Image Source : GETTY Pakistan and New Zealand players.

The T20 World Cup group stage is in its ending stage with only a handful of matches left before we head into the Super Eights. The teams still in contention are fighting for places in the last 8 as they look to keep their World Cup dream going. 

Six teams have been finalised for the Super 8 and two spots still remain alive with four teams fighting for them. While the fight is on for the Super Eight, there is more substance to the Group stage.

Teams reaching in the Super Eight not only keep their T20 World Cup 2024 dreams alive but, also get a direct entry into another 20-over World Cup in 2026. But how Pakistan and New Zealand are set to reach into the T20 World Cup 2026 despite not making it to the Super 8 of the 2024 edition?

T20 World Cup 2026 qualification explained

The T20 World Cup 2026 will take place in India and Sri Lanka with 20 teams – the same number of 2024 teams – participating in the tournament. 12 teams will automatically qualify for the tournament. This includes the two hosts, the Super Eight teams and top-ranked T20I sides. The other eight teams will come from the Qualifiers.

6-8 teams from the current Super Eight stage will head into the 2026 edition of the tournament directly. The count differs depending on whether India and Sri Lanka reach there. If both would play the Super Eight (which is not the case now), six from the Super Eight would reach the next World Cup and if none of them were in the last 8, then all eight Super Eight teams of 2024 apart from India and Sri Lanka, would have confirmed their place for the 2026 edition.

India and Sri Lanka will play the tournament as hosts. As Sri Lanka have been knocked out in the group stage, seven teams from the current Super Eight (excluding India) will get a direct entry in the 2026 edition. Then how Pakistan and New Zealand would make it? 

This is because, after the seven Super Eight teams and India and Sri Lanka, there will be three automatic places available for direct qualification. These three teams will be decided by T20I rankings as of June 30, 2024.

New Zealand and Pakistan are ranked World No.6 and 7 currently and don’t face danger from other teams, who rely on the rankings. The only team that challenges them is England, who are ranked 4th. They are still in the running for a place in the Super Eight of the ongoing edition. But there is no other team in reckoning to play the spoilsport for them with all the other having already reached the Super Eight.

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