Defending champions England and India have been placed in the same preliminary group for next year’s World Twenty20 tournament in Sri Lanka.
A yet-to-be determined qualifier will be the third team in group A, the International Cricket Council announced at the tournament launch in Colombo earlier on Wednesday.
Australia, West Indies and a qualifier are drawn in group B, hosts Sri Lanka, South Africa and Zimbabwe in group C and Pakistan, New Zealand and Bangladesh in group D.
The top two teams from each group will qualify for the Super Eights round, which will also be contested in two pools with the first two in each pool then advancing to the semi-finals.
The two-yearly tournament in cricket’s shortest format will be played from September 18 to October 7, with Hambantota holding three matches, Pallekele nine and capital Colombo 15. The Premadasa stadium in the Sri Lankan capital will hold the semi-finals on Oct 4 and 5 and the final on Oct 7.
The two qualifiers will be determined through a separate competition between non-Test nations to be held in the United Arab Emirates from March 13-24.
Meanwhile, the eight-nation women’s tournament will run from Sept 26 to Oct 7 with the league matches in Galle, and the semi-finals and final in Colombo on the same days and at the same venue as the men’s knock-out matches.
ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat was confident the tournament will be as successful as the three previous editions in South Africa (2007), England (2009) and the West Indies (2010). “The ICC World Twenty20 is now a marquee event in Twenty20 cricket where nations face each other for the most coveted title in the shortest format of the game,” he said.
“Nothing beats nation-versus-nation contests and when these battles take place in the newest, sharpest and quickest form of the game, you can feel the excitement in fans. Following the legacies and success of the World Cup, I am confident that Sri Lanka will deliver another world-class event.”
Lorgat said it was significant the men’s and women’s knock-out games be played on the same dates at one venue. “Those match days provide a great setting for both the men’s and women’s game,” he said.