Zayed Stadium
A general view of action during the third T20 International match between Pakistan and West Indies at Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi on September 27, 2016 Image Credit: WAM

The T20 World Cup is here: right here in the UAE and Oman. Never mind the five-year delay; COVID-19 had put the world on hold, including cricketing action. That’s also why the matches are organised in the UAE and Oman, although India are the hosts.

Games in the shortest format of cricket involve 16 leading countries. Eight of them face off in Round One, with four joining the eight top-ranked sides for the Super 12. Oman and Papua New Guinea will get the tournament underway when they clash in the Round One game in Al Amerat, Oman, on Sunday (October 17, 2021).

How the qualifiers work

Round One matches are in the UAE and Oman, with Sri Lanka, Ireland, Netherlands and Namibia playing each other in Group A. Bangladesh, Scotland, Papua New Guinea and Oman are in Group B. After 12 matches in Al Amerat in Oman, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi in the UAE, two teams from each group will advance to the Super 12s.

The Super 12s start on October 23 with England, Australia, South Africa and West Indies in Group 1. India, Pakistan, New Zealand and Afghanistan are in Group 2. After 30 matches in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah, two teams from each group will progress to the semifinals.

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The winners crowned on November 14 will walk away with a purse of $1.6 million (around Dh5.88 million). The runners-up get $800.000 (around Dh2.9 million), and the losing semi-finalists have to be satisfied with $400,000 (around 1.4 million) each.

Why are Sri Lanka and Bangladesh playing Round One games while newbies Afghanistan directly enter the Super 12? True, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have a better international record than Afghanistan and have beaten other cricketing heavyweights. But their T20 record is abysmal.

Why Sri Lanka and Bangladesh play qualifiers

Here’s how the T20 World Cup qualification works. India are the hosts; hence they qualify first. Seven other slots for the Super 12 went to the top teams in the 2018 T20 Internationals ranking. Sri Lanka and Bangladesh didn’t make the cut and have to go through the preliminaries.

But they will top their groups since their quality is way above the rest in Round One. So head over to Sharjah and Abu Dhabi to catch the action.