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World T20 qualifier schedule unveiled

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England's World Twenty20 defence in Sri Lanka begins against the second team to progress from March's qualifying tournament

England are set to learn their first opponents in the defence of their World Twenty20 title on March 24.

In September Stuart Broad’s side were drawn in Group A of next September and October’s tournament in Sri Lanka, alongside 2007 champions India and a qualifying Associate or Affiliate team.

The ICC today revealed the schedule for the World T20 qualifier, to be held at five grounds across the United Arab Emirates. Sixteen nations will compete from March 13 for two places in the competition proper.

The second of those places is in England’s group, facing the champions on September 21 at Colombo’s R Premadasa Stadium. Broad’s men meet India at the same venue two days later.

The 16 teams seeking to qualify have been split into two round-robin groups. The winners of each will play off at Dubai on March 22, with the victor qualifying.

The loser has another chance to play in Sri Lanka as, meanwhile, the second and third teams from each group will compete for the right to meet them at Dubai on March 24. The winner of that contest will also qualify.

Later on March 24 the two qualifiers will play in the World T20 qualifier final, the 72nd and last match of the tournament with the winner joining Australia and West Indies in Group B and the loser going into England’s group.

Group A: Afghanistan, Netherlands, Canada, PNG, Hong Kong, Bermuda, Denmark, Nepal.
Group B: Ireland, Kenya, Scotland, Namibia, Uganda, Oman, Italy, USA.

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