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The 2027 ICC World Cup will feature 14 teams and a total of 54 games, in a return to the format followed during the 2003 Cricket World Cup. The 2003 edition in South Africa -- in which India reached the final -- was the last one to feature a Super Six stage after the initial group stage.

The 2007 edition in the West Indies had a Super Eight stage after which the International Cricket Council (ICC) reverted to a group format followed directly by the knockouts, starting with the quarter-finals, for the 2011 and 2015 editions held in South Asia and Down Under.

The ICC reduced the number of participating teams from 14 to 10 for the 2019 edition held in England, where every team took on the other in a round-robin stage followed by the semi-finals. The same format that had been followed for the 1992 edition in Australia and New Zealand.

The number of teams remains the same – 10 -- for the 2023 edition, which will be held in India, where the round-robin format will be followed again.

However, for the 2027 and 2031 editions, the 14 participating teams will be divided into two groups of seven each. The top three teams from each group will progress to the Super Six stage, where they will play against the top three sides from the other group.

They will also carry forward points from the group stage; in 2003, the teams progressing to the Super Six stage carried forward four points for a win over a fellow qualifier and two for a tie or no-result, and one point for a win over a non-qualifier and 0.5 for a tie or no-result.

Eventually, the top four sides from the Super Six stage will enter the semi-finals, to be followed by the final. Australia, India, Kenya and Sri Lanka were the top-four teams in the 2003 World Cup after the end of the Super Six stage.

There will be a total of 42 group games (21 for each group) in the 2027 World Cup, followed by nine Super Six matches, and ending with the two semi-finals and the final.

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Featured photo: AFP / LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI

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