With an increased number of teams and a fresh format, the 2024 version of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup is set to unveil new match-ups and significant moments in history.
After the recent outcomes in the Africa Qualifier, the 20 teams participating in the tournament have been finalised. Namibia and Uganda secured the last two berths, joining six other teams that successfully navigated through regional qualifying rounds.
Format of the competition
As hosts, alongside the West Indies, the event will be a groundbreaking occasion for the USA, marking their first global tournament appearance since the Champions Trophy in 2005.
The 2024 tournament will feature a 20-team format divided into two stages before the knockout phase, albeit different from the First Round/Super 12 arrangement seen in the 2021 and 2022 editions.
The top two teams from each of the four groups of five will progress to a Super Eights phase, where the remaining sides will be divided into two groups of four. The top two from each group will then advance to the semi-finals.
Qualification for the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2024 varied for each team. The West Indies and the USA secured the first two spots as hosts. Following that, team performances at the 2022 edition and rankings before the November 14 cutoff determined the subsequent 10 spots.
The top eight teams in Australia (top four in each Super 12 group) earned places for the 2024 tournament. Additionally, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, being the next highest-ranking teams on the ICC Men’s T20I Team Rankings as of November 14, 2022, also secured positions.
The remaining eight spots for the 2024 tournament were decided through regional qualifiers.
In contrast to the Global Qualifier format, the 2024 tournament placed added importance on regional matches to finalize the remaining spots.
Africa, Asia, and Europe each secured two qualification spots, while the Americas and East-Asia Pacific regions clinched one spot each.
Qualifying teams: Namibia and Uganda
Despite Zimbabwe's strong start in the T20 World Cup 2022, they couldn't maintain their momentum and had to return to regional qualification, a critical juncture that led to disastrous consequences.
Namibia, who couldn't progress past the First Round in the 2022 global tournament, made a comeback in the Africa Qualifier by winning their initial five matches, securing their spot with a game to spare.
Under Gerhard Erasmus, the Eagles defeated Zimbabwe on the opening day. Zimbabwe faced another setback with a shocking loss to Uganda.
Uganda emerged as the surprise sensation of the Africa Region Qualifier. They surprised Zimbabwe and also overcame their regional rivals Kenya, amassing 10 points from six games and securing a top-two finish, consequently earning a ticket to the global event next year.
Qualifying team: Canada
With the USA missing out on automatic qualification, Canada emerged as the top contenders for the Americas spot. However, they faced stiff competition from Bermuda in the Qualifier.
After rectifying their net run rate following an unexpected 86-run defeat to Bermuda at the start of the tournament, Saad Bin Zafar's team only needed to defeat Bermuda in their second encounter on the final day. Canada scored 132/4 from 18 overs in a rain-shortened match, ultimately winning by 39 runs.
This will mark Canada's debut appearance in the Men's T20 World Cup, although the nation has prior global tournament experience in the 50-over Cricket World Cup, appearing first in 1979 before qualifying for the 2003, 2007, and 2011 events.
Qualifying teams: Nepal, Oman
Arguably the most fiercely contested regional qualifiers in terms of talent, Nepal and Oman emerged victorious from the Asia Qualifier held in late October and early November.
Oman laid the groundwork early in the regional finals by defeating Nepal to top the group, leading to a semi-final clash with Bahrain, whom they defeated with a convincing 10-wicket win.
On the other hand, Nepal faced a tougher path, needing to secure a victory against UAE in their qualification decider. Despite UAE setting a challenging score of 134/9 on a sluggish Mulpani pitch, Aasif Sheikh's 64* from 51 balls ensured Nepal's qualification.
The loss to UAE was a bitter pill to swallow for Nepal, considering they had the chance for automatic qualification in the 2022 T20 World Cup but failed to progress to the Super 12 stage, hoping to finish among the top four in one of the groups.
This will be Nepal's second appearance in a T20 World Cup, having participated in the first round in 2014, and the third appearance for Oman after playing in 2016 and 2021, with the latter being a co-hosted event.
Qualifying team: Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea displayed dominance on their home turf at Amini Park in Port Moresby, winning all six matches to secure their place alongside the USA and West Indies.
PNG showcased their authority with a commanding nine-wicket victory over Vanuatu on the first day, chasing down 72 runs in just 6.3 overs. They continued their success with a 117-run win over the Philippines, boosting their net run rate.
A win against second-placed Japan provided them with a comfortable lead going into the latter part of the week, and Assad Vala's side confirmed their spot with a game in hand after another significant victory over the Philippines.
Vala's team concluded the tournament with a sixth consecutive triumph by defeating Japan on the final day, celebrating their success amidst an exuberant crowd in Port Moresby.
Qualifying teams: Ireland, Scotland
The Netherlands' unexpected victory over South Africa during the 2022 T20 World Cup significantly aided the European region. As the Dutch secured automatic qualification for 2024, they did not compete with Scotland and Ireland for two spots.
With the absence of the Dutch, Scotland and Ireland comfortably progressed through the regional finals, remaining unbeaten until their face-off on the final day of qualifying action.
The clash between the already-qualified teams was a thrilling encounter, with Scotland's 213/6 narrowly edging out Ireland's 205/9 in reply. Brandon McMullen's 68 (35) was the top score for the Scots, although Brad Currie stole the limelight with figures of 5/13 (4) in this high-scoring affair, earning the Player of the Match accolade.