Afghanistan earn direct entry into T20 World Cup in 2020; Sri Lanka and Bangladesh must qualify
T20 World Cup comes to Australia in October and November 2020
Last Updated: 01/01/19 5:51pm
Afghanistan have earned direct entry into the group stage of the T20 World Cup in 2020 - but Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will have to qualify.
Afghanistan's rise to eighth in the ICC T20 rankings means they will go straight into the Super 12s alongside hosts Australia, defending champions Windies, England, India, Pakistan, New Zealand and South Africa.
Asghar Afghan's side - who have qualified for the previous four T20 World Cups - won each of their seven T20Is in 2018, including a 3-0 sweep over Bangladesh and have emerged victorious in 18 of their last 21 games in the format.
Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, ranked ninth and 10th respectively at the 2018 cut-off date, will now have to enter an eight-team first phase with the top-four sides then advancing into the Super 12s of a tournament that will be staged between October 18 and November 15, 2020.
"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," Sri Lanka seamer Lasith Malinga told the ICC after learning the 2012 winners and 2009 and 2014 runners-up would have to qualify.
"Having played three finals and winning once, it is natural 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 knockout matches."
Bangladesh's Shakib Al Hasan added: "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."
Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will learn the identity of their six opponents when the 14-team T20 Global Qualifier is contested in late 2019.
Ireland, Zimbabwe, Scotland, Netherlands, Oman and Hong Kong will play in the Global Qualifier alongside eight other nations from five regional qualification competitions (Africa, Americas, Asia, East Asia-Pacific, Europe).