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UAE And Oman Set For T20 World Cup

Last Updated on 14 Oct 2021 9:48 pm (UK Time)

The seventh edition of the T20 World Cup is almost upon us and the UAE and Oman are all set to host this exciting event. India was originally stated to host this event, but due to the COVID Pandemic, the tournament has shifted to the home of the ICC.

The tournament begins with a qualifying round for the non-associated members of the ICC, which includes: Hosts Oman, Papua New Guinea, Scotland, Namibia, Netherlands, Ireland, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. Namibia will be aiming to make a second appearance at an ICC event since the 50-Over World Cup in 2003.

The eight teams will be split into two groups, A and B. Group A features Ireland, Netherlands, Namibia, and Sri Lanka. Group B includes Bangladesh, Scotland, Oman, and Ireland. The top two teams from each group will join the other eight Test nations in the super 12s.

The Super 12s, which begin on 24th October will consist of two groups of six, England, Australia, West Indies and the top two qualifiers from Group A will feature in one group while India, Pakistan, New Zealand, Afghanistan, and the two qualifiers from Group B will play in the other.

The top two teams will then progress to the semi-finals with the final being played on 14th November.

The tournament will take place across three venues:

Dubai – Capacity: 25,000

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Abu Dhabi – Capacity: 20,000

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Sharjah – Capacity: 27,000

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These pitches are usually conducive to assisting spinners, however, as this is an ICC event, it will be interesting to see what kind of surfaces they produce for the tournament itself.

West Indies

The defending champions having won the 2016 edition in India. Currently ranked ninth in the world, Kieron Pollard and his men will have it all to do, in order to retain their title.

Key Batsman – Evin Lewis

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The key thing for any team is getting off to a quick start, especially with the bat. Opening batsman Evin Lewis has been in scintillating form, particularly for Rajasthan Royals in the IPL (Indian Premier League). He along with Yashasvi Jaiswal has been pretty good at the top of the order.

The belligerent left-hander scored a total of 151 runs in five matches for the Royals with a strike rate of 162.36. there is no doubt that he and Chris Gayle could form a dangerous partnership at the top of the order, but the question is, can he along with the likes of Shimron Hetmyer, Nicholas Pooran, Andre Russell and skipper Kieron Pollard deliver the goods when it really matters?

Key Bowler – Dwayne Bravo

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The Trinidadian all-rounder has been one of the go-to bowlers for the West Indies, especially in the death overs. Bravo is also the leading wicket-taker for the Windies in T20 Internationals. A big part of this is excellent yorkers and slower deliveries, in which he manages to make the ball dip before it reaches the batsman and deceives them by pace.

However, bowling is not the only skill he poses, the 38-year old can prove to be a useful finisher down the order as well. Bravo has a strike rate of 115.61 in T20. In this year’s IPL, his average has risen up to 47. He is also having a good IPL with the Chennai Super Kings, who are in this year’s final. Can he carry on that form into the World Cup?

India

The winners of the inaugural World Cup in 2007 look in decent shape heading into this addition. This will also be Kohli’s last tournament as T20 Captain having chosen to step down after the tour of England. There is no doubt that he would want to end his reign on a high by lifting that World Cup.

Key Bowlers – Jasprit Bumrah (top), Bhuvneshwar Kumar (bottom)

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The leaders of India’s bowling attack will be pivotal to India’s hopes in the World Cup. Although Bumrah is ranked 33rd in the world, his toe-crushing yorkers will still make him a lethal option for Kohli to use, particularly in the crunch moments of games.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar is another bowler who Kohli could turn to if a game gets tight. Kumar may look like an ordinary medium-fast swing bowler, but he has the brain of a tactician when it comes to bowling in T20 cricket. Not only can he swing the ball both ways, but he also has a good yorker along with an excellent variety of slower balls, including the knuckleball, which can be very useful on slow pace wickets.

Not only does India have a formidable pace bowling attack, but their spinners can be a threat too. Kohli will have his Test match spin duo in Ashwin and Jadeja, but the selectors have also decided to add a bit of mystery off-spin and wrist spin in the bowling depart hence why the decision to bring in Varun Chakravarthy (1st picture, centre) and Rahul Chahar (2nd picture) could be a stroke of genius.

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Before the 2019 50-Over World Cup, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal were the go-to spin bowlers for India in white-ball cricket. However, their confidence in bowling post then has somewhat drifted in the other direction, while the likes of Chakravarthy and Chahar have made great strides in the last two years with their bowling. Hence why their inclusion in the team may prove to be beneficial to Kohli, particularly if there is some purchase in the wicket.

Top Order Crucial for India’s Batting

As for the top order, Kohli and Rohit Sharma are likely to open the batting, but who will be their no.3 and 4. K.L Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav seem to be the leading candidates to fit into that role, but Suryakumar Yadav (pictured) could also be used as a finisher in case the likes of Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya fail to deliver.

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Another decision for India to make is whether or not Ishan Kishan gets any games?

