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ICC Men's T20 World Cup: All you need to know ahead of 2021 tournament

How does the T20 World Cup work? Who is in which group? When and where are the games being played? What are they key matches? Who are the bookies' favourites? Check out our handy guide ahead of a tournament you can watch live and in full on Sky Sports in October and November

West Indies, T20 World Cup 2016 (Associated Press)
Image: West Indies will be looking to defend the title they won in 2016 when they beat England in the final

The 2021 T20 World Cup is about to begin - here is all you need to know ahead of the tournament...

When does it start?

The first round gets underway on Sunday with Oman against Papua New Guinea followed by Scotland against Bangladesh. The Super 12 stage - featuring heavyweights India, Pakistan, England, Australia and West Indies - begins a week later on October 23, with the semi-finals set for November 10 and 11 and the final taking place on November 14. Both semi-finals and the final have a reserve day in case of bad weather.

Live ICC World T20 Cricket

Live ICC World T20 Cricket

How does the format work?

Eight teams are involved in round one - Ireland, Namibia, Netherlands and 2014 champions Sri Lanka in Group A and then Bangladesh, Oman, Papua New Guinea and Scotland in Group B. Sides play the other teams in their group once, with the top two teams from each pool reaching the Super 12.

The winners of Group A and the runners-up in Group B will join England, Australia, South Africa and West Indies in Group 1, while the winners of Group B and runners-up in Group A will progress to Group 2 alongside Afghanistan, India, New Zealand and Pakistan. The top two sides in each group after the Super 12 will make the semi-finals.

West Indies won the last edition of the T20 World Cup in 2016
Image: West Indies are the first two-time Men's T20 World Cup champions

How did the sides make it to round one?

Sri Lanka and Bangladesh qualified directly for the T20 World Cup after being in the top 10 of the T20I rankings at the cut-off point in December 2018 but as they were outside the top eight at that point - Bangladesh ninth and Sri Lanka 10th - they were entered into round one as opposed to automatically moving into the Super 12.

Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Ireland, Namibia, Scotland and Oman earned their spots during the T20 World Cup Qualifier in the UAE two years ago, with Papua New Guinea and Namibia's success meaning they have reached the T20 World Cup for the first time. Ireland are making their sixth appearance and Scotland their fourth.

Kyle Coetzer, Scotland (PA Images)
Image: Kyle Coetzer will captain Scotland in their fourth T20 World Cup

Where are the games being played?

The tournament was moved from its initial venue of India due to the high number of coronavirus cases in the country and will now be played in the United Arab Emirates and Oman instead.

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The Group A fixtures will take place in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, while all games in Group B will be played in the Omani capital of Muscat.

The Super 12 stage is an all-UAE affair with matches in Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Dubai. There will be a semi-final apiece in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, before the final is staged in Dubai.

Live ICC World T20 Cricket

Can I watch every game on Sky Sports?

Yes, you can. Games will be broadcast across Sky Sports Cricket, Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Mix.

Who are the defending champions?

That would be West Indies, who beat England in dramatic style in Kolkata five years ago when Carlos "Remember The Name" Brathwaite struck Ben Stokes for four successive sixes in a last over which had begun with the Caribbean side requiring 19 for victory. West Indies' win made them the first two-time T20 World Cup champions, having also won the 2012 edition in Sri Lanka. India (2007), Pakistan (2009), England (2010) and Sri Lanka (2014) are the other sides to have won the T20 World Cup.

England are taking inspiration from Paul Collingwood's 2010 squad who led them to T20 victory in Barbados
Image: England's sole title at the T20 World Cup came in the Caribbean in 2010

Who are this year's favourites?

Sky Bet currently has India as the team to beat at 5/2, followed by England at 3/1 and West Indies at 6/1. But, as Benedict Bermange has explored, being the favourites heading into previous T20 World Cups has been somewhat of a poisoned chalice...

What are some of the standout games?

