ICC T20I Rankings: Singapore Gain at the Expense of Hong Kong
Singapore have risen to number 20 in the latest ICC rankings of T20 International teams. By achieving the feat, they have qualified for a berth at the global qualifiers for the T20 World Cup scheduled to be held in Japan in 2022.
Hong Kong who were previously considered to have qualified to participate in the global qualification tournament in Japan will now have to work their way up through a regional qualification tournament.
Singapore’s Great Record in T20Is
Singapore who played their first T20I versus Qatar in July 2019 have played 15 matches in all, winning 9 and losing 6. While their losses have mainly come against much stronger teams, such as Netherlands, Kenya and Zimbabwe, Singapore have generally ruled the roost against the likes of Qatar, Malaysia, Thailand and Hong Kong. They have even registered a maiden win against Zimbabwe. Their latest high ranking may have been helped by three wins on the trot in 2020 against Thailand, Malaysia and Hong Kong respectively. Take a look at Singapore’s T20I record in the following chart:
Hong Kong Must Take the Regional Qualification Route
The re-calculation of ICC rankings has hit Hong Kong especially hard as they have not been able to play cricket for a year. As a result of the new rankings, Hong Kong are now listed three rungs below Singapore, at 23. In order to qualify for the T20 World Cup event to be held in Australia, Hong Kong will have to go through the route of regional qualifiers.
A four-step qualifying process will help decide the 15 teams to play in the 2020 World Cup that was to be held in Australia. The process will start in April 2021. Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, 11 regional qualification competitions are now due to be held in 2021 across five regions. Thanks to the new development, Singapore will rub shoulders with Papua New Guinea who have qualified from the East Asia Pacific region. Zimbabwe, Nepal and the UAE will also be at the event on the back of their ranking. Four spots at the global qualifiers will be occupied by the four teams that finish last at the T20 World Cup in 2021.
Many Firsts for T20I Cricket
In another first, Serbia Romania and Hungary will be vying for a spot at the T20 World Cup. Finland will host an ICC tournament for the first time. Japan will host a T20 qualifier for the first time too. Two weeks before the T20 qualifier, Japan will host the U19 World Cup qualifier.
Which Teams Will Qualify?
The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 will now be held in India. The teams that have qualified for the 2020 competition that was to be hosted by Australia will play in the India event. Those 16 teams are Australia, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, England, India, Ireland, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Oman, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Scotland, South Africa, Sri Lanka and West Indies. The Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 will have 16 participating teams consisting of the 11 automatic qualifiers from the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 as well as hosts Australia. Two global qualifiers will help four additional teams to join the fray.
The following chart from icc-cricket.com lists the latest T20I team rankings:
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