How many teams are there in T20 World Cup?

The T20 World Cup is the international championship of Twenty20 International cricket. Organized by the International Cricket Council (ICC), the tournament currently consists of 16 teams, having expanded from 12 in 2020.

The T20 World Cup is one of the most popular cricket tournaments globally, showcasing the exciting Twenty20 format. Since the inaugural edition in 2007, the event has grown significantly, reflecting the rising popularity of T20 cricket.

The number of teams participating in the T20 World Cup has also increased over time. Initially featuring 12 teams, the tournament expanded to 16 teams in 2020, making it more inclusive and competitive.

But how many teams actually compete in the T20 World Cup? What is the qualification process? This article will explore the details.

History of the T20 World Cup

When the first T20 World Cup was held in South Africa in 2007, it featured 12 teams. The teams were mainly selected based on their ODI status and performance. The 12 teams were:

  • Australia
  • Bangladesh
  • England
  • India
  • New Zealand
  • Pakistan
  • South Africa
  • Sri Lanka
  • West Indies
  • Zimbabwe
  • Kenya
  • Scotland

The second edition in 2009, held in England, featured the same 12 teams.

The format was tweaked for the 2010 T20 World Cup in the West Indies. The 12 teams were divided into four groups of three teams each in the preliminary round. The top two teams from each group advanced to the Super 8 stage before the semifinals and final.

The 2012 edition in Sri Lanka and 2014 event in Bangladesh retained the 12-team format but dispensed with the group stage. All teams participated directly in the Super 10 stage before advancing to the semifinals.

A qualitative change came about in the 2016 T20 World Cup held in India. The teams were increased from 12 to 16. The additional teams came from the qualification process, expanding cricket’s global footprint.

The Current 16-Team Format

Since the 2016 edition, the T20 World Cup has featured 16 teams, making it truly global and inclusive. The 16 teams are:

  • 10 Full Member Teams with T20I status (as of 2012)
  • 6 Teams coming through the T20 World Cup qualification process

The 10 Full Members who get automatic qualification are:

  • Australia
  • England
  • India
  • New Zealand
  • Pakistan
  • South Africa
  • Sri Lanka
  • West Indies
  • Afghanistan
  • Bangladesh

These teams qualified directly for the Super 12 stage of the T20 World Cup.

The additional 6 teams came through the qualification process known as the T20 World Cup Qualifier. More than a dozen teams compete in the Qualifier tournament, with 6 teams progressing to the main event.

The 6 teams that came via qualification for the 2022 T20 World Cup were:

  • Namibia
  • Netherlands
  • Oman
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Scotland
  • UAE

These teams had to play the First Round before progressing to the Super 12s.

Tournament Structure

With 16 teams, the T20 World Cup utilizes the following format:

  • First Round – The 6 lowest-ranked teams play round-robin matches in two groups of three teams each. The top 2 teams from each group advance to the Super 12s.
  • Super 12 – The 10 automatic qualifiers and 4 teams from the First Round are divided into two groups of 6 teams each. They play round-robin matches within their group. The top 2 teams from each group advance to the semifinals.
  • Semifinals – The top 2 teams from each Super 12 group play the semifinals to determine the finalists.
  • Final – The victors of the two semifinals contest the final to crown the T20 World Cup winner.

This format allows for a comprehensive tournament covering 16 teams in a streamlined structure. The initial group stage gives lower-ranked teams a chance, while the Super 12s feature all top teams clashing before the knockouts.

Women’s T20 World Cup Teams

The Women’s T20 World Cup follows a similar structure, although with 10 teams instead of 16.

The 2023 Women’s T20 World Cup will feature:

  • 8 top teams gaining direct qualification.
  • Remaining 2 teams coming through qualification.

The direct qualifiers based on the ICC Women’s T20I Team Rankings are:

  • Australia (1)
  • England (2)
  • India (3)
  • New Zealand (4)
  • South Africa (5)
  • West Indies (6)
  • Pakistan (7)
  • Sri Lanka (8)

The qualification process will determine the other 2 teams.

The 10 teams play a round-robin Group Stage before the knockouts. So the Women’s event has fewer teams, but the format remains highly competitive.

Qualification Process

The T20 World Cup features a qualification structure that gives Associate teams a chance to progress. The process involves:

  • Regional Qualifiers – Teams ranked 21 and below in the T20I rankings play regional qualifiers based on region such as Africa, Americas, Asia, East Asia-Pacific.
  • T20 World Cup Qualifier – The winning teams from regional qualifiers join teams ranked 9 to 16 in the T20I Rankings for this tournament. The top 6 teams from the Qualifier make it to the T20 World Cup.

The qualification process takes place over two years before the T20 World Cup. It underwent a revamp in 2019 to make it more streamlined and competitive.

For the 2024 T20 World Cup, the regional finals and qualifiers will begin in 2022. The T20 World Cup Qualifier will take place in 2023 and feature 14 teams.

This process gives Associate teams a fair shot at qualifying. It helps expand the game globally.

Growth of T20 Cricket

The growth of the T20 World Cup teams reflects the format’s expanding popularity. The first T20I was played in 2005 between New Zealand and Australia. Just two years later, the first T20 World Cup took place.

The short, fast-paced format was an immediate hit with fans. T20 leagues like the IPL, BBL, CPL, etc. have driven investment and grassroots growth.

Today T20 is the most popular form of cricket. ICC rankings include over 70 T20I teams. The T20 World Cup has grown to 16 men’s teams and will soon expand the women’s event.

With the 2024 editions onwards, the T20 World Cup could potentially grow to 20 men’s teams and 12 women’s teams in future.

Challenges of Expansion

While expanding the T20 World Cup increases inclusivity, some challenges arise:

  • Maintaining competitiveness – More teams could reduce the overall quality as the gulf between top teams and minnows remains substantial.
  • Logistical issues – More teams increases the length of the tournament and staging complexity for the host country.
  • Dilution of value – Broadcasting and commercial partners prefer a shorter, snappier tournament.

The ICC will have to balance these factors while considering expansion. Limiting the First Round matches and having qualification 2-3 years in advance are possible solutions.

Importance for Associate Nations

Participating in the T20 World Cup is extremely significant for Associate cricket teams. It gives them much-needed exposure and experience against top teams. The financial incentives are also essential for funding cricket development in emerging nations.

If not for T20 World Cup qualification, most Associate teams would rarely play top-flight cricket. The tournament gives players from these teams a chance to display their skills before global audiences.

Ireland and Afghanistan using T20 World Cup springboards to obtain Test status shows how important the exposure is. More Associate teams like the Netherlands and Oman are now aiming higher.

The T20 World Cup qualification process has been a game-changer for Associate cricket, even with just 6 spots available.

Key Takeaways

  • The T20 World Cup currently comprises 16 men’s teams and will soon expand to 10 women’s teams.
  • 10 teams get direct entry, while 6 come through qualification for the men’s tournament.
  • The T20 World Cup introduced a 16-team format in 2016 for wider inclusiveness.
  • A structured qualification process ensures Associate teams get opportunities.
  • More teams could be added in future editions as T20 cricket expands globally.


The T20 World Cup has significantly grown since the first 12-team edition in 2007. The current 16 men’s and 10 women’s teams provide comprehensive representation as T20 cricket flourishes worldwide.

While some challenges exist, expansion has increased inclusiveness and competitiveness. More teams could potentially be added going forward to make it a truly global celebration of T20 cricket.

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