ICC T20 World Cup 2021: India to face arch-rivals Pakistan in group stage
The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Friday announced the groups for the Men's T20 World Cup 2021 to be hosted by the BCCI in Oman and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from October 17 to November 14. Arch-rivals India and Pakistan have been placed in Group 2 of the Super 12s. This will see the two teams clash in the group stages of the showpiece event.
The groups, selected on the basis of team rankings as of March 20, 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.
With the team wanting to test themselves in a practice game rather than two intra-squad games before the series gets underway, the BCCI spoke to the ECB and the same has been worked out
Group 2 will comprise of 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.
"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," said ICC Acting Chief Executive Geoff Allardice in a 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," he added.
BCCI Secretary Jay Shah said: "With the announcement of groupings, our countdown for the ICC T20 World Cup kickstarts. 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.
"I am particularly delighted to be in Oman. As a major force in world cricket, the BCCI has always endeavoured to promote and assist Associate Nations. In my capacity as Asian Cricket Council President, my vision is to take cricket far and deep into Asia. Co-hosting the World Cup will put Oman Cricket on the global stage. They are also playing the Qualifiers and it will be an icing on the cake if they make it to the Super 12s."
BCCI President Sourav 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."
Oman Cricket Chairman, Pankaj Khimji said: "Oman Cricket has come a long way and today is a watershed moment for us to have ICC and BCCI here at Oman Cricket Academy to announce the ICC Men's T20 World Cup groups! Playing in and hosting the event gives us an opportunity to showcase not just our commitment to growing the game but also showcasing Oman as a welcoming destination to the world!".