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The battle for the last five berths for the 2007 cricket World Cup begins when 12 countries compete in the ICC (International Cricket Council) Trophy, a qualifying tournament, in Ireland next month.
The five qualifiers will join the 10 Test playing nations and Kenya, the only country that enjoys a special one-day international status, in the World Cup in the West Indies in early 2007.
For the July 1-13 ICC Trophy, the 12 competing countries, who are basically non-Test playing nations but are the best of the second-grade teams, have been divided into two groups of six each.
Apart from the four semi-finalists, the fifth qualifier will be the winner of the playoff between the third and fourth teams in Group A and Group B.
Group A consists of Bermuda, Denmark, Ireland, Uganda, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the US. Group B comprises Canada, Namibia, Oman, Papua New Guinea and Scotland.
In Group A, hosts Ireland have a strong line up and boast of impressive form displayed over the past few seasons. They achieved a record-breaking 10 successive wins in 2003 and 2004.
They will be boosted by the presence of Middlesex's Edmund Joyce, the first county cricketer to reach 1,000 runs in the ongoing English county season.
The UAE have a record of surprising higher rated teams. They played in the 1996 World Cup after winning the 1994 ICC Trophy in their first attempt.
The experience of playing in the 1996 World Cup would have done them a world of good.
Batsman Arshad Ali and fast bowler Ali Assad Abbas, who was the leading wicket taker in the ICC Intercontinental Cup last year, are players to watch out for.
In Group B, Canada are strong contenders with the tag of being the only team in the tournament to have won a match in the World Cup, beating Bangladesh in the 2003 tournament.
Captain John Davidson is the trump card in the Canadian line up and fans and supporters alike would be hoping that he would go on to repeat of his magical 67-ball century against the West Indies.
Defending champions Holland also have a strong outfit and are currently coached by the legendary former Australia captain Bobby Simpson.
They have also achieved victories against England and the West Indies in the 1990s and had also qualified for the both the 1996 and the 2003 World Cups.