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T20 World Cup: England grouped with Australia, reigning champions West Indies and South Africa

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The groups have been revised based on the ICC’s rankings as of March 20, and Eoin Morgan’s side will consider their new Group 1 opponents slightly tougher than their original ones; watch the first T20 international between England and Pakistan, live on Sky Sports Cricket from 6pm on Friday

England have been grouped with rivals Australia in this year's T20 World Cup

England have been grouped with rivals Australia in this year’s T20 World Cup

England have been grouped with rivals Australia, reigning champions the West Indies and South Africa in this year’s Twenty20 World Cup in the UAE, with India and Pakistan also set to meet in the Super 12 stage.

The groups have been revised based on the International Cricket Council’s rankings as of March 20, and Eoin Morgan’s side will consider their new Group 1 opponents slightly tougher than their original ones – India, South Africa and Afghanistan.

As well as the first game between India and Pakistan since 2019, Group 2 includes New Zealand and Afghanistan.

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Both groups will be topped up by two qualifiers from the first round, which is contested by Ireland, Scotland, Holland, Namibia, Sri Lanka, Papua New Guinea, Bangladesh and hosts Oman.

ICC acting chief executive Geoff Allardice said: “We are delighted to announce the groups for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021. There are some great matchups offered by the groups and it starts to bring the event to life for our fans as our first multi-team event since the onset of the global pandemic draws closer.

“Given the disruption caused by COVID-19, we selected the cut-off date as close as possible to the event to ensure we were able to include the maximum amount of cricket in the rankings which determine the groups. There is no doubt we will witness some highly competitive cricket when the event gets underway in just three months.”

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Morgan: Last chance to impress before World Cup

Eoin Morgan says England are likely to rotate their side during the IT20 series against Pakistan with players given a “last chance” to impress before the T20 World Cup this autumn.

A revamped England side dominated the one-day international series after the initial squad was forced into self-isolation due to a coronavirus outbreak and while the majority of the first-choice group are back for the T20s, stars of the 50-over triumph – Saqib Mahmood, Lewis Gregory and Matt Parkinson – are also included in the squad.

With the T20 World Cup now just three months away, this series represents one of the last opportunities for Morgan to assess his options ahead of the tournament, and it’s one he intends to take.

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When asked if there would be more rotation among England’s squad of 16 for the three-match series, Morgan said; “There are very few opportunities [left], and not knowing what is ahead of ourselves, we need to look a little bit more at our strength in depth.

“You’ll see opportunities for the guys in the squad over the course of the next three games – going through various different options for possible injury replacements for certain players.

“That’s the priority throughout the series, treating it as our last chance to look at guys in various different positions.”

Watch the first T20 international between England and Pakistan, live on Sky Sports Cricket from 6pm on Friday.

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