ICC announces groups for Men's T20 World Cup 2021.
On Friday, the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced the groups for the upcoming World T20 2021, scheduled to start on October 17. Much to the delight of cricket fans, India and Pakistan are placed in the same group for the super 12 stage of the tournament.
Here's a look at all important aspects revolving around the tournament.
Format: First-round matches followed by Super 12s
As many as eight teams will play the first-round matches, divided into two groups. Of the eight teams, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are automatic qualifiers, while the other six teams namely Ireland, Netherlands, Namibia, Scotland, Papua New Guinea and Oman sealed their spots in the 2019 qualifiers.
The eight teams are divided into two groups, namely Group A and Group B. Group A comprises Sri Lanka, Ireland, Netherlands and Namibia, while Group B has Bangladesh, Scotland, Papua New Guinea and Oman. The top two teams of each group will qualify for the Super 12s.
Super-12s: India and Pakistan pooled in the same group
The Super 12s will see the top 12 teams pooled into two groups, namely Group 1 and Group 2. For the unversed, the teams are divided on the basis of the team rankings as on March 20, 2021.
To the delight of cricket fans, both India and Pakistan are placed in the same group i.e., Group 2. They both would be facing each other after five long years in T20I. The last T20 match played between the two teams was back in 2016 at Eden Gardens, Kolkata during T20 World Cup.
The other four teams in the group are New Zealand, Afghanistan, and two first-round qualifiers- winners of Group B and the second-placed team of Group A. On the other hand, Group 1 consists of Australia, South Africa, West Indies, England and the other two teams of first-round qualifiers - winners of group A and the second-placed team of Group B.
Looking at both the groups, India are perhaps sitting in a relatively easier pool, with Pakistan, New Zealand and Afghanistan. But, on the other hand, Group 2 is a pool of death. India would perhaps be happy to be in Group 2 as Group 1 comprises four fierce T20 sides in England, South Africa, Australia and West Indies. You could expect some nail-biting encounters as far as Group 2 is concerned.
Group A: Sri Lanka, Ireland, the Netherlands and Namibia Group B: Bangladesh, Scotland, Papua New Guinea and Oman
Group 1: England, Australia, South Africa, West Indies, A1 and B2. Group 2: India, Pakistan, New Zealand, Afghanistan, A2 and B1.
Oman and UAE to co-host the World T20 2021
The World T20 2021 will be co-hosted by UAE and Oman. Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, and Dubai will host the Super-12 matches, while the first-round games will take place in Oman. Originally, the tournament was scheduled to take place in Australia in 2020. However, the COVID-19 pandemic led to the postponement of the event. Later, it was announced that India will host the 2021 T20 World Cup, with Australia hosting the 2022 edition. The uncertainty around the third wave of COVID-19 in India further led to the change in the venue of the tournament. Finally, the showpiece event is set to take place in UAE and Oman.
This will be the first time when both UAE and Oman will be staging an ICC multi-nation tournament in the history of the game. Given that a lot of cricket has been played in the UAE since the emergence of COVID-19, Oman has been chosen as the additional venue for the round-one matches of the tournament.
By doing this, the three stadiums in Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, and Dubai will be kept in readiness for the Super 12s. With Oman and UAE participating in the tournament, it would only help the nations develop more interest in the game.
The acting CEO of ICC, Geoff Allardice expressed his excitement over the big-ticket tournament, given the fact that it will be the first multi-nation global tournament hosted by ICC since the COVID-19 pandemic.
"There are some great match-ups 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," Geoff Allardice was quoted as saying by ESPN Cricinfo.
"Given the disruption caused by COVID-19, we selected the cut-off 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," he added.
BCCI president Sourav Ganguly is happy to involve Oman as one of the venues to stage the tournament as it will only help in the development of the game in the country. "It is good to get Oman in the frame of world cricket with the hosting of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup," Sourav Ganguly, the BCCI president, said.
"It will help a lot of young players take an interest in the game. We know it will be a world-class event in this part of the world," he added.
T20 World Cup 2021 Schedule yet to be announced
The schedule of the T20 World Cup 2021 is yet to be announced. The ICC is expected to announce the schedule for the 16-team tournament soon. The tournament will take place between October 17 and November 14, 2021.