Qualifying for this yearís menís T20 World Cup hasnít even finished yet, but qualification for the 2024 tournament is already underway with European sub-regional group C (donít ask why C comes before A & B) beginning today in Belgium.

Eight teams are involved, divided into two groups. The hosts are in Group 1 alongside Denmark, Gibraltar and Hungary, whilst Group 2 features Israel, Malta, Portugal and Spain. The top two teams in each group qualify for the semi-finals and the tournament winner will reach next yearís regional qualifying final.

The hosts began their campaign with a match against Gibraltar this morning in Gent, and put their opponents into bat after winning the toss. As happened a lot during the recent Valletta Cup, captain Balaji Pai played a key role opening the innings and scoring an unbeaten 76 from 58 balls.

The only other contribution of note though came from Iain Latin, who scored 32 from 23 balls as the visitors reached 139-5 from their 20 overs. Belgiumís reply started with an opening partnership of 116 between Aziz Mohammad and Muhammad Muneeb, with the former dominating with 72 from only 29 balls.

Muneeb was the next man out for 48 from 26 balls, and at that point Belgium had almost chased down their target in half of their allotted overs, on 134-2 from ten overs. It took another two overs to knock off the remaining runs to secure a seven wicket win.

Denmark are the pre-tournament favourites, though the chasing pack are very much closing the gap, and they got their campaign off to a great start in their match against Hungary this afternoon. Batting first after winning the toss, Taranjit Bharaj clubbed 63 from 33 balls to help them post 190-4 from their 20 overs.

His innings came after openers Nicolaj Laegsgaard and Hamid Shah put on 88 with Laegsgaard scoring 45 from 28 balls and Shah making 51 from 40. Laegsgaard was then the pick of the Danish bowlers, taking 3-21 as Hungary were bowled out for 100 to lose by 90 runs.

Group 2 matches took place at the Royal Brussels Cricket Club, and Malta took on Spain in the morning match, the latter winning the toss and choosing to field first. Basil George and Varun Thamotharam were the main contributors with the bat, scoring 36 and 35 respectively as Malta scored 148-8 from their 20 overs.

Spain lost Awais Ahmed early in their reply, but an 84 run partnership between Daniel Doyle-Calle and Yasir Ali got things back on track. Doyle-Calle was the second man out having scored 50 from just 27 balls, whilst Ali stayed unbeaten, scoring 65 to help his team secure a six wicket win with eight balls to spare.

In the afternoon Group 2 match, Israel won the toss and asked Portugal to bat first. Opener Kuldeep top scored with 39, with captain Najjam Shahzad contributing 32 as they reached 155-8 from their 20 overs. Israel struggled in reply and could only score 108-6 from their 20 overs, losing by 47 runs. Amandeep Singh was the pick of the bowlers, taking 3-11.

The tournament continues tomorrow with the two groups switching venues. Group 1 will be at the Royal Brussels Cricket Club with Denmark taking on Gibraltar before hosts Belgium play Hungary. In Group 2 in Gent, Malta come up against Hungary in the morning, whilst Israel take on Spain in the afternoon.