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FAQ: All you wanted to know about the T20 World Cup 2021

Format, teams involved, prize money, venues - our explainer gives you the lowdown

Hemant Brar
Hemant Brar
Jason Holder congratulates Eoin Morgan, West Indies v England, 3rd T20I, St Kitts, March 10, 2019

England are strong contenders but defending champions West Indies are capable of springing a surprise  •  Randy Brooks/AFP/Getty Images

So, finally we have a T20 World Cup. When does the action start?
Indeed, after a gap of five years, we have a T20 World Cup again. The tournament begins on October 17 with a double-header. In the first game, Oman will take on Papua New Guinea. Later in the day, Bangladesh will face Scotland. The final will be played on November 14.
Who are the hosts this time?
The BCCI are the hosts but the matches will be played in the UAE and Oman. The decision to move the tournament out of India was taken in June, keeping in mind the Covid-19 situation in the country and the possibility of a third wave of infections.
How many teams in the tournament?
That's twice the number of teams in the IPL! What's the format?
The tournament will be played in two rounds. The first round will feature eight teams, split into two groups:
Group A: Sri Lanka, Ireland, Netherlands and Namibia
Group B: Bangladesh, Scotland, Papua New Guinea and Oman
Each team will play every other team in its group once. After 12 matches in Al Amerat, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, the top two teams from each group will progress to the next round, the Super 12s, where they will join the eight top-ranked T20I sides. In the Super 12s phase, the teams will once again be divided into two groups.
Group 1: England, Australia, South Africa, West Indies, A1 and B2
Group 2: India, Pakistan, New Zealand, Afghanistan, B1 and A2
Again, teams will play each of the others in their group once. This round will start on October 23 and comprise 30 matches, to be played in Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The top two teams from each group will progress to the semi-finals.
What is the points system and what happens if teams are tied during either round?
In both rounds, a team will get two points for a win; one point for a tie, no result or abandonment; and zero points for a loss.
If two or more teams finish on equal points in their group, the following parameters will be considered, in the order below, to break the deadlock:
- Number of wins
- Net run rate
- Head-to-head result (points first, then net run rate in that game)
- Original first-round/Super-12 seedings
Will the DRS be available?
Yes, for the first time a men's T20 World Cup will have reviews. Each team will be allowed a maximum of two unsuccessful requests per innings, as has been the case in T20Is since cricket resumed after the pandemic.
What happens if a match is tied?
The teams will play a Super Over. If the Super Over is also tied, the teams will keep playing Super Overs until one wins. If the Super Over is not possible because of, say, weather conditions or time constraints, the match will be declared a tie and the teams will be awarded a point each.
If a result cannot be achieved during a semi-final (or the match is abandoned), then the team that finished higher in its Super 12 group will progress to the final. In the event of similar happening in the final, both teams will be declared joint winners.
Is there a reserve day, to account for bad weather?
There are no reserve days for group-stage games; only the semi-finals and final have reserve days. Match officials will try to complete the game on the scheduled day; if that doesn't happen, the match will be resumed on the reserve day.
If a game is truncated, a minimum of five overs have to be bowled in each innings for the result to be decided in the group stage. For the semi-final and final, it's a minimum of ten overs.
Who are the favourites to win the tournament?
If any team can be thought of as favourites, it has to be England. However, defending champions West Indies, and India, are more than capable of toppling them, and New Zealand and Pakistan cannot be taken lightly either.
What do the winners take home?
The champions get US$1.6 million, the runners-up $800,000, and the losing semi-finalists $400,000 each.
Are spectators allowed at the venues?
Yes, but in a reduced capacity. The Al Amerat Stadium in Oman has built a temporary structure to host 3000 fans. The Oman government has made it mandatory for all those entering the country, and the stadium, to be fully vaccinated. In the UAE, all venues will be operating at approximately 70% of the maximum capacity. *Fans need to be double vaccinated to be at the stadium in Abu Dhabi, but not in Dubai and Sharjah. They will have to wear masks at all venues.
0710 GMT This article was updated with information about vaccination requirements

Hemant Brar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo