The International Cricket Council (ICC) today on 16 July announced the groups for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 to be hosted by the BCCI in the United Arab Emirates and Oman from 17 October to 14 November.
The groupings: Surprisingly India and Pakistan are in the same group along with World Test Champions New Zealand and Afghanistan.
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.
India and Pakistan will meet in the Super 12s stage of the 2021 men’s T20 World Cup, to be co-hosted by the UAE and Oman between October 17 and November 14. This will make it the first face-off between the two teams in more than two years, their last fixture having come in the 2019 50-over World Cup.
The ICC did not unveil the schedule for the 16-team tournament, which is expected to be finalised shortly.
The first-round matches will be split between two groups, with the games to be played in the UAE and Oman. Group A has Sri Lanka, Ireland, Netherlands and Namibia, while Group B has Bangladesh, Scotland, Papua New Guinea and Oman.
The top two teams from each group will qualify for the Super 12s, which will be played in the three UAE centres – Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah.
Teams in the Super 12s have been pooled into two groups as well. India and Pakistan are in Group 2 alongside New Zealand, Afghanistan and two qualifiers – B1 and A2. Group 1 comprises defending champions West Indies along with England, Australia and South Africa and the other two qualifers – A1 and B2. The groups, the ICC confirmed, were selected on the basis of the team rankings as of March 20, 2021.
In the 2020 edition of the tournament, which was originally scheduled for Australia and was later postponed by the ICC because of the Covid-19 pandemic, India and Pakistan were in different groups because they were No. 1 and No. 2 in the ICC T20I rankings at the time of the deadline. That would have been the first time the two teams would not have contested in the group stage of a global tournament since the 2011 50-over World Cup.
This time, India are second behind England, and ahead of New Zealand, followed by Pakistan, Australia, South Africa, Afghanistan and West Indies.