Afghanistan have earned direct place in main group stage of ICC T20 World Cup 2020. Afghanistan cricket team will play in super 12 stage of international Twenty20 tournament, due to finishing on eighth position in ICC rankings on 2018 cut-off date of 31st December. This is remarkable fate for a cricket team who got full membership status of Icc just eighteen months back. Afghanistan had a red hot form in T20Is in 2018, winning all seven matches, with a 3-0 clean sweep of Bangladesh. This gives a moral boost to Afghanistan who are already part of ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 in England and Wales.
2014 ICC World T20 champions Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will participate in group stage. Zimbabwe and Ireland will have to compete in 14 team 2020 ICC T20 World Cup Qualifier. Top six teams from qualifier tournament will get berths in group stage of 2020 ICC T20 World Cup. Four teams from group stage will proceed to the main phase.
Lasith Malinga, skipper of three time WT20 finalists Sri Lanka is disappointed on missing direct entry in super 12 round. He expressed hope of good performance in opening round, to advance to main round.
Sri Lanka captain Lasith Malinga said: “It is a bit disappointing that we have not been able to ensure a direct Super 12s berth but I’m confident that we will do well in the tournament. Having played three finals and winning once, it is natural that everyone expected us to finish in the top-eight. But we have to take the opportunity in the extra matches of the group stage and prepare well for the knock-out matches. We have some fine players in the ranks and it is only a matter of doing our best when the time comes. We look forward to challenges coming our way as we prepare for the big event.”
Shakib Al Hasan, skipper of Bangladesh expressed faith in his team and players’ abilities to proceed to super 12 phase.
Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan stated: “We have not secured a direct Super 12s berth but I’m confident that we will do well in the tournament by going through the group stage. We are a side capable of beating the best on our day and I see no reason why we can’t go far in the tournament. There is still some time and we will use it to be at our best for the T20 World Cup. We won a T20 series against the West Indies, the world champions, in their backyard not so long ago. That performance has given us a lot of belief in our Twenty20 capabilities.”