ICC World Twenty20 format

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We may be cynical and world-weary, but we’ve always rather enjoyed the World Twenty20. By and large we’re a fan of grey, but in some contexts you can’t beat a bit of black and white brutality and the tournament provides just a little of that. We’re not talking about rogue gangs of penguins on a violent crime spree. We’re talking about losing a cricket match and getting KNOCKED OUT.

Perhaps more than any other sport, cricket eschews finality. A crushing defeat is generally just a cue for someone to say: “Obviously, we’re very disappointed, but there’s a lot of talent in this squad and we’re confident that we’ll bounce back.”

There will be a lot less of that in the World Twenty20. Instead, there will be more: “Well, that’s that – we’re out.”

The format isn’t exactly streamlined, but by cricket’s standards, it’s positively ruthless.

Group stages

Three teams per group. Two matches per team. Shit team is KNOCKED OUT.

Super 8s

Four teams per group. Three matches per team. Teams finishing in the bottom half of the group are KNOCKED OUT.


Losers are KNOCKED OUT.


One final. Not best-of-three, best-of-seven or any of that crap. One match. Lose it and you are KNOCKED OUT.


England are reigning champions, of course – which still seems a bit weird. Here’s our preview of England’s chances from before the last tournament and here’s how we reacted when they won.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


Why risk it when it's so easy to sign up?


  1. I’m not falling for it this time KC.
    In all seriousness though T20 is the format that gives the associates the best chance of being competitive, and therefore the one that the ICC gives them the least number of places in. Surely a rejigged format could have incorporated even two more associates within the same number of games, and made each game more meaningful.
    As it is, corporate whores like Giles Clarke and James Sutherland will be beating themselves sensless at the potential revenue from televising so many games played between the ‘top’ teams.

    1. OK I’ll play.
      If you win 1 game out of 2 in the group stage, you will probably go through to the super 8’s. If you win 2 of your 3 super 8 games you will go through to the semi finals.
      On aggregate that’s a win ratio of 60%. That is ample opportunity for teams to recover from a bad game.
      From the semis onwards it has to be a knockout format so the Saffers can choke and someone else has a chance of winning.
      Given the IPL vs the world handicap tournament follows on straight after in South Africa I thought they could have shaved another couple of days off the tournament (well both tournaments actually) to allow a few days between the two.

    2. We take your point, but it is actually possible to win two out of three Super 8 games and not go through, so there is at least an incentive to try and win all three matches. This isn’t always the case in cricket tournaments.

      It’s not perfect, but we will slowly shed teams as we go along. Some other tournaments have seen the same eight teams play each other interminably with seemingly little at stake.

    3. For example, it took 42 matches before anyone had to head home from the 50-over World Cup.

      The teams who then left were Zimbabwe, Canada, Kenya, Bangladesh, Ireland and the Netherlands.

      42 matches…

    4. Compared to the 50 over world cup anything would look ruthless. To be fair you could give the ODI tournament the same treatment as T20 – limit the games that are allowed to be scheduled each year and trim the tournament. Oh and only let the top 6 ranked nations qualify automatically to give the associates a shot.
      Just thinking about it within the same sort of window you could have a test knockout tournament with the top 8 ranked nations. Prepare ‘result wickets’ and schedule 2 rest days between each game.
      Rotate between each format a year at a time with the champions trophy (in the old knockout format) rounding out the four. Stack the champions trophy with 6 affiliates to make it interesting.
      Probably all been said before…
      Anyway, is it time to watch Zimbabwe lose yet?

  2. I want talk of legacy.

    I want strangers on the London Underground smiling at each other and asking each other if they saw such and such a game last night.

    At the awards ceremony for the final match I want a commentator to say, without apparent irony, “this isn’t the end, this is just the beginning”.

    The ICC World T20 tournament as described seems to lack these qualities.

  3. Why is it that when it comes to International T20s we stick to the bland prescription of calling a team by the country it represents? Where are the Royals and the SuperKings? This tournament would be more appealing if we had provocative names. ‘Indian Inbreds’ v ‘Aussie Assholes’. ‘Dipshits from England’ battling ‘Homeless Pakistanis’. The possibilities are endless.

    1. I want a chaos shirt!
      Anyone doing the cricinfo fantasy game for this? Is it ok to link a league now that you work for them?

  4. I am trying to find out which counties were relegated in the English County Cricket Division 1 in 2012? Could the good souls here help me finding the answer?

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