The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Tuesday confirmed that the T20 World Cup 2021 will be staged in the UAE and Oman from October 17-November 14 due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation in India.
The BCCI will remain the hosts of the event, which will now be held in Dubai International Stadium, the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, the Sharjah Stadium, and the Oman Cricket Academy Ground. As reported earlier by Muscat Daily, the 16-team World Cup will be co-hosted by the UAE and Oman.
On Tuesday, the ICC confirmed that the eight-team first round (Qualifiers) will be split across two groups of four each. The two groups will be split between one of the venues in the UAE and Oman.
The Oman Cricket Academy Ground in Amerat near Muscat will be the venue of one group and it will include hosts Oman. The other teams in the group are Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka and Ireland. The ICC is expected to finalise the schedule soon.
The other four teams in the preliminary round are Bangladesh, Netherlands, Scotland and Namibia.
The top two from each group will progress to the Super 12s, joining the top-eight ranked T20I teams.
The Super 12s phase will comprise 30 matches. In the main round, teams will be split across two groups of six each, and will be played at three venues in the UAE – Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. This will be followed by three playoff games – the two semifinals and the final.
On Tuesday, Oman Cricket (OC) chief Pankaj Khimji, secretary Madhu Jesrani, board members and chief development officer Duleep Mendis cut a ceremonial cake to celebrate ICC’s announcement at the OC headquarters in Amerat.
Pankaj said, “It is indeed a great moment for Oman Cricket to be selected as a venue of the forthcoming T20 World Cup.We shall leave no stone unturned to exceed the requirements of BCCI and ICC. Oman will certainly extend a very warm welcome to all the teams, officials and media in October.”
Later, Pankaj told Muscat Daily that BCCI and ICC delegations are expected to make a visit to Muscat in the coming days and attempts will be made to convince them to award more first round games to Oman.
In a press statement, Geoff Allardice, ICC’s acting CEO, said that the global body was ‘incredibly disappointed’ that the World Cup would not be staged in India. “Our priority is to deliver the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 safely, in full and in its current window.”
“The decision gives us the certainty we need to stage the event in a country that is a proven international host of multi-team events in a bio-secure environment,” he added.
The BCCI had already moved the suspended Indian Premier League (IPL) to the UAE in September-October after the T20 tournament was halted on May 4 due to a number of players and team officials being infected with COVID-19.
BCCI chief Sourav Ganguly said, “The BCCI is looking forward to hosting the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 tournament in UAE and Oman. We would have been happier hosting it in India but considering the uncertainty due to the COVID-19 situation and the importance of a world championship, the BCCI will now continue to host this tournament in UAE and Oman. The BCCI is looking forward to creating a spectacle.”