Cricket

PAK, NZ To Play Qualifiers To Get Into Next T20 World Cup? Qualifying Process Explained

In this piece we will look at the format of the 2026 T20 World Cup and see whether Pakistan, New Zealand and another big team Sri Lanka will have to face the heat of qualifying process or not

AP/Adam Hunger
Babar Azam-led Pakistan were eliminated in the opening round of T20 World Cup 2024. Photo: AP/Adam Hunger
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Last T20 World Cup's finalist, Pakistan, alongside one of the most consistent teams in ICC tournaments, New Zealand, have both been eliminated in the very first round of the 2024 edition taking place in the USA and the West Indies. (Full Coverage|More Cricket News)

Social media went abuzz with questions regarding whether these three teams will have to get through the qualifiers to book a place in the the next edition of the T20 World Cup set to take place in India and Sri Lanka in 2026. The speculations were further fueled by former Pakistan star pacer Shoaib Akhtar who claimed that his team will have to go through the qualifying rounds to book a place at the next T20 World Cup.

In this piece we will look at the format of the 2026 T20 World Cup and see whether Pakistan, New Zealand and another big team Sri Lanka will have to face the heat of qualifying process or not.

2026 T20 World Cup format

The 2026 ICC Men's T20 World Cup will have the same format as the ongoing edition. 20 teams divided in four pools with top two from each group going to Super 8s. The eight teams will be then divided into two groups and then the top two teams from both of them will play semifinals. The winners of the two semifinals will clash in the final.

2026 T20 World Cup Qualification Process

12 teams out of the total 20 receive automatic qualification. India and Sri Lanka have secured automatic qualification for the tournament since they are the co-hosts.

All teams that go to the Super 8s in the ongoing edition also directly qualify. So, Australia, Afghanistan, South Africa, West Indies and USA have also sealed their place at the showpiece event. One each among England/Scotland and Bangladesh/Netherlands will book their spot.

Three more teams will gain direct entry on the basis of their ICC rankings.

Will Pakistan and New Zealand have to play qualifiers?

Despite early exit in the current tournament, fans of Pakistan and New Zealand need to breath easy as it is highly unlikely that any one of them will have to go through the qualification process.

New Zealand and Pakistan are ranked sixth and seventh respectively in the ICC Men's T20I rankings. Both these teams are way ahead of others and are likely to get direct qualification for the 2026 event. Apart from these two, one more team will get direct entry.

What about other eight spots?

The remaining eight spots will be contested in regional qualifiers. Two teams will qualify through regional qualification processes of Europe, Asia and Africa, and one side each from the East Asia Pacific and Americas regions will also get a spot.

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