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The young, dynamic young keeper-batsman is in the side as the second keeper batsman to Rishabh Pant. However, as we saw in the England series and for Mumbai Indians, he can be used as a top-order batsman, who can potentially open the batting if need be.

England

Key Batsman – Dawid Malan

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If Joe Root is the glue of England’s batting in Test and ODI’S, Middlesex’s Dawid Malan seems to be the glue of the T20 side. The number one ranked T20 player will hold the key to Eoin Morgan’s side posting competitive totals on the board.

It was always going to be a toss between him and Root as to who was going to get the role of being the glue of the batting and hold the innings together? But Malan’s emergence as a T20 batsman over the past two years has pipped the Test skipper’s chances of getting into the squad.

The Yorkshire left-handed batsman has scored a total of 1,123 runs in T20 Internationals, with an average of 43.19. He has been the most consistent batsman for England in T20I’s and will be pivotal for their chances with the bat along with Jason Roy (top picture) and Jos Buttler (bottom picture) at the top of the order.

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Key Bowler – Adil Rashid:

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Wrist spin has been quite an effective weapon to use for teams in T20 cricket, and England is lucky to have one in the form of Rashid.

Rashid was the joint highest wicket-taker along with Adam Milne and Marchant De Lange in England’s new franchise league The Hundred. the three of them picked up 12 wickets each, and Morgan will be hoping for more from the classy wrist spinner.

Australia

The boys from down under are yet to win a T20 World Cup to go with their four 50-Over World Cups. Their best World Cup was in 2010 in the West Indies, where they lost to Paul Collingwood’s England in the final. They have reached the semis on two occasions, in 2007 and 2012. Can they go one better in the UAE and Oman?

Key Batsman – Aaron Finch

Captain Finch will hold the key to Australia’s batting. The number three ranked batsman in the World along with David Warner will be crucial for the team to get off to a good start in the powerplay.

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Due to knee surgery, the quick scoring right-hander has been out of the game for three months having picked up the injury on the West Indies tour. Australia will be hoping that their captain is back to his blistering form in which he showed before his injury.

Australia’s middle-order looks pretty solid with the likes of Steve Smith and Glen Maxwell in the team, however, it will be interesting to see how Josh Inglis (pictured below), who played for London Spirit in the Hundred, fares in the International arena. The exciting right-handed middle-order batsman could be set to make his International debut in the UAE next month.

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Key Bowler – Adam Zampa

These leg spinners just keep appearing everywhere in T20 cricket. Australia has found a gem in Adam Zampa. Currently ranked seventh in the world, the New South Wales wrist-spinner will also have a key role to play on the spinning pitches of the UAE.

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Zampa has played 50 T20 internationals for the country picking up 52 wickets at an average of 23.42. His average in the UAE is 37.28, so Australia will look to him as the main spinner. He also had a stint in the IPL in 2019, where he joined Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore. Whether that stint was useful or not is another matter, but Australia will want him to deliver the goods.

Another bowler who could be crucial to Australia’s chances is Mitchell Starc (pictured below). The left-arm speedster is excellent when it comes to bowling those toe-crushing yorkers. Although he may not be at his best, those yorkers can be lethal if he gets it right.

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Josh Hazlewood (above) is another bowler who could be useful in Australia’s quest to win the World T20. The Tamworth-born seam bowler has been in good form picking up wickets for MS Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings in the powerplay. There is no doubt that he and Starc will be crucial, especially with the new ball.

Afghanistan

Key Bowler – Rashid Khan

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The number one T20 bowler in the world will be pivotal for Afghanistan’s hopes in this World Cup. This young leg spinner has been bamboozling some of the world’s best batsmen with his bag of tricks, who is to say that he won’t have any more tricks up his sleeve? He will also be captaining the side for the last time in T20Is.

Another bowler to look out for is his spin twin Mujeeb Ur Rahman (pictured below), who also has a few tricks up his sleeve.

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If the Afghans manage to get a competitive score on the board, these two mystery spinners could be a major threat, particularly if the pitch starts to spin.

New Zealand

The 50-Over World Cup runners-up are not a team to be taken lightly. Ranked fourth in the T20 rankings, Kane Williamson’s Kiwis will want to better that stat. If New Zealand wins this competition, they will be the first team to win two major trophies in one year, having become World Test Champions in June.

Key BatsmanDevon Conway,

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Since the retirement of Brendon McCullum in 2016, Martin Guptil has been looking for someone to partner him at the top of the order in limited-overs cricket. The Kiwis have tried various players from Colin Munro to Luke Ronchi, but none of them have really been able to cement their place at the top of the order, especially in the shortest format.

Conway, born in South Africa made his debut for New Zealand against West Indies in November 2020. This was due to his performances in the New Zealand A side. The left-handed opening batsman has played 14 T20 matches for the country and has accumulated 473 at an average of 59.1 and a strike rate of 151.1. He also lies in fifth place in the World T20 Batsman rankings. Williamson will be hoping that Conway can get the team off to a flyer, especially in the powerplay.

