Updated: 2023-10-24

Dillip Mohanty

The ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2023 marked the twelfth instalment of the Cricket World Cup Qualifier. Held in Zimbabwe during the months of June and July 2023, it served as the concluding event in the four-year journey taken by 32 teams to determine the teams for the 2023 Cricket World Cup. The tournament was hosted by Zimbabwe, who had also hosted the previous edition of the Qualifiers in 2018. 

Ten teams participated in the World Cup Qualifiers 2023 – the three best-performing teams from the 2019–23 Cricket World Cup League 2, the top two teams from the 2023 Cricket World Cup Qualifier Play-off, and the five lowest-ranked teams from the 2020–23 World Cup Super League. 

Ireland, Netherlands, Sri Lanka, West Indies, Nepal, Oman, Scotland, United Arab Emirates, United States, and hosts Zimbabwe were the ten teams that took part in the tournament.

The West Indies Heartbreak 

Sri Lanka and West Indies were the favourites in the Qualifiers. While Sri Lanka made it to the 2023 World Cup, West Indies did not. Before the Qualifiers, the West Indies beat UAE 3-0 in an ODI series in Sharjah, and drew 1-1 against South Africa.  But at the Qualifiers, the two-time ODI World Cup champions were unable to finish in the top two. West Indies finished fifth after losing to the Netherlands, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, and Scotland.

With two World Cup triumphs in 1975 and 1979, the West Indies firmly established their reputation as a formidable cricketing force. This team was once graced by the presence of iconic figures such as Sir Vivian Richards, Curtley Ambrose, Gary Sobers, Clive Lloyd, Chris Gayle, Ian Bishop and Brian Lara, who took West Indies cricket to remarkable heights.

The 2023 Cricket World Cup is the first time West Indies is not part of the tournament. The fearless batting and intimidating pace bowling once exhibited by the West Indies is now sorely missed by the fans. In a World Cup 2023 match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka in Hyderabad on October 10, a fan was seen carrying a poster which read, “We Miss You West Indies”

Miss You West Indies Poster in 2023 World Cup.jpeg

West Indies

World Cup 2023 Qualifiers

Date Venue Opponent ResultMargin
18 JuneHarareUSAWonBy 39 runs
22 JuneHarareNepalWon101 runs
24 JuneHarareZimbabweLostby 35 runs 
26 JuneHarareNetherlandsTied (Netherlands Won the Super Over)-
1 JulyHarareScotlandLostby 7 wickets
7 JulyHarareSri LankaLostby 8 wickets 
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Netherlands pip through three Full Member nations

As mentioned above, the Netherlands were not among the favourites to qualify for the 2023 World Cup. However, they now stand out as the only Associate nation in the tournament. The Dutch secured their spot at the 2023 World Cup by finishing ahead of three Full Members - Ireland, West Indies, and Zimbabwe.

 The last time the Netherlands participated in the ODI World Cup was in 2011. The 2023 World Cup, thus, marks their return to the tournament after 12 years. This is their fifth World Cup after making their debut in 1996, when they lost five matches. In the following editions in 2003, 2007, and 2011, they managed to win only two games in all. 


World Cup 2023 Qualifiers

20-JunHarareZimbabweLost6 Wkts
22-JunHarareUSAWon5 Wkts
24-JunHarareNepalWon7 Wkts
26-JunHarareWest IndiesTied (Netherlands Won the Super Over)-
30-JunHarareSri LankaLost21 Runs
03-JulHarareOmanWon74 Runs (DLS)
06-JulHarareScotlandWon4 Wkts
09-JulHarareSri LankaLost128 Runs
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The Netherlands beat Scotland in their final game of the World Cup Qualifier Super Six to grab a top-two finish and qualify for the 2023 World Cup. They did not just have to win over Scotland, but win by at least 32 runs, or finish their chase inside 44 overs. That looked difficult, as Scotland was the stronger team between the two. But Bas De Leede helped the Netherlands pull it off. Chasing 278 to win inside 44 overs, the Netherlands were helped by a century by Leede, who had earlier taken a fifer in the same game.

Not many expected the Netherlands to qualify for the 2023 World Cup. They won only three of the 24 ODIs they played at the World Cup Super League, finishing 13th in the points table. In the Qualifiers, they were without some of their big names - Fred Klaassen, Roelof van der Merwe, Colin Ackermann, Paul van Meekeren, Timm van der Gugten and Brandon Glover – all of whom missed the tournament due to county commitments. However, the Dutch side defied the odds to finish as one of the two best teams at the Qualifiers. Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe were the only teams to defeat the Netherlands side in the tournament. 

Sri Lanka’s dominance

Champions of the 1996 World Cup, two-time runners-up, one-time semi-finalists and one-time quarter-finalists, Sri Lanka have played every edition of the ODI World Cup since making their debut in 1975.

In the World Cup Super League, Sri Lanka won only seven of their 23 games, thus losing out on a direct qualification to the 2023 World Cup. Since the 2019 World Cup, they won only 18 of 42 completed ODIs, which eventually brought them to the Qualifiers in Zimbabwe. This is the first time they played a qualifying tournament to qualify for the ODI World Cup, and made sure that they made it to the quadrennial event in India.

They began their campaign with a 175-run win over the UAE, followed by a 10-wicket win over Oman, 133-run win over Ireland and an 82-run win over Scotland. In their first Super Six match, Sri Lanka defeated the Netherlands by 21 runs, and followed that with a nine-wicket win over Zimbabwe and an eight-wicket win over the West Indies. In the final, they beat the Netherlands by 128 runs, remaining undefeated throughout the tournament.

Recently, Sri Lanka were the runners-up at the Asia Cup, and will be looking to take confidence from their campaign heading into the World Cup. They are not one of the strongest teams in the event, but one that can spring up surprises. 

Umaima Saeed
Umaima SaeedSports Writer

Umaima Saeed is a professional sports writer whose articles have been featured in several leading websites. She writes long-form content on sports, particularly cricket. She has a penchant for telling human-interest stories. Umaima has contributed articles on cricket to more than a dozen publications, both in print and online.