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Thursday, July 25, 2024

How did Pakistan qualify for 2026 T20 World Cup despite group-stage exit this year? Explained

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Pakistan were knocked out in the group stage of the T20 World Cup last week. In their opening match, they faced a shock defeat to the United States before conceding another loss to arch-rivals India. Pakistan’s chances of survival in the competition depended on Ireland’s win over the US, but the weather in Lauderhill didn’t allow a single ball to be bowled, and the match washed out.

Pakistan's Shaheen Shah Afridi, left, celebrates with captain Babar Azam after Pakistan won the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match against Ireland(AP)
Pakistan’s Shaheen Shah Afridi, left, celebrates with captain Babar Azam after Pakistan won the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup cricket match against Ireland(AP)

Justifiably, the side is facing significant criticism on social media platforms for its poor outings. However, following the shock Super Over defeat against the USA, former Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar sparked a debate by suggesting that the national team might need to go through qualifiers to participate in the next T20 World Cup. He urged Babar Azam and co. to beat India and keep themselves alive in the race for Super Eight, thus ensuring the spot in the 2026 edition of the tournament.

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Unfortunately, this didn’t happen for Pakistan, as they were knocked out in the group stage. But Akhtar’s claim has now been proven wrong. How? Find out below.

How Pakistan qualified for 2026 T20 World Cup?

Pakistan have secured a direct qualification for the 2026 T20 World Cup; this is due to the tournament’s automatic qualification rules.

According to these rules, 12 out of the 20 participating teams will gain automatic entry. As co-hosts, India and Sri Lanka are guaranteed spots. Additionally, teams that advance to the Super 8 stage in the current World Cup also earn automatic qualification for the next edition.

India, having progressed to the Super Eight from Group A, meet these criteria. Similarly, South Africa and Bangladesh (Group D), West Indies and Afghanistan (Group C), Australia and England (Group B), and the USA (Group A) have secured their places in the Super Eights and thereby in the 2026 World Cup.

The remaining three spots in the Super Eight were determined based on the ICC Men’s T20I rankings as of June 30, 2024. The three best-ranked teams apart from the ones in the Super Eight earned automatic qualification. Thus, New Zealand (6th), Pakistan (7th), and Ireland (11th) have filled the three positions and will feature in the T20 World Cup two years later.

The other eight spots will be decided through regional qualifiers.


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