India and Pakistan have been placed in the same Super 12 group for the ICC T20 World Cup after the International Cricket Council made the draw for the tournament on Friday.
The groups were selected based on team rankings as of March 20, with India and Pakistan placed in Group 2 alongside New Zealand and Afghanistan as well as the runner-up of Round 1's Group A and the winner of Round 1's Group B.
Group 1 in the Super 12 comprises defending champions West Indies, England, Australia and South Africa plus the winner of the first round's Group A and the runner-up of the first round's Group B.
Group A in the first round will see Sri Lanka, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Namibia battle to qualify for the Super 12, while Bangladesh, Scotland, Papua New Guinea, and Oman have been placed in Group B.
“We are delighted to announce the groups for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021. There are some great match ups offered by the groups and it starts to bring the event to life for our fans as our first multi-team event since the onset of the global pandemic draws closer," ICC Acting Chief Executive Geoff Allardice said.
“Given the disruption caused by Covid-19, we selected the cutoff date as close as possible to the event to ensure we were able to include the maximum amount of cricket in the rankings which determine the groups. There is no doubt we will witness some highly competitive cricket when the event gets underway in just three months.”
The T20 World Cup was originally scheduled to be held in Australia last year but was moved to India and delayed by 12 months due to the pandemic. However, the worsening coronavirus crisis in India has seen the tournament moved to the UAE and Oman, although India and the BCCI have retained hosting duties.
In the UAE, matches will be played at the three cricket stadiums in the country - Dubai International Stadium, the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, and the Sharjah Stadium - while in Oman the Oman Cricket Academy Ground will stage games.
The UAE has plenty of experience in hosting major cricket events, with the PSL relocating to the Emirates this year to complete its season, while the IPL will do likewise before the T20 World Cup. The UAE was also for a decade the 'home' of the Pakistan cricket team and has hosted past editions of both the PSL and IPL.
"Understanding the current sporting climate, in such unprecedented times, Emirates Cricket congratulates the ICC, the BCCI and the respective teams on today's ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 groupings' announcement," Emirates Cricket Board vice president Khalid Al Zarooni said.
“Looking at these groups we anticipate a highly competitive, thoroughly enjoyable spectacle of international cricket. This is truly an aspirational tournament and one the wider UAE Cricket team is extremely excited to be involved in."
Meanwhile, Oman's involvement as co-hosts of the T20 World Cup marks the country's most significant contribution to world cricket, and Oman Cricket Chairman Pankaj Khimji said: “Oman Cricket has come a long way and today is a watershed moment for us to have ICC and BCCI here at Oman Cricket Academy to announce the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup groups.
"Playing in and hosting the event gives us an opportunity to showcase not just our commitment to growing the game but also showcasing Oman as a welcoming destination to the world."
BCCI president Sourav Ganguly said: “It is good to get Oman in the frame of world cricket with the hosting of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. It will help a lot of young players take an interest in the game. We know it will be a world class event in this part of the world.”
The T20 World Cup will begin on October 17 with the final scheduled for November 14.