Published on 13 Oct 2022 5:34 pm (UK Time)
Australia is all set to host the seventh edition of the men’s T20 World Cup, and as many as 15 nations are gearing up for a chance to claim the top prize.
The tournament begins with a qualifying round which Includes two-time champions, West Indies, and 2014 champions, Sri Lanka.
The Lankans will feature in Group A along with Namibia, Netherlands, and UAE.
West Indies will be in Group B with Scotland Ireland and Zimbabwe.
The winner of Group A along with the runner-up of Group B will then join Afghanistan, Australia, New Zealand, and England in Group 1 of the Super 12.
The runner-up of Group A and winner of Group B will feature in Group 2 along with India, Pakistan, South Africa, and Bangladesh.
The top two sides will then progress to the semi Finals.
The tournament will be played across six venues:
The Gabba: Brisbane Capacity 42,000
Optus Stadium: Perth Capacity: 60,000
MCG: Melbourne Capacity: 100,024
SCG: Sydney Capacity: 48,000
Bloodstone Arena: Hobart Capacity: 20,000
Australia usually produces true, fast, and bouncy surfaces for their matches, but as this is an ICC event, it will be fascinating to see what sort of surfaces they provide for each match.
We start off with the defending champions, who beat New Zealand in the Final of last year’s rearranged tournament in the UAE. India was supposed to be the host nation for the 2020 edition, but due to the COVID pandemic, the country was on the red list for the number of cases occurring, hence the shift to the UAE was required, in order for the tournament to take place.
Aaron Finch’s side went through the whole tournament losing just one game to Ashes rivals England. David Warner was the star of the campaign. The left-handed opener scored a total of 289 runs in all seven matches. The 35-year-old has 2,811 runs in at a strike rate of 143 can he make an impact on this year’s tournament?
Meanwhile, Josh Hazlewood has been the go-to man with the ball. The 31-year-old has 48 wickets in 31 matches in T20 internationals.
He was also the seventh-highest wicket-taker in this year’s IPL with 20 wickets in 12 matches for Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Perhaps an underdog, who could surprise a few teams if conditions are in their favor. Afghanistan became a cricketing nation in 2001, however, it was not until 2017, that it became a full member of the ICC.
This was due to the Taliban takeover in 1996. The nation participated in its first World T20 in 2010 in the West Indies.
Mohammad Nabi will lead the side and will be crucial for his side’s chances. He is the number one ranked All-rounder in T20 cricket with 1,669 runs with 83 wickets from 101 matches is quite impressive. Nabi took over the captaincy from
Wrist spinner Rashid Khan has been the country’s most consistent performer in this format. 118 wickets in 71 matches at an economy rate of 6.24 is just outstanding, particularly for T20 cricket. Currently ranked number two in the T20 rankings. The main reason for this is that he has so many variations to his bowling and his accuracy is immaculate and consistent, that batsmen find it difficult to score boundaries off him.
Ramanullah Gurbaz is another player to watch out for in this year’s tournament. The 20-year-old had a decent Aisa Cup in the UAE, where he scored a total of 152 runs in five matches, at an average of 30.40, and a strike rate of 163.44, which was the second-highest of the tournament behind SKY'(Suryakumar Yadav), who had a strike rate of 163.52. How will he cope with the fast and bouncy pitches in Australia?
Bangladesh has always been consistent when it comes to qualifying for the main stages of this tournament. However, unlike the other main ICC nations, they have failed to reach the last four in any of the previous seven editions.
Currently ranked ninth in the world, Captain Shakib Al Hasan will be keen to put things right for his side Down Under.
The left-arm spinning All-rounder is ranked second in the T20 rankings. He has a total of 2,131 runs at a strike rate of 121.49, along with 122 wickets, at an economy of 6.71. The 35-year-old will be the most crucial asset to Banglades with his capabilities with the bat, ball, and in the field.
The winners of the 2010 tournament are not a side to be messed around with. After the heartbreak in the 2016 final, Eoin Morgan led the side to the semi-finals of the 2021 tournament, where they fell at the hands of New Zealand.
Jos Buttler will be leading the side for this year’s edition with former white-ball Captain Eoin Morgan retiring from international cricket in June. The squad is already in Australia playing a three-match Series against Aaron Finch’s side.
Opener Alex Hales impressed many England fans with an 84, in the first innings.
The Captain also got into the act, with 68 off 32.
While Right-Arm Speedseter Mark Wood impressed in the field with figures of 3-34.
Judging how previous tournaments have gone, you would expect England to be there or thereabouts when it comes to contesting for the trophy, particularly if Buttler’s boys start the tournament well.
The winners of the inaugural tournament have been brilliant in bilateral T20 Series, but ever since that magical moment in South Africa T20 Series, they have crumbled under pressure. twice under MS Dhoni in the finals of 2014 and 2016, and then Virat Kohli.
In the 2021 edition, Kohli’s side was criticized for their conservative approach with the bat, as they were dumped out at the Super-12, following back-to-back defeats to arch-rivals Pakistan and New Zealand.
This time, the team is under the leadership of Rohit Sharma, who has Captained Mumbai Indians to five IPL Titles. they had a slightly better Asia Cup, reaching the Super-Fours, however, they fell at the hands of eventual winners, Sri Lanka.
However, as a moral boost, they did beat South Africa and Australia in a three-match Series at home.
Suryakumar Yadav, currently ranked 2nd in the world rankings has been the stand-out batsman for the Men In Blue. The stylish, unorthodox right-hander has had a phenomenal few months with the bat, scoring 1045 runs in 34 matches this year, at an incredible strike rate of 176.81.
He is a 360 batsman, which means that he can score runs in all areas of the field, especially with those loose wrists of his. India will be hoping that he and the likes of Kohli, Sharma, and Rishabh Pant, put up a strong display of batting, to help out their bowlers.
