The ICC world twenty20, since its inaugural year, has always been a block buster. We have witnessed some thrilling cricket in its past five seasons and it is getting better and better with time. With Sri Lanka defending the title, the sixth edition of this mega event is going to start from 8th of March, 2016. India is hosting this cricketing extravaganza and the final is set to be played at Eden Garden on 3rd of April, 2016.
All the ten ICC full member nations have automatically qualified for the ICC world twenty20, while six other teams have joined them from the 2015 ICC world twenty20 qualifier. The tournament is set to be played in two stages, the group stage and the Super Ten stage.
Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, from the ICC T20 championship ranking, will join the other six qualified teams ; Scotland, Ireland, Hong Kong , Netherlands , Afghanistan, Oman to play the group stage from which the top two teams will join the remaining eight teams to play the Super Ten stage. This first stage will be played from 8th of March to 13th March, 2016.
While we, the fans, are eagerly waiting for the Super Ten stage to start, we generally tend to neglect the group fixtures. But what we learned from the previous edition is that the group stage is something that we should keep in our never- to-miss list. Though commonly known as underdogs’ stage, the group stage never fails to surprise us with some incredible and quality matches. With Bangladesh growing as one of the dominant side in the shorter format of the game, and the presence of teams like Ireland, Zimbabwe, Netherlands, Afghanistan who can upset any quality side on their day, the group stage promises to offer some absolute thrills.
What type of matches can one expect from the group stage? The last match from the ICC world twenty20, 2014 group stage gives us the answer.
The fantastic match between Ireland and Netherlands, where Ireland set up a mammoth target of 190 for Netherlands in order to qualify for the Super Ten stage. Netherlands not only had to win that match but win it under the 15th over so that they could stay ahead in the Run Rate equation.
After the innings of Ireland, the hope of Netherlands to move ahead looked very grim, next to impossible. But what happened next was historic. With the help of some real hard hitting by Myburgh [57(21)] and T. Cooper [41(13)], Netherlands stormed into the group stage by chasing down the target in mere 13.5 overs. This was the match which the cricketing gurus claimed as one of the best matches that ever happened in the shorter format of the game.
Looking at the performances of these underdog teams in the ICC world twenty20 qualifier 2015, the group stage of ICC world twenty20, 2016 looks even more promising. And for some real entertainment, a true cricket fan should never miss the group stage of the forthcoming mega event.
Here is the first stage group distribution and the fixtures.
Bangladesh, Netherlands, Ireland, Oman
Zimbabwe, Scotland, Hong Kong, Afghanistan
8 March 2016 in Nagpur
- Afternoon –Zimbabwe vs. Hong Kong
- Evening- Scotland vs. Afghanistan
9 March 2016 in Dharamsala
- Afternoon-Bangladesh vs. Netherlands
- Evening-Ireland vs. Oman
10 March in Nagpur
- Afternoon-Scotland vs. Zimbabwe
- Evening-Hong Kong vs. Afghanistan
11 March in Dharamsala
- Afternoon- Netherlands vs. Oman
- Evening-Bangladesh vs. Ireland
12 March in Nagpur
- Afternoon- Zimbabwe vs. Afghanistan
- Evening- Scotland vs. Hong Kong
13 March in Dharamsala
- Afternoon-Netherlands vs. Ireland
- Evening-Bangladesh vs. Oman