ICC World Twenty20 Final to expand to 16 teams

Not that Ireland’s cricketers struggled to qualify for this year’s final tournament in Sri Lanka, but the path to the 2014 World Twenty20 finals in Bangladesh has been eased by the ICC Board’s confirmation that “from 2014 onwards, the number of teams participating in the ICC World T20 from 12 to 16 men’s teams.”  From the Irish Times report

The decision, which will make qualification for Ireland and other association members easier, was confirmed this morning by ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat.

“What excites me is the decision to extend the World Twenty20 event, which takes place in 2014 in Bangladesh,” he told reporters in Dubai today.

“From then onwards the board has decided to expand the event to 16 teams. I’m sure that is very comforting to all associates and affiliates…it provides them with a greater chance of competing on the global stage.”

Last month, Ireland qualified for this year’s event in Sri Lanka, when they beat Afghanistan in a qualifier in Dubai.

“The Twenty20 World Cup will be played this year in Sri Lanka from Sept 18th-Oct 7th between 12 teams,” Lorgat added. “The current 10 full members will be joined by six qualifiers in the next version from 2014.

That reverses a previous decision not to expand the competition.  However, they’ve also confirmed the restriction of the 50-over World Cup in 2019 to 10 teams – the top ranked 8 teams and 2 qualifers.