Everyone looks forward to the tournament meetings between India and Pakistan, a fixture we are otherwise starved of. This year's tussle takes place in Dubai on October 24. A repeat of the 2016 final happens 24 hours earlier at the same venue as West Indies vs England kicks off the Super 12 stage. England play Australia in Dubai on October 30, while, depending on how the first round pans out, Eoin Morgan's men could meet Scotland in Abu Dhabi on October 27 and Ireland in Sharjah on November 1.

England captain Eoin Morgan during the first T20 international cricket match between England and Pakistan at Trent Bridge cricket ground in Nottingham, England, Friday, July 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)..
Image: England captain Eoin Morgan will be without Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes for the T20 World Cup

Where can I see the full squads?

Click on this link to see how the 15-man squads shape up.

What's the full fixture list?

All UK times

October 17 - Oman vs Papua New Guinea, Muscat, 11am

October 17 - Bangladesh vs Scotland, Muscat, 3pm

October 18 - Ireland vs Netherlands, Abu Dhabi, 11am

October 18 - Sri Lanka vs Namibia, Abu Dhabi, 3pm

October 19 - Scotland vs Papua New Guinea, Muscat 11am

October 19 - Bangladesh vs Oman, Muscat, 3pm

October 20 - Namibia vs Netherlands, Abu Dhabi, 3pm

October 20 - Sri Lanka vs Ireland, Abu Dhabi, 3pm

October 21 - Bangladesh vs Papua New Guinea, Muscat, 11am

October 21 - Oman vs Scotland, Muscat, 3pm

October 22 - Namibia vs Ireland, Sharjah, 11am

October 22 - Sri Lanka vs Netherlands, Sharjah, 3pm

October 23 - Australia vs South Africa, Abu Dhabi, 11am

October 23 - England vs West Indies, Dubai, 3pm

October 24 - A1 vs B2, Sharjah, 11am

October 24 - India vs Pakistan, Dubai, 3pm

October 25 - Afghanistan vs B1, Sharjah, 3pm

October 26 - South Africa vs West Indies, Dubai, 11am

October 26 - Pakistan vs New Zealand, Sharjah, 3pm

October 27 - England vs B2, Abu Dhabi, 11am

October 27 - B1 vs A2, Abu Dhabi, 3pm

October 28 - Australia vs A1, Dubai, 3pm

October 29 - West Indies vs B2, Sharjah, 11am

October 29 - Pakistan vs Afghanistan, Dubai, 3pm

October 30 - South Africa vs A1, Sharjah, 11am

October 30 - Australia vs England, Dubai, 3pm

October 31 - Afghanistan vs A2, Abu Dhabi, 10am

October 31 India vs New Zealand, Dubai, 2pm

November 1 - England vs A1, Sharjah, 2pm

November 2 - South Africa vs B2, Abu Dhabi, 10am

November 2 Pakistan vs A2, Abu Dhabi, 2pm

November 3 - New Zealand vs B1, Dubai, 10am

November 3 - India vs Afghanistan, Abu Dhabi, 11am

November 4 - Australia vs B2, Dubai, 10am

November 4 - West Indies vs A1, Abu Dhabi, 2pm

November 5 - New Zealand vs A2, Sharjah, 10am

November 5 - India vs B1, Dubai, 2pm

November 6 - Australia vs West Indies, Abu Dhabi, 10am

November 6 - England vs South Africa, Sharjah, 2pm

November 7 - New Zealand vs Afghanistan, Abu Dhabi, 10am

November 7 - Pakistan vs B1, Sharjah, 2pm

November 8 - India vs A2, Abu Dhabi, 2pm

November 10 - Semi-final 1, Abu Dhabi, 2pm (reserve day available)

November 11 - Semi-final 2, Dubai, 2pm (reserve day available)

November 14 - Final, Dubai, 2pm (reserve day available)

Watch the 2021 ICC Men's T20 World Cup live in full on Sky Sports between October 17 and November 14.

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