As for the bowling department, the Indians suffered a big blow by losing veteran speedster, Jasprit Bumrah, who injured his back just before the start of the T20 Series against South Africa. Bumrah was going to be the leader of the attack, and one of his main skills was bowling at the death, especially those toe-crushing yorkers.
However, Arshdeep Singh may just prove to be the correct replacement for him, as the young left-arm pacer has had a great start to his international career.
His strengths are similar to Bumrah, and he just loves to bowl those yorkers. 19 wickets from 13 matches are quite impressive. His economy rate of 8.14 is slightly concerning, but he is likely to have experienced pacer Mohammed Shami or Mohammed Siraj(Bumrah’s possible replacement) at the other end as a mentor to help him out.
Embed from Getty Imagesnaational
The Irish started their cricketing identity as an associate nation in 1993, however, it wasn’t until 2007 that they received full status as a member of the ICC. They have qualified for the Super 12s in four out of the last five tournaments.
One of their consistent performers has been opening batsman Paul Sterling, who has 2,935 runs in 107 T20Is, with a strike rate of 135.1.
He and Captain Andrew Ballbirnie, who has 1,657 runs in 79 at a strike rate of 126 will be crucial to Ireland’s hopes with the bat.
As for bowling, pacer Joshua Little will be hoping to do the business for Ballbirnie’s side. He has 51 wickets in 46 matches, with an economy rate of 7.76.
And with experienced Left-arm spinner George Dockrell in the line-up, the Irish have a decent bowling attack to depend on, providing they get enough runs on the board.
The 30-year-old has 80 wickets in 105 T20 matches for the nation, at an economy rate of 7.11. Although his econ, rate is slightly expensive, Ireland will be hoping that he does business in Australia.
UAE was the nation’s first appearance n the Super 12.
The winners of the 2009 edition had an impressive 2021 tournament, reaching the semi-finals, where they lost by five wickets to the holders Australia. Babar Azam’s men also reached the Final of the Asia Cup that took place at the end of the summer, but they fell at the last hurdle at the hands of Sri Lanka.
They just recently lost a closely fought 7-match Series again England 4-3.
Wrist Spinner Shadab Khan has been one of the country’s consistent bowlers in this format. Although he is ranked in 14th place, he has 86 wickets at an average of 21.84 with an economy rate of 7.08. He has only played one T20 in Australian conditions, where he had figures of 0-25 from four overs. Can he improve on that stat this time?
The Proteas have reached the semis of this competition on two occasions, with the last being in 2014 when they lost to Runners Up, India. Last year they finished third in Group 1 of the Super 12s, so they were unable to qualify for the semis.
This time, Captain Temba Bavuma is hoping to put things right, despite losing a closely fought three-match Series against India.
Quinton de Kock and David Miller were the two bright spots with the bat for South Africa,
The Left-Handed opener scored 138 runs at a strike rate of 145.26, and at the other end, South Africa’s Vice-Captain scored 125 runs, at a rate of 235, which was the highest in the Series.
Meanwhile, the Left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj impressed with four wickets, at an economy rate of 7.09 in all three games.
Surprisingly, Tabraiz Shamsi, who is ranked fourth, only got one game, where he had figures of 0-27 from 2.4 overs. As South Africa did not have enough runs on the board in the first game, it seemed a little harsh to leave him out of the next to matches. Surely he will be part of their plans in Australia.
The Aisa Cup champions claimed the title in 2014, beating India in Bangladesh. This year, Dasun Shanaka surprised the odds, by winning the Cup for the sixth time in 15 editions.
Chanuka Rajapaksa was the top batsman for the Lankans with 191 runs at a very impressive strike rate of 149.21. Currently ranked 32 in the world, he and Pathum Nissanka will be hoping to get among the runs in this tournament.
Leg spinners and mystery spin has been like gold dust to teams in this format, and Sri Lanka is lucky to have two of them.
Wanindu Hasaranga and Maheesh Theekshana have been the go-to bowlers for Sri Lanka in this format. Theekshana is in fifth place in the rankings, while Hasaranga is in third. The mystery spinner(Theekshana) has 22 wickets in 24 T20Is, at an average of 27.27 and an economy rate of 6.52, and the wrist spinner(Hasaranga) has 71 wickets in 44 matches, at an average of 14.74, and an economy rate of 6.72. Will they prove to be as effective on Australian soil?
The champions of 2012 and 2016, are currently outside the top eight ranked sides, hence they are currently in the Group Stages of this competition.
Nicholas Pooran’s side is due to begin their campaign against Scotland on Monday, and they will be keen to make it to the Super 12 for the seventh successive time.
The Captain himself remains a key asset to his chances with the bat. He has 1,402 runs in 61 innings, at a strike rate of 130.7 with nine half-centuries.
Brandon King is another young player to watch out for in this year’s tournament. He was the Top scorer in this year’s CPL(Caribbean Premier League) with 422 runs at a strike rate of 135.26. Can he prove his potential on one of cricket’s biggest stages?
As far as bowling goes, Left-arm spinner Akeal Hossein will be hoping to deliver the goods for the Windies. He has 23 wickets in 29 matches, with an economy rate of 6.93.
Alzarri Joseph also had a very good CPL, picking up 18 wickets at a rate of 6.50. The 25-year old is still relatively young in his international T20 carear, picking up 10 wickets in 7 mattches, ast an economy of 7.71. However, as the conditions in Australia are likely to favour fast bowlers, can he improve on that stat to help the Windies bid for a third T20 crown?
So that’s it for World in Sport’s preview of the T20 World Cup, who will take home the glory?
Find out on World In Sport.