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Look Ahead to the 2022 ICC T20 World Cup

What is the ICC T20?

The International Men's Cricket T20 World Cup, or ICC World Twenty20 as it is known, is a cricket tournament that is held once every two years and is played by the top international teams in the world. The tournament currently comprises 16 teams, but the ICC announced that from 2024 the selection will be expanded to 20 teams.

The format of the fixtures are Twenty20 cricket, where the teams have 20 overs and 10 wickets in which they have to score more runs than their opponents. Twenty20 matches are a newly introduced variant of cricket which is much shorter than the one day internationals, or ODI, and test cricket, which lasts up to 5 days. This format usually lasts about 80 minutes per innings and there is a one and a half hour interval between the innings of either side, providing cricket fans with a very fast and dramatic match.

The T20 World Cup was established in 2007, and is played currently between the 12 ICC full members who qualify automatically, as well as 4 other teams that can qualify through the T20 World Cup Qualifier rounds. As of 2022, Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the West Indies are the only teams to have qualified for every single edition.

T20 Qualifications and Tournament Structure

The teams that play in the T20 include the host nation and the 11 top ICC teams from the previous competition (excluding the hosts). There are a further 4 berths that can be secured through the Global Qualifier A and Global Qualifier B paths. These qualifiers include teams that are recognised by the ICC member sides across the world, and both groups include 8 teams that are split into two groups of four. The teams play in a single match robin round against the other teams in the competition, and then the top two teams in either group proceed to the semi-finals while the bottom two teams play in the consolation playoffs. These playoffs determine the order in which the teams finish in the qualifiers, and the top two teams from each Qualifier then secure places in the competition proper.

The competition begins with a first playoff round between the 4 lowest ranking teams that secured automatic berths as well as the 4 teams that secured places in the competition through the qualifiers. These teams are split into two groups of four, where they play in a single match robin round against the other teams in the group. The winners and runners up of either group then enter the Super 12 round, where the 4 teams join the 8 other teams that qualified automatically. These 12 teams are split into two groups of six, and they play in a single fixture robin round, and the winners and runners up of both groups then proceed to the knockout stage.

The knockout stage starts with the semi-finals, where the 4 teams are paired and play a single match to determine which players proceed to the finals. The final is the last game of the competition, and the winner becomes the new T20 World Cup champion.

T20 Popularity

As mentioned before, the Twenty20 format of cricket is a shortened version of the game. It was introduced in 2003 by the England and Wales Cricket Board for inter-country competitions. Each game lasts about three hours, making it a far more accessible version of cricket for those who are not familiar with the game. Though it may have upset some of the cricket purists, to whom the test series are the best version of the sport and have called the one day cricket "pyjama cricket" on account of the players not wearing the traditional whites used in the longer forms of the game, the Twenty20 cricket matches quickly became popular in many circles. The timespan of each game is much closer to many other popular sports, and therefore it could attract fans from non-traditional cricketing countries such as the USA, Germany, Canada, and so on.

T20 World Cup Winners

The T20 World Cup was inaugurated in 2007, and was played between 12 teams that were divided into four groups of three, where the two teams that came first in the group proceeded to the Super 8s, where the 8 teams were divided into two groups of four. The winners and runners up of either group advanced to the semi-finals, and then the winners of the semi-finals proceeded to the finals. This debut competition featured the teams of Bangladesh, the West Indies, Australia, New Zealand, England, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Scotland and the hosts South Africa. India won the competition after beating Pakistan by 5 runs.

The following competition was held in 2009 and was hosted by England. The competition was played between 12 teams including debuts from Ireland and the Netherlands. Pakistan reached their second successive final and won against Sri Lanka. The Sri Lanka team won the toss and opted to bat first, but they could only reach 138 runs in the 20 overs, and the Pakistani team then managed to achieve 139 runs in 18.4 overs with 8 wickets left.

The West Indies hosted the 2010 T20 World Cup, which comprised 12 teams including the debut of the Afghanistan team. England won the competition when they beat Australia by 7 wickets. Australia batted first and though they started poorly, with a score of 8 for 3, they managed to make a total of 147 runs. England then batted, and reached 148 for 3, with 3 overs to spare, winning their first T20 World Cup.

The competition in 2012 was supposed to be the first to be expanded to 16 teams, but in the end it was played in the 12 team format. It was hosted in Sri Lanka, the first time the competition was held in an Asian country. This was the first competition where the hosts made the knockout stage, and they proceeded to the finals after beating Australia. Sri Lanka was ultimately beaten in the finals by the West Indies, when they were all bowled out after 18.4 overs with 101 runs to the West Indies' 137.

The 2014 edition of the T20 World Cup was hosted by Bangladesh, and it was the first competition to feature 16 teams. The first stage was played between the lower ranking ICC members and the teams that secured a place for the competition through qualifiers. 8 teams were split into two groups of four, and the winners of the group advanced to the Super 10 round, where they joined the 8 remaining teams and were split into two groups of five. The winners and runners up of either group progress to the semi-finals and the winners of that stage proceed to the finals. The three teams that made their debuts in the 2014 T20 World Cup were Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates and Nepal. Sri Lanka played India in the finals, and beat them by 6 wickets, winning their second World Cup title.

In 2016, India hosted the T20 World Cup and this competition was also played between 16 teams, with the inclusion of debutants Scotland and Oman. The host nation managed to reach the semi-finals, but were beaten by the West Indies, who went on to beat England in the finals. The West Indies team won the toss and elected to bowl first, and England made a high score of 155 runs from 20 overs. The West Indies team then had to try to catch up, and they managed to reach their target with a mere two balls to spare, winning their second T20 World Cup.

The 2021 T20 World Cup was held in the United Arab Emirates and Oman. This competition saw the debuts of Namibia and Papua New Guinea, and the competition structure was slightly altered to favour the lower ranking teams. The first round comprised 8 teams that were split into two groups of four, but in this edition the best two teams from either group advanced to the next stage. The next stage was the Super 12, where the 4 teams that won the first round then joined the 8 remaining teams and were split into two groups of six. The winners and runners up in either group then qualified for the knockout stage which comprised the semi-finals and finals. Australia won the 2021 T20 World Cup when they beat New Zealand in one of the most exciting finals. The New Zealand team batted first and made a huge total of 172 runs, the record number of runs set in a final. The Australian team then managed to make a total of 173 runs with 7 balls to spare, winning their first T20 World Cup.


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