Key Bowler – Lockie Ferguson

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The New Zealand speedster Is another bowler to look out for in this year’s tournament. Bowling thunderbolts at 150kph takes some doing, particularly if you want to consistently bowl at that speed. But what has been so impressive from the Kiwi is not only his consistency in speed but accuracy as well.

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Besides Ferguson, Tim Southee and Trent Boult have been excellent with swinging the new ball. If they can continue to consistently take wickets during the powerplay as well as in the death overs, the Kiwis will definitely be in with a shout of claiming their first limited-overs trophy.

Pakistan

The winners of the 2009 tournament are not a side to be taken lightly. As Imran Khan once said: “We fight like tigers”. Currently ranked third in the world, Babar Azam’s men will be hoping to challenge England and India for that top spot, which they could achieve by winning the tournament.

They failed to make it out of the Super 10s stage in the 2016 tournament. Sri Lanka 2012 was when they made the semi-finals and lost to the hosts by 16 runs. They will be hoping for a better campaign in what was their temporary home not so long ago due to security problems in their own country.

Key Batsman – Babar Azam

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Pakistan’s Captain holds the key with their chances in this year’s T20 World Cup. The number two ranked batsman along with keeper Mohammed Rizwan has been influential to the team’s success in the shortest format.

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Babar was also the leading run-scorer in the PSL (Pakistan Super League) with 554 runs ahead of Rizwan, scored 470 runs. Their experience in scoring quick runs will be vital for the team.

Key Bowler – Shaheen Shah Afridi

Pakistan has always been a country that has been blessed with fast bowlers who can reverse swing the ball. One of the most potent deliveries they can bowl in an in-swinging yorker, and left-arm pacer Shaheen Afridi is not a bad exponent in doing so.

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The 21-year old has taken 32 wickets in 30 T20 internationals with a strike rate of 20.10. He was also the third-highest wicket-taker in this year’s PSL with 16 wickets. Babar will be hoping for more from the speedster come the start of the tournament.

Sri Lanka

The winners of the 2014 edition have it all to do if they want to win their second title. Dasun Shanaka will be leading a group of highly talented players who will be eager to do their country proud.

Key Batsman – Kusal Perera

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Not only does the squad contain youth, but it also has experience as well. Kusal Perera will be crucial for their batting. The free-scoring left-hander is third in the list of all-time run-scorers for Sri Lanka in T20 cricket behind Mahela Jayawardene and Tillakaratne Dilshan. He is likely to open the batting with the highly talented Avishka Fernando (pictured below) who is becoming a bright prospect for the Lankans.

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The talented right-hander has scored 273 runs at a strike rate of 96.12, however, his strike rate in the sub-continental conditions is 100.47, so he will want to make full use of it in the UAE.

Key Bowler – Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva

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Sri Lanka has also been a cricketing nation full of world-class spinners be it Ajantha Mendis or the great Muttiah Muralitharan. Aiming to be their successor is the young wrist-spinner Hasaranga de Silva.

The 24-year old was the leading wicket-taker in this year’s LPL(Lanka Premier League), with a total of 17 wickets at an average of 11.29 and an economy rate of 5.18. He has played in 25 T20 Internationals for the country picking up 36 wickets at an economy rate of 6.57. Skipper Shanaka will be hoping that de Silva carries the form he showed in the LPL into the ICC T20 World Cup.

Bangladesh

The Tigers had a Super 10 stage fo forget in India 2016. after almost beating hosts India and Australia they were blown out of the competition by suffering two more heavy defeats to Pakistan and New Zealand. They have three qualifies to play and will have to win at least two of them to get to this year’s Super 12 stage.

Key Bowler – Mustafizur Rahman

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The number eight ranked bowler in the world will hold the key for the Tigers with the ball. ‘The Fiz’ has taken 76 wickets in 52 T20 internationals for the Tigers. He is a left-arm pace bowler with a variety of slower balls up his sleeve. What is so special about this bowler is his bowling arm speed. Like Rashid Khan, whether he bowls a quicker or slower delivery, the arm speed is always the same, which as a batsman is tricky to face.

The Fiz recently played for the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL. He took 14 wickets with an economy rate of 8.41 and an average of 31.14. This was his best season since his debut in 2016, where he took 17 wickets at a rate of 6’90 runs per over. The Tigers will be hoping he can produce a similar kind of performance or better in the World T20.

All-rounder – Shakib Al Hasan

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The veteran left-arm spinning all-rounder will be another key player for the Tigers in this tournament. The number two T20 all-rounder in the world is a fantastic all-around cricketer. Handy with the bat, brilliant with the ball, and exceptional in the field. He is arguably the best cricketer Bangladesh has produced.

1763 runs to go with 106 wickets at an average of 20.68, you can’t ask for anything more. With an IPL final to play with Kolkata Knight Riders tomorrow, who is to say that he won’t be hungry for more success for his country as well?

So who will take home the glory? Tune into World in Sport to find out.


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