The T20 World Cup is due to take place in the United Arab Emirates and Oman this time round after its scheduled venue, India, was required to be changed due to Covid-19 concerns in the country. It will now run from 17th October 2021 to the 14th November. The upcoming tournament will be the first Men’s T20 World Cup since 2016 where West Indies beat England in the final in India.
12 teams will compete in the Super 12 round after the qualifying round and matches will be played in two groups. Sports betting sites are suggesting that India and England are the two favourites to lift the trophy, though the West Indies will be looking to become the first-ever-three-time champions in the tournaments history.
Two groups of six will be set out in the Super 12 with Group 1 containing defending champions West Indies, Australia, South Africa and England. Group 2 will see Pakistan, New Zealand and Afghanistan join inaugural champions India.
Four more sides will enter through qualifying and being split across the two groups to complete the line-ups. Amongst those looking to join the Super 12 will be Sri Lanka, Ireland, the Netherlands, Namibia, Bangladesh, Papau New Guinea, Oman and Scotland.
India are looking in a good place for the T20 World Cup, their side is full of stars that have also played a lot of cricket in the UAE over the past two years. With the IPL 2020 being played in the UAE the likes of KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma have all played well and will be ready for the conditions that face them. Alongside these players India Captain Virat Kohli will be looking to guide his side to their second T20 World Cup win since their 2007..
England will go into the tournament with confidence, though will be aware of the difficult conditions that face their side. Their frontline batsmen, including Jason Roy, Jos Butler and Eoin Morgan are amongst the most brutal in the game and can post huge numbers though all have one thing in common, they can struggle against spin. Last year, the IPL had some of the most impressive batsmen in the world, but almost all struggled against the spin in the UAE. On the other side of the ball, England only has Adil Rashid as a premier spinner, and this could cost them in a strong group, in which case Morgan may opt to bring Moeen Ali into the side to add more depth.
Morgan has a lot of decisions to make when trying to make his final selections for the roster. One player looking likely to continue his good form in Liam Livingstone who recently hit England’s fastest-ever international century against Pakistan from just 42 deliveries. Stuart Broad is sure that England can be triumphant after their 2-1 series win in the T20 over Pakistan. Broad told Sky Sports: “I was just watching Morgan lift the trophy and I think we will win the World Cup. We have got so many bases covered. It’s all looking pretty rosy. They play fearless cricket as well so it just feels like we are going to win the World Cup.”
Led by Kieron Pollard, the West Indies have been on strong form in the T20 form of cricket and will feel they have everything in place to defend their title. They have a strong battling line-up and an envied selection of all-rounders in their side who will pose a threat to any opposition. With the likes of Chris Gayle, Andre Russell and Dwayne Bravo, they have headline players who can hit big totals and dominate matches. Despite this, one the most consistent criticisms of this West Indies T20 side is that they are too reliant on boundary-hitting. They take too many scoreless balls trying to go for bog scores and can struggle to overcome quality bowling in the big events.
The West Indies are part of the group of death with England, Australia and South Africa. With only two sides able to advance the Caribbean side will need to work on their consistency going into the tournament in order to overcome some of the top sides in T20 cricket.
Australia come into the World Cup with unimpressive form and will be looking at revenge against the West Indies in their group game after losing a 4-1 series to the Caribbean side this summer. They will have to find a way of bringing the best out of Ashton Agar who’s ability to bat at six and seven also make him a key part of the T20 side and a player who will be leaned on to help the side compete in a tough group.
Alongside the big names, Afghanistan comes into the T20 as dark horses. Ever improving, with a number of players playing regular cricket in the UAE, they will be looking to cause an upset in Group 2. Not a side considered to for the trophy, but this Afghanistan side could steal away a place in the next round from Pakistan and New Zealand and captain Rashid Khan will be a big part of this.
It’s hard to see past the top sides in the tournament and their respective captains have a lot to consider when naming their sides. India will hope to make this their second T20I World Cup success and their player’s experiences in the UAE and solid mixture of talent will add to Kohli’s hopes of ending their 14-year wait for the trophy.