HomeCricketIreland squeeze into first qualifiers for cricket’s 2026 T20 World Cup

Ireland squeeze into first qualifiers for cricket’s 2026 T20 World Cup

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IRELAND have narrowly made the cut, as the first 12 qualifiers are announced for the 2026 T20 Cricket World Cup.

The tournament is being joint-hosted by Sri Lanka and India, meaning these nations have taken up the first two spots on offer.

From there, the next six qualifying spots have been awarded to the teams who made the ‘Super-Eight’ stage at last month’s 2024 World Cup.

These teams were Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, England, South Africa and the West Indies.

Most dramatically, the USA bettered Pakistan in their group and therefore they have earned a spot.

Babar Azam’s team aren’t missing out, however, and have earned one of the final three spaces to be awarded at this stage. These spots go to the best placed teams on the T20I ranking, taken on June 30.

Pakistan, who ranked seventh, will be joined by New Zealand, who ranked sixth, and finally Ireland, who ranked 11th.

Ireland will be relieved to have earned this final qualification spot, as the alternative path into the tournament is through regional qualifiers which will follow a similar format to the 2024 World Cup.

In the European qualifiers, which Ireland would be competing in, Scotland and the Netherlands are the favourites to claim the spots.

However, with 21 teams it contention, it will be a hard fought region and a contest Ireland must be glad to avoid.

The 2026 World Cup will again take place over 55 matches. It will have the same format as this year’s edition, with four groups of five, two Super Eights groups, two semi-finals and a final to decide the next winner.

While Ireland were unable to make it out of the group stage this year, their automatic qualification will provide an early incentive as they begin preparation for 2026.

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