2014 World T-20 – New Format
I am glad to see a new format being implemented in ICC World T-20 coming edition. There are plus-es and minus-es of every format but I guess the new format raises the probability of the right teams to play in the semis as well as gets rid of redundant matches.
In 2012 edition of World T-20, Ireland complained that they got only a couple of matches and one of it was actually abandoned. The complain from India and New Zealand was that they were too close but eventually missed out on the semifinal berth. I am not sure whether or how much the new format tackles the latter, but I am sure it addresses the former one.
In the new format, six teams from the qualifier will join Bangladesh and Zimbabwe (last two places in World T-20 2012) to play in first round. Popular media is terming this as a qualifier but this will be a part of the main tournament with the fact that top 8 teams from the previous T-20 World Cup will escape it. In the second part, which will be played in round robin league format, two of the teams from round one will join eight others and form two groups of five each. After this, probably usual semifinal and final will be played among top two of these five member groups.
This will provide an opportunity for the Associate and Affiliate nations to rub their shoulders with lower ranked teams from previous version of World T-20. The first round will probably played in two groups and each of the last two finishers in last edition will be placed in each of one groups. Let’s go over the situation in a bit details -
Qualifier – As usual. Let’s assume the six qualified teams are – Ireland, Afghanistan, Namibia, Netherlands, Scotland and Canada. (Going by 2012 edition of Qualifiers)
Full Teams - West Indies, Sri lanka, Australia, Pakistan, India, England, New Zealand, South Africa, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe (ranked based on position and net run rate in 2012 World T-20)
Preliminary Round -
Group A – Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Namibia, Canada (Team9 with Qual2,3,6)
Group B – Zimbabwe, Ireland, Netherlands, Scotland (Team10 with Qual1,4,5)
Let’s assume Bangladesh and Zimbabwe move to second round.
Group A – West Indies, Pakistan, India, South Africa, Bangladesh (Team 1,4,5,8,9)
Group B – Sri lanka, Australia, England, New Zealand, Zimbabwe (Team 2,3,6,7,10)
Semifinal and Final.
So, straightway, Ireland is getting 3 matches with an opportunity to get to the second stage winning probably just one crucial match (against Zimbabwe).
Total matches – 12 in Prelims, 20 in second round and 3 in deciders. (Previously, 12 in prelims, 12 in super eight and 3 in deciders), i.e. 35 matches. I have seen news reports talking about a 35 match format.
I came across Bangladesh cricket fans not satisfied with this new arrangement mostly because Bangladesh will have to walk on tight rope against Afghanistan (possible next challenge in Prelims) and might be actually out of the tournament in case they lose it. However, I am convinced after seeing both teams (and Ireland too) that Bangladesh should have an easy win (so is Zimbabwe) at home soil. The Associate and Affiliate teams are still not up to the mark in the T-20 matches. However, after 2016, when the tournament will take place somewhere outside of subcontinent, things might change. But by 2018 the formats could change too.
The India-like situation (India lost one match and were out of semis) will less likely to happen in this new format given there are five teams instead of four in the revised format group stages. The same way, two tied-matches will less likely to impact semifinal chances (NZ like situation).