Who are favourites to win T20 World Cup in USA and WI

By: Harsha Amarasinghe

May 28 (Daily Mirror) - T20 is arguably the most unpredictable format of cricket, given that little moments could have a significant effect on the final result. Recently, co-hosts United States of America (USA) defeated Bangladesh, and Ireland defeated Pakistan. In the previous World Cup Sri Lanka were outclassed by Namibia while Netherlands stunned South Africa.

Perhaps the World Cup in the USA and WI could go down as one of the most unpredictable ICC events in the history of the game, considering the fact that nobody seems to have a clear idea on what to expect from the pitches.

Going into World Cup events, there are favourites in general based on the conditions. For instance Sri Lanka were one of the clear favourites to win the T20 World Cup in 2014 which they went on to clinch eventually. They probably were even more fancied to win the World Cup in 2012 on home soil though they came second to West Indies in the final. On the other hand, not many had given Australia a chance to seal the World Cup in 2021 on dusty wickets in United Arab Emirates likewise India in 2007 when they won the first-ever T20 World Cup in bouncy tracks in South Africa.

  • So what can we expect from the upcoming World Cup?

West Indies pitches are lot more familiar when compared to USA, having hosted many top teams over the years. The wickets should support the spinners, but the boundaries are expected to be very short, so the captains will have to think twice when bringing in the spinners. One of the most iconic examples of this was when Sri Lanka played West Indies at Coolidge in 2021 where off-spinner Akila Dananjaya picked up a hat-trick only to be smashed for six 6s in the following over by Kieran Pollard.

On the other hand, the drop in wickets in USA seems to be ideal for the medium pacers who have got good variations, but in reality not enough cricket has been played over there to make clear-cut predictions.

However, should the wickets favour the bowling in general, Sri Lanka should be seen as one of the teams to watch-out for.

The team led by Wanindu Hasaranga has been together for nearly half a decade now. They possibly had a realistic chance to win the tournament in UAE on the conditions that favoured their style of play, but at that the whole team lacked experience at international level. However, players like Charith Asalanka, Pathum Nissanka and Maheesh Theekshana have come a long way since then. So, if the conditions are anything similar to the likes of Mirpur, R.Premadasa or old Feroze Shah Kotla, Hasaranga and co will be in business.

  • India strong contender?

Of course they are. Since the beginning of the IPL, India have gone on to every single World Cup as favourites, but the expectations have not been met. Virat Kohli has been a run-machine for them though many still questions his strike-rate while Rohit Sharma is still to rediscover his magic touch at top. They have probably got the most dangerous bowling attack in the tournament who could win games single-handedly.

  • Australia to conquer again?

Australia sealed their first T20 title in UAE against all odds on conditions that certainly did not favour them. USA & WI doesn't look like, it's going to offer much to the their seamers, but in Pat Cummins, Australia has got arguably their best captain since Ricky Ponting.

  • England to Defend Title?

England are the defending champions having won the last World Cup down under. Unlike most of the other teams, England usually have proper hitting power going as deep down to number 10 or 11, but can they manage that on these conditions remains to be seen.

  • Can Amir Inspire Pakistan?

Mohamed Amir was recalled to the Pakistan World Cup squad alongside Imad Wasim in a desperate attempt to add more experience into what looked like a very inexperience bowling attack, but their real problem relies on batting.

  • New Zealand and South Africa?

New Zealand have been doing fabulously in the ICC events in the last few years but have been struggling to deliver the knock-out punch in white ball cricket - bit like the Sri Lankan team of 10 or 15 years ago while South Africa has been awful in ICC events.

  • Windies to enjoy home-comfort

West Indies are the most unpredictable team moving into the World Cup. They have got the most lethal power hitters in the world, but they need bowlers to back up their batsmen as well. They could have been one of the favourites to win had they named IPL MVP Sunil Narine in the squad - not to be. 

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