The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Friday announced the two groups for the T20 World Cup 2021 scheduled in the UAE in October. The format for the World Cup will include a qualification Round 1 phase for 8 teams, followed by the Super 12s. The corresponding teams for both, Round 1 and the main event, have been divided into two equal groups, and the teams will play a round-robin within the groups.
Qualification Round 1:
Group A: Sri Lanka, Ireland, Netherlands, Namibia
Group B: Bangladesh, Scotland, Papua New Guinea, Oman
The top two from each of the Round 1 groups will qualify for the main draw – Super 12s. While Sri Lanka and Ireland will start favorites from Group A, Bangladesh is likely to top their Group early on. One could witness a closely fought contest for the second spot in Group B with Scotland, PNG, and Oman all capable of creating a buzz on their day. Promotion to the main draw will also give the teams a great boost and guaranteed 5 more games to test themselves at the highest level.
ICC Acting Chief Executive Geoff Allardice: “We are delighted to announce the groups for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021. There are some great matchups offered by the groups and it starts to bring the event to life for our fans as our first multi-team event since the onset of the global pandemic draws closer.
“Given the disruption caused by COVID-19, we selected the cutoff date as close as possible to the event to ensure we were able to include the maximum amount of cricket in the rankings which determine the groups. There is no doubt we will witness some highly competitive cricket when the event gets underway in just three months.”
Group 1: England, Australia, South Africa, West Indies, Winner of Group A, Runners-up of Group B
Group 2: India, Pakistan, New Zealand, Afghanistan, Runners-up of Group A, Winners of Group B
The groups, selected on the basis of team rankings as of 20 March 2021, see defending champions the West Indies pooled along with former champions England, Australia, and South Africa in Group 1 of the Super 12s, with two qualifiers from Round 1 joining them. Safe to be called a ‘Group of Death’, each one of the four teams is capable of going deep into the tournament. From the T20 super-stars in Gayle, Russell, and company to the world’s greatest in Stokes, Finch, etc., Group 1 is likely to remain a hub of intense cricketing action right through the course of the T20 World Cup 2021.
Meanwhile, the other group will consist of the arch-rivals India and Pakistan alongside New Zealand, Afghanistan, and the other two qualifiers. While it would be expected that India and New Zealand will come on top of this group, a twist in the tale can not be neglected. Both Pakistan and Afghanistan possess enough talent and skill up their sleeves to create upsets and even one could lead to havoc in the points table overall. Especially given that UAE has been home to Pakistan and Afghanistan cricket in the recent past, they will be more aware of the conditions. The likely inclusion of Bangladesh in this group could also stir up a close-knit contest.
T20 World Cup 2021 schedule to be announced soon:
ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 will be hosted by the BCCI in Oman and the United Arab Emirates from 17 October to 14 November. The schedule for the same will be out soon but the organizers are thrilled to have brought Oman into the hosting frame.
BCCI Secretary Jay Shah: “With the announcement of groupings, our countdown for the ICC T20 World Cup kickstarts. There is nothing that separates the two groups as both are packed with sides that are highly competitive in the shortest format of the game. Having said that, the exciting T20 format is known for its surprises, and we must be prepared for the same. I am sure we will witness some exciting and nail-biting games
“I am particularly delighted to be in Oman. As a major force in world cricket, the BCCI has always endeavored to promote and assist Associate Nations. In my capacity as Asian Cricket Council President, my vision is to take cricket far and deep into Asia. Co-hosting the World Cup will put Oman Cricket on the global stage. They are also playing the Qualifiers and it will be an icing on the cake if they make it to the Super 12s.”