The current edition of the T20 World Cup Global Qualifier will likely be the last of its kind for the current event since the qualifiers for the 2021 T20 World Cup will arrive directly from regional finals instead as opposed to global qualifiers. The 2021 event which will be held in India and will be replacing the Champions Trophy is arriving hard on heels on the back of the 2020 event and the ICC is hard-pressed to squeeze schedules in such a tight space. As a result, the ICC has decided to do away with the showpiece Associate tournament which has been a regular fixture on cricketing calendars since 2008.
The current qualification system dictates some 60 countries first contested 12 sub-regional tournaments, the first of which was held in Buenos Aires in February of last year, with the top teams progressing to five regional finals, from which seven teams went through to the global tournament to join hosts UAE together with the four qualifiers from the previous WT20 in 2016, with Nigeria coming in as replacements for suspended Zimbabwe. Six sides won through to claim their berths at the 2020 World Cup over the last week, with Ireland and Papua New Guinea winning their respective groups, the Netherlands and Namibia the qualifying quarter-finals, and Scotland and Oman claiming the final spots in the eliminator playoffs yesterday.
Under the proposed qualification system for 2021, those six sides will have a chance to secure their berths at the 2021 World Cup by winning through to the Super 12s stage at the 2020 edition. The six teams will join Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in a preliminary qualifying round split across two groups, with the top two from each joining the top eight teams in the Super 12s and guaranteeing qualification for 2021, with the remaining four droppings back to regional qualification. In effect, the system also guarantees the eight full member sides already in the Super 12s exemption from any form of qualification for 2021, with only four qualification spots on offer for 2021.
The lack of a global qualification scenario will leave four spots vacant which will be then filled up by teams from ICC’s five different regions: Asia, Europe, Africa, Americas, and East Pacific. With the latter two regions traditionally the weakest, the Americas and EAP finals will likely be combined to determine one qualifier, with each of the remaining regions awarded one slot.
The system would naturally disadvantage those sides from the stronger regions, with European countries potentially having to best Scotland, the Netherlands and Ireland to claim the single European berth, whilst the Asia final might potentially see Nepal, Oman, the UAE and Singapore, and even Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, all chasing a single spot. Conversely, the Americas region currently has no sides ranked in the top 20, potentially giving Canada or the United States a comparatively easy run, whilst should Papua New Guinea make the Super 12s stage in Australia the East Asia Pacific region’s next best side is the 46th-ranked Philippines.