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Explainer: ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Super League

When England host Ireland for three ODIs starting 30 July, it will mark the start of the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Super League. What is the tournament all about? We break it down for you.
World Cup trophy

What is the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Super League?

The Super League is a brand new ODI competition, which takes place across two years and aims to raise the stakes of bilateral 50-over games. In its first edition, the Super League will help decide which teams feature in the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023 in India.

How many teams are involved?

Thirteen teams are taking part in this competition. These are the 12 Full Member nations, along with the Netherlands.

The Netherlands earned their place as the 13th team by winning the ICC World Cricket League Championship back in 2017. It was a massive moment for Dutch sport, and you can see in this video what it meant for them!

Video cwc19 20 Dec 17
The Netherlands win World Cricket League Championship to book the 13th and final spot in new ODI league
There was exhilaration and excitement as the world welcomed its newest ODI member. The Netherlands dominated the ICC World Cricket League Championship, winning 10 out of its 14 games to claim the 13th position in the league. This means that it will now play 24 ODIs against Full Members from 2020-22 for 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup qualification. Having lost ODI status three years ago, this marks a big leap forward for Dutch cricket.

What does the new tournament mean for the World Cup?

The CWC Super League is an important tournament for teams on the #RoadTo2023. 

It all depends on where the teams finish on the Super League points table. India, who are the hosts in 2023, and the other top seven teams will qualify automatically for the World Cup. The bottom five teams will play a qualifying tournament, which will also feature the best teams from the lower rungs of competition.

If you think of it like steps, with the World Cup right on top, Super League is the level right below that, followed by CWC League 2 and CWC Challenge League

Since each point matters, there will be no dead rubbers and teams will always have to be at their very best.

How does it work?

Each team in the Super League plays three ODIs against eight other teams. Four of these are home series and four are away series. This means each team plays a total of 24 ODIs that will earn them points on the #RoadTo2023. 

An added benefit is that teams just outside of the top 10 in the current rankings have more chances to play more ODIs against the top teams, helping them improve their levels as well. 

But not everyone plays everyone? 

That's right. The Super League works within the parameters of the existing Future Tours Programme (FTP) between Members. In this aspect, this league too is like the World Test Championship.

How does the points system work?

Each team gets 10 points for a win, five for a tie/ no result/ abandoned match, and zero for a loss. See the points table here.

Are there other tweaks to the playing conditions?

The ICC have announced that all front-foot no-balls will be called by the third umpire. Teams will also have points deducted for slow over-rates. You can find the detailed playing conditions here.

Do all ODIs now come under the Super League?

No. Teams will also play bilateral ODIs between each other outside of the Super League. In some cases, they may play say four or five matches in a series, but only three pre-decided matches will count for Super League points.

And all ODIs will continue to count towards MRF Tyres ICC ODI Team Rankings.

Anything else one should know? 

The Super League was scheduled to start on 1 May 2020 and conclude on 31 March 2022. However, the global pandemic has forced some series, including the Netherlands v Pakistan matches in July, to be postponed. Some fixtures are under discussion. Keep an eye on the CWC Super League fixtures list and icc-cricket.com for updates!