Of course, the two leading Associates were clear to everyone already: Ireland and Afghanistan, in that order. No matter how dazzlingly bright the future of Afghan cricket appears to be, the fact remains that Ireland are currently a better drilled and more professional outfit than their constant bridesmaids. For the other ODI-status teams, though, things were less than certain. The Dutch, Scottish, Canadians and Kenyans all went into the World Cup Qualifier with their status under threat.
Canada went into this tournament fairly resigned to losing their ODI status, and so it transpired. There were some bright spots for them, such as the performances of Raza ur-Rehman, but simply not often enough to make it count. They have a crop of young players who might be able to put things right, but it might prove to be an uphill struggle.
Namibia have been unfortunate enough to spend the last three cycles within one or two places of ODI status. Once more, though, they lacked the star quality to make it all the way to the zenith of the competition, despite the return of Gerrie Snyman from his exile from the national team. In the likes of van Schoor, Williams, Snyman, van der Westhuizen, Klazinga and Viljoen, the Namibians have some of the finest names in Associate cricket. Their problems are geographical and political, and have little to do with cricket. Unless they have the finances to either make it worthwhile for their amateur players to travel all the way to Windhoek, or else to spread the game significatly beyond the capital, then they will struggle to make that jump back into the world's top 16.
Papua New Guinea narrowly missed out on a World Twenty20 berth, but they found the 50-over format and Antipodean conditions to be far more to their liking. They fell agonisingly short of a World Cup berth, too, but they have achieved themselves ODI status, the first Pacific Associate to achieve this. They owe a great deal to the exploits of a virtually unknown (before the tournament) batsman, Lega Siaka. The 21-year-old entered the side with an almighty bang, blasting a brace of tons and an unbeaten half-century to get his nation through the group stage. Meanwhile, the big name in the side, ex-Test gloveman Geraint Jones, played almost no role at all in their clinching of ODI status. They may not yet be down for any global tournaments, but it seems only a matter of time.
The United Arab Emirates are far from the best-loved of cricketing nations, and have developed a reputation as something of a retirement scheme for ageing ex-pats. Khurram Khan fits that profile precisely, but there must be a fair few Full Members who would queue up to have him. His scores in this tournament: 21 vs Nepal, 88 vs Canada, 88 vs Scotland, 78 vs Hong Kong, 138 vs PNG, 85 v Kenya, and 49 v Namibia. Add to that his partnership-breaking spin and ageless fielding, as well as his inspirational leadership, and you get a player as worthy of admiration as any Associate or Affiliate cricketer at the moment. I wish him all the best for the final, and for the World Cup, by which time he will almost be 44 years of age.
Hong Kong have quietly put together a very strong side. The batting talents of Irfan Ahmed and Jamie Atkinson are formidable, while Haseeb Amjad has been the stand-out Associate bowler in the last few months. Gone, perhaps, are the days of the Asia Cup when Hong Kong were simply played off the park by more illustrious opposition. They should now put up a formidable fight.
Kenya put up an incredible fight to cling onto the ODI status that they've held for so long. Indeed, they managed to completely overturn the cricketing fortunes of another illustrious Associate on their way through the tournament. Eventually, though, they just couldn't string together the sort of disciplined performances required to maintain ODI status these days. A shame for players like Irfan Karim, who look very much at home at this level, but the main problems lie far away from the national team.
The Netherlands has just reached its biggest hurdle in a long, long time, but it has been looming for a while. As top players follow one another out of the side, it must be exceptionally difficult to stop the rot. It's something that Peter Drinnen and Jeroen Smits have both been unable to achieve, and have lost their jobs trying to do. What they were most dependent on, though, seemed to be the ODI funding that, on the back of one dodgy result against Kenya, has all disappeared.
Scotland entered the tournament with a big question mark hanging over them, and will finish it renewed and reinvigorated. Kyle Coetzer might have been pretty anonymous in New Zealand, but Preston Mommsen and Calum MacLeod have been anything but. MacLeod in particular has been a star turn, battering a Scottish-record 175 in the ODI against Canada, an innings which followed his 113 the innings before. Mommsen, meanwhile, has led the side with aplomb, and has found some impressive batting form. And they will not be displeased with the emergence of Freddie Coleman in the middle order either.