India and Pakistan have been drawn together as the International Cricket Council today announced the groups for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 to be hosted by the BCCI in Oman and the United Arab Emirates from 17 October to 14 November.
India were originally meant to host the event but it had been moved to the UAE and Oman, with the Board of Control for Cricket in India still holding the rights.
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.
Group 2 will comprise former champions India and Pakistan, New Zealand, Afghanistan and the other two qualifiers from Round 1.
Eight teams will contest the first round including automatic qualifiers Sri Lanka and Bangladesh with the remaining six who booked their spot through the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier 2019. Ireland, Netherlands and Namibia join Sri Lanka in Group A, whilst Oman, PNG and Scotland will face Bangladesh in Group B.
The venues for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 are Dubai International Stadium, the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, the Sharjah Stadium, and the Oman Cricket Academy Ground. The tournament schedule will be announced in due course, ICC said in their statement..
“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 Chief Executive Geoff Allardice said.
“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.”
Allardice unveiled the draws in Muscat hours after the BCCI top officials – president Sourav Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah – arrived in the city.
Ganguly, said, “It is good to get Oman in the frame of world cricket with the hosting of the ICC men’s T20 World Cup. 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.”
Shah added, “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.”
This will be the first T20 World Cup since 2016 when West Indies beat England in the final in Kolkata