After much speculation, the 2021 edition of the ICC men’s T20 World Cup will take place from October 17 in UAE and Oman with the Board of Cricket Control India (BCCI) remaining official hosts of the event.
The matches will take place across four venues – the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, the Dubai International Stadium, the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, and the Oman Cricket Academy Ground in Muscat. The 16-team event is set to be played from October 17 to November 14.
The BCCI had asked the ICC in early June for an extension to decide on the venue due to the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic situation in India, where the tournament was originally slated to be held.
However, with the plan to host the event in India hitting a roadblock, the BCCI decided to move the tournament to UAE and Oman, the former also set to host the remainder of the Indian Premier League’s 2021 edition that was suspended in May after a few positive tests among players.
“The BCCI made every effort to stage the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in India and provide its passionate fans with a reason to cheer after a long period of gloom,” Jay Shah, the BCCI secretary, had said in a statement.
Oman will be hosting an ICC event of this scale for the first time. They are also one of the teams set to play the qualifier round.
The IPL, which has players from all over the world, is now scheduled to be played until mid-October (September 19 to October 15, according to a recent report on ESPNCricinfo) according to BCCI’s updated plan. This would mean that the T20 World Cup, which would start with the qualifier round, begins within a week of the IPL 2021 finals.
The tightly packed schedule also means that players who are in the IPL and also represent their national teams in the T20 World Cup are likely to shift from bio-bubble to the other. The logistics are still being worked out.
Despite the last ditch arrangements, the format of the tournament remains pretty much similar. The eight main teams that will play the Super 12 round are hosts India, Australia, England, New Zealand, South Africa, West Indies, Pakistan and Afghanistan. These are the top eight ranked teams in the ICC T20I team rankings.
In the qualifier round are ICC full members Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Ireland alongside five associate nations – Oman, Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Namibia and Scotland.
The qualifier round will see these eight teams pit into two groups from which the top four qualifies to the Super 12 to join the main eight teams. The Super 12 will be played from October 24 and will have 30 matches in all. The two semi-finals and the final will then decide the winner of the title.
The last edition of the T20 World Cup was held in India in 2016 and West Indies are the current defending champions.
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