India-Pakistan and Australia-England are two of the major contests locked in as the International Cricket Council (ICC) has confirmed the draws for this year’s T20 World Cup scheduled for October-November in UAE and Oman.
Two preliminary groups and the two Super 12 groups were finalised by the governing body on Friday (July 16). Sri Lanka, Ireland, Netherlands and Namibia are part of the preliminary round Group A, with Bangladesh, Scotland, Papua New Guinea and Oman forming Group B in the initial stage.
🚨 The #T20WorldCup Round 1 Groups are announced
— CricXtasy (@CricXtasy) July 16, 2021
Two teams from each of the two preliminary round groups will join the respective Super 12 groups, where the semi-finalists will be decided.
The Super 12 round sees top teams divided into Group 1 and Group 2. England, Australia, South Africa and West Indies are part of Group 1, while India, Pakistan, New Zealand and Afghanistan form the Group 2.
🚨 #T20WorldCup Super 12 groups announced with India and Pakistan slotted together in Group 2.
— CricXtasy (@CricXtasy) July 16, 2021
India to take on Afghanistan, New Zealand apart from Pakistan in T20 World Cup Group 2
“We are delighted to announce the groups for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021. 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,” ICC acting CEO Geoff Allardice said in a media release.
“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.”
A detailed itinerary for the competition running from October 17 till November 14 is expected to be disclosed in the coming weeks.
The T20 World Cup 2021 was originally due to take place in India but had to be moved outside to the Middle East recently amid the COVID-19 threat.
“We have officially intimated the ICC that the T20 World Cup can be shifted to the United Arab Emirates,” Ganguly had told PTI on June 28, after which the ICC confirmed the shifting of the tournament to UAE AND Oman.
The ICC gave BCCI a given a four-week window in early June to determine whether it safely host the T20 World Cup in India or not, with the pandemic and its predicted third wave posing a major obstacle.
And after assessing the level of threat, Ganguly & co wrote officially to the governing body, expressing their concerns over the teams and players’ health safety in India. Independent of where the T20 World Cup is held, however, the ICC confirmed that the BCCI will remain its host.
“With the announcement of groupings, our countdown for the ICC T20 World Cup kickstarts,” said Shah. “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.”
The UAE will also host the remaining portion for the IPL 2021 after it was suspended during its traditional window in early May due to a cluster of COVID-19 positive cases inside different teams’ bubbles in Delhi and Ahmedabad.
The IPL 2021 will be held just prior to the T20 World Cup, resulting in a cramped two-month window from September to November where Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah will be hosting a total of at least 60 back to back games.
Aware of the potential impact of such a busy calendar on surfaces, the ICC and BCCI identified the Oman Cricket Academy Ground to provide some important breather in-between the IPL 2021 and Super 12s of the T20 World Cup. Oman will host the entire preliminary round of the T20 World Cup, allowing the rest of the event to go ahead in a caravan system, which is expected to be in play during the IPL 2021 also.