Afghanistan have secured direct qualification to the World Twenty20 in 2020, ahead of Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and Ireland.
The Afghans will accompany Pakistan, India, England, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and the West Indies in the so-called ‘Super 12s’, while the Sri Lankans, Bangladeshis, Zimbabweans and Irish will need to qualify for the stage.
Afghanistan gained the advantage over Sri Lanka and the three others by finishing in the top eight of the International Cricket Council’s rankings for T20I teams at the end of 2018.
‘It is a bit disappointing that we have not been able to ensure a direct Super 12s berth, but I’m confident that we will do well in the tournament,’ Sri Lanka T20I captain Lasith Malinga told the ICC.
‘Having played three finals and winning once, it is natural that everyone expected us to finish in the top eight but we have to take the opportunity in the extra matches of the group stage and prepare well for the knock-out matches.’
Sri Lanka won the World T20 in 2014.
The West Indies are the reigning champions after beating India in 2016’s final. The men from the Caribbean also clinched the title in 2012, when Sri Lanka were runners-up.
India triumphed in the inaugural tournament, which was hosted by South Africa in 2007.
Pakistan and England claimed the trophy in 2008 and 2009 respectively.
Australia will host the 2020 tournament.