Ireland have been drawn in the same group as Scotland in the qualifying tournament for next year’s World Twenty20.
Only the top two from the 16-team tournament, to be held in the UAE from March 13-24, will join the 10 Full Members at the finals in Sri Lanka in September/October but as top seeds in Group B, Ireland are favourites to reach the finals for the third successive time.
Last year, they lost to Afghanistan in the final of the qualifying tournament and the teams are seeded to meet again on Thursday March 22 with the winners guaranteed a place in the finals. The losers have a second chance to qualify for Sri Lanka against the winners of cross-over games between the second and third teams in the groups.
Ireland’s campaign will start against Namibia and their other group opponents are Kenya, the United States and Uganda.
Four of Ireland’s seven group games will have 9am starts, including two, against Italy and Oman, to be played in Abu Dhabi.
The winners of the qualifying tournament go into a group with Australia and the West Indies while the other qualifier will face holders England and India.
Ireland’s group fixtures: March 13 v Namibia (Dubai GCA, 9am); March 14 v Kenya (Dubai Sports City, 9am); March 15 v Italy (Abu Dhabi, 9am); March 16 v USA (Dubai GCA, 3pm); March 18 v Scotland (Dubai Sports City, 3pm); March 19 v Uganda (Dubai GCA, 3pm); March 20 v Oman (Abu Dhabi, 9am).