The 2027 men’s ODI World Cup will feature 14 teams after the ICC Board decided to expand the quadrennial tournament in its next cycle of events. The decision came after a meeting on Tuesday amid a raft of significant changes to the ICC events calendar from 2023-2031, including an expanded, 20-team men’s T20 World Cup – to be held every two years – and a return of the 50-over Champions Trophy.
The Champions Trophy will return as it left in 2017, an event for the top eight ODI teams, and will take place first in 2025 and again in 2029.
The ICC Board also decided to continue with the format for the World Test Championship (WTC) with nine teams playing six series each to compete in the final every two years: those will be held in 2025, 2027, 2029 and 2031. The inaugural edition of the WTC will culminate in the final between India and New Zealand from June 18-22 in Southampton. The second cycle will commence immediately after the title clash.
The most significant development, however, is the expansion to the 2027 and 2031 ODI World Cups, which will now feature 54 matches each. Calls for a bigger World Cup never stopped since they began after it was decided that participation would be reduced to 10 teams after the 2015 edition. As it stands now – and cricket has flip-flopped often on the size of its premier event – the 2023 World Cup, in India, will be the last for at least a decade to feature 10 teams.
And there will be a return to the 2003 edition with a Super 6s stage, into which the top three teams from two groups of seven will proceed. That will be followed by semi-finals and the final.
What this expansion will mean for the 13-team ODI Super League is not clear. At the moment the league is the pathway into the World Cup, the top eight-ranked teams in the league going through automatically to the 2023 tournament, and a further two teams decided through a qualifier involving the bottom five sides of the league and the top five Associate sides.
The T20 World Cup, which the ICC sees as its vehicle to expanding the game, will see 20 teams spread across four groups of five each with the top two entering the Super Eights stage. The knockouts, including the semi-finals and a final, follow. The T20 World Cups, scheduled for 2024, 2026, 2028, and 2030, will comprise 55 matches each.
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The Champions Trophy will retain the same format as in the past with eight teams split across two groups of four, and the top two sides from each group making the semi-finals followed by the final.
“Having the ICC event schedule confirmed through to 2031 is a significant step forward for cricket and will form the basis of our growth strategy for the next decade,” Geoff Allardice, the ICC acting chief executive officer, said in a media release on Tuesday.