World T20 2014 champions Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will have an extra round to play in the Men's T20 World Cup 2020, the ICC confirmed on Tuesday (January 1).
The 16-team tournament will have the top eight-ranked sides - Pakistan, India, England, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Windies and Afghanistan - who will get a direct passage to the Super 12s, while Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will start with the group stage.
The group stage will include these two sides and six others who will make it there via World T20 qualifiers. The eight teams will jostle for the four remaining vacant spots in the Super 12s. Lasith Malinga, the Sri Lanka captain, expressed his disappointment at not earning a direct spot in the Super 12s but both he and Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan exuded confidence of making the cut to the next round.
"It is a bit disappointing that we have not been able to ensure a direct Super 12s berth but I'm confident that we will do well in the tournament. Having played three finals and winning once, it is natural that everyone expected us to finish in the top-eight but we have to take the opportunity in the extra matches of the group stage and prepare well for the knock-out matches," Malinga said.
"We have some fine players in the ranks and it is only a matter of doing our best when the time comes. We look forward to challenges coming our way as we prepare for the big event."
"We have not secured a direct Super 12s berth but I'm confident that we will do well in the tournament by going through the group stage. We are a side capable of beating the best on our day and I see no reason why we can't go far in the tournament. There is still some time and we will use it to be at our best for the T20 World Cup," Shakib said.
"We won a T20 series against the West Indies, the world champions, in their backward not so long ago. That performance has given us a lot of belief in our Twenty20 capabilities," Shaib added.
The men's showpiece event will be held in Australia.