The 2024 ICC T20 World Cup for men will take place this June and it could be a watershed moment for the sport. In America, Cricket has always been seen as confusing at best and boring at worst. However, the 2024 T20 World Cup will be co-hosted by the West Indies and the USA. Whilst the Caribbean federation will see most of the games – 39 out of 55 – the USA will still host 16 international cricket matches. With the growth of the Major League Cricket as well, it is hoped that this tournament could act as a real spur to the game in North America.
As hosts the US have qualified for the T20 World Cup for the first time, and it will be fascinating how locals take to the game. Cricket has a big following from immigrants to the US and this is reflected in their team and the traditional fanbase. However, whether the T20 World Cup can attract new supporters to the sport remains to be seen.
Leaving all that aside, however, there is a tournament to be won and things will get underway on the 1st of June, the final set to be held on the 29th of the same month. All three knockout games – two semis and the final – will take place in the West Indies, with the famous Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados, doing the honours for the finale. But who, aside from the States and the West Indies will be there? What is the format, where are the games taking place and who are the favourites?
What is the Format of the 2024 T20 World Cup?
The format is either straightforward or complex and overlong, perhaps depending on your point of view. In recent years, tournaments in a range of sports have been dragged out to try and make as much money as possible with little regard for fans and players. That certainly seems to be the case here, with two group stages preceding a short knockout phase.
First Group Phase
Initially the 20 teams will be divided into four groups, A to D, with five teams in each. This initial part of the World Cup will be a standard single round-robin, meaning each side plays the other four in the group once. The top two teams from each progress to the second group stage, the Super 8s.
The top two (as determined by points and net run-rate if required) from each group are then put in separate Super 8 groups, 1 or 2. It has been suggested that seeds from the initial stage of the tournament will get preferential treatment in the “draw” for the Super 8, although this seems to be unconfirmed officially. Whatever the exact format, nations who met in the first group stage will be separated in the Super 8s. Then follows another round-robin, with the four teams in Group 1 playing each other and the same applying in Group 2.
Following each side’s three matches, the top two qualify for the knockout phase, with the winners of Group 1 playing the runner-up from Group 2 and vice versa. Calling it a knockout stage is a little verbose and it would be simpler to say the top two from this second group section make it through to the semis, with the winners of those clashes meeting in the showpiece in Barbados.
Guyana’s Providence Stadium in Georgetown will host the first semi, with the second taking place on the following day, the 27th of June. That match will be at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Trinidad.
Where Will the Games be Played?
There are three venues in America, in Dallas and Lauderhill (in the Miami met area), hosting four games each, and, host for eight matches, the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in New York. These stadia hold 15,000, 40,000 and 34,000 fans respectively, so big crowds will be hoped for.
In the West Indies, six different grounds will be used, including the three listed above. In addition, games will be played in Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines. England open things up with a game against Scotland in Barbados, play Australia at the same venue, before a lower-key clash with Oman in Antigua, ending their first round of matches against Namibia, once again at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua.
Which Teams are at the T20 World Cup?
As said, there are 20 teams divided into four groups, as follows:
- New Zealand
- West Indies
- Papua New Guinea
- South Africa
- Sri Lanka
In theory, we should see few upsets and two teams listed first and second in each group above should be the ones that qualify. However, England showed at last year’s 50-over World Cup that the “big” nations do not always do well, whilst Afghanistan will feel they can cause an upset too. Group D, easy for South Africa in theory, may well also be very open in terms of who finishes second behind them.
Who are the Favourites for the T20 World Cup in 2024?
England are the defending champions, having won the 2022 edition of this event in Australia, beating Pakistan in the final. However, so much has changed for England and as we saw at the 50-over version of this tournament, their white-ball side is not as strong as it was. Despite their woeful showing in India and obvious batting issues, the current champions are the second favourites.
Only India are ranked more likely to win by the bookies, although there is very little to separate India, England and the team that dethroned England in India and beat the hosts in the final too, Australia. South Africa are sitting at 7/1 and Pakistan and New Zealand are joint-fifth favourites at 8/1 in what, if the oddsmakers are to be believed, looks quite an open tournament. Co-hosts West Indies 12/1, who are probably the only other team that can be considered serious contenders. USA are 500/1 if you have any money you no longer want!