JOHANNESBURG: Canada, Ireland, Kenya and Netherlands will represent the minnows of cricket at the 2011 World Cup after a thrilling climax to the qualifiers Friday.
Ireland and Canada occupied the top two places on the final World Cup Qualifier Super 8 standings despite losing their final mini-league games while Kenya and Netherlands triumphed to snatch the other top-four places.
Kenya upset Ireland by six wickets in Pretoria thanks to undefeated knocks from Collins Obuya (66) and Thomas Odoyo (50), who stabilised an innings in trouble at 96-4 with Regan West claiming two wickets.
Niall O'Brien (59) and John Mooney (34) were the only significant run getters as Ireland reached 208-9 in their alloted 50 overs, a target Kenya overtook with 12 balls to spare.
The Irish clinched their place Wednesday, leaving the other seven survivors fighting for three places at the quadrennial showcase of international one-day cricket.
The Canadians fared poorly with the bat against Netherlands in Johannesburg and only Sandeep Jyoti (46) passed the 40-run mark against an attack in which Eric Szwarczynski and Mudassar Bukhari grabbed two wickets each.
Bukhari was even deadlier with the bat, contributing 84 to a 167-run opening stand with Alexei Kervezee (77) before both departed within eight runs to trigger a mini-collapse.
Sunil Dhaniram (3-38) was the only bowler to enjoy success for Canada, who suffered a major blow last week when injury ruled star batsman John Davison out of the tournament.
There was some consolation for fairytale contenders Afghanistan as they came sixth behind Scotland, giving both ODI status for the next four years and automatic entry to the 2009-2010 Intercontinental Cup.
Afghanistan completed their Super 8 fixtures with a 21-run win over Namibia in Krugersdorp while Scotland clicked after a series of dismal displays to defeat United Arab Emirates by 122 runs in Benoni.
The Emirates finished seventh and Namibia last on the standings.
Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka will stage the World Cup during February and March 2011 after co-hosts Pakistan were dropped by the International Cricket Council Friday for security reasons.