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Teams set for T20 qualifiers

ICC reveal format that will decide who goes to Sri Lanka

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The International Cricket Council have revealed the qualifying format for the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka next autumn.

A total of 16 teams will fight it out in the United Arab Emirates from March 13-24, with the tournament winners set to join Australia and the West Indies and the runners-up grouped with defending champions England and the 2007 champions India.

The teams have been divided into two groups with Afghanistan, Netherlands, Canada, Papua New Guinea, Hong Kong, Bermuda, Denmark and Nepal forming Group A and Ireland, Kenya, Scotland, Namibia, Uganda, Oman, Italy and the USA in Group B.

The group winners will feature in the first qualifying final at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on March 22 with the victor sealing a place in the World Twenty20 being staged later in the year.

Meanwhile, the sides that finished second will face the teams that finished third in the opposing group and the two winners will progress to the preliminary final on March 23.

The winner of that game will then face the losing side from the first qualifying final on March 24, with the winners of the two qualifying finals, who will both have already secured their spots in the tournament proper, then facing each other that evening.

The ICC's global development manager Tim Anderson said: "This final qualifier is the last step of a pathway that comprised 13 ICC regional tournaments during 2010 and 2011 and saw the involvement of over 90 ICC Associate and Affiliate members.

"The 72-match format has been designed to give the best sides every chance of making the final."

The last qualifier, also held in the UAE last year, saw Afghanistan and Ireland progress.