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Ireland begin Cup marathon against Namibia

Ireland will begin their 2011-13 Intercontinental Cup campaign with home matches against Namibia and Canada.

ICC yesterday announced an eight-team, round robin format for the sixth edition of the Associates four-day tournament, with Ireland desperate to regain the trophy they held from 2005 to 2008.

Dates have still to be confirmed — Cricket Ireland and Namibia are currently in negotiations — but it will take place sometime next month with the Canada match to follow in the second half of September.

There will be two one-day internationals between the teams played before or after all the I-Cup games and those results will go towards an ODI table which could be the forerunner of an official second division, with possible promotion to the Full members table. That is starting this year and taking place on a three-year cycle with the World Cup being played every fourth year.

As a result, this Intercontinental Cup will be played over 28 months with the last round of matches not taking place until September 2013 when Ireland are at home to Scotland.

The other provisional fixtures and dates are: Kenya v Ireland in March 2012, Ireland v Afghanistan (June/July 2012), UAE v Ireland (March/April 2013) and Netherlands v Ireland (July/August 2013).

Meanwhile, the NCU’s Twenty 20 Cup gets under way tonight with last year’s beaten finalists Muckamore one of the first four teams into action.

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Muckamore are in Group One this year and their opening match is at home to Section One side Cliftonville, who won the Twenty20 Shield last year, but lying in wait, and completing the three-team group, are league and senior Cup double winners North Down.

The other game tonight is at Stormont where Civil Service North host Downpatrick in Group Three, which is completed by Lisburn. Both games start at 6.15.

  • The Nedd reached 79 for three in 29 overs last night before bad light stopped play in their Northern Bank Senior Cup game against Limavady. The Senior Two team will need another 134 from 21 overs when the second round tie continues tonight.

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