International cricket’s shortest and increasingly popular format is back with its showpiece event.
The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup has kicked off in Australia, less than a year since the last edition saw the current hosts lift the trophy in Dubai.
Last year’s tournament – originally slated for 2020 – was swapped between Australia and India. It was later moved to the UAE and Oman due to the COVID situation in India.
Australia won their first T20 World Cup after brushing aside New Zealand in last year’s low-intensity final.
The tournament is divided into two parts: a qualification round and the Super 12s that are followed by the semi-finals and final.
The qualification round comprised two groups of four teams each. They played each other in a round robin format with the aim of clinching one of the top two spots in their group in order to qualify for the Super 12s.
Sri Lanka, Netherlands, Ireland and Zimbabwe made it through. West Indies, two-time for champions, were knocked out.
The remaining eight teams in the Super 12s gained automatic qualification on the basis of their T20 rankings at the cut-off date last November.
The Super 12s will see all six teams in each group compete in a round robin format. The top two teams from each group will then go on to play the semi-finals on November 9 and 10. The final will be played on November 13 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
West Indies in 3 back-to-back T20 World Cups:
2016 – Champions
2021 – Super-12s
2022 – First round exit
— Kausthub Gudipati (@kaustats) October 21, 2022
Group 1: Afghanistan, Australia, England, New Zealand, Ireland and Sri Lanka
Group 2: Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, South Africa, Netherlands and Zimbabwe
How the teams line up
Defending champions Australia are ranked sixth in the rankings but will start among the favourites while playing at home with a squad packed with power-hitters and T20 experience.
Afghanistan, who have three of the best T20 bowlers in their lineup, will hope to improve on their show last year and secure a spot in the semi-finals.
England come into this tournament with a new captain but a few old names making a comeback. The retirement of Eoin Morgan passed the captaincy to Jos Buttler, who will be happy to see all-rounder Ben Stokes and opener Alex Hales back in the side. England won the tournament in 2010 and were runners-up in 2016.
Last year’s losing finalists and perennial underachievers in the closing stages of ICC tournaments, New Zealand will hope the close-to-home conditions will help them go one better this time around.
Indians are the highest buyers of tickets for the T20 World Cup outside the host country. (Source – TOI)
— Johns. (@CricCrazyJohns) October 22, 2022
Bangladesh are led by the world’s leading T20 all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan but he has not been able to lift the team’s rankings and fortunes. They finished last year’s tournament bottom of their Super12s group and failed to win a match in the recently concluded Asia Cup.
Winners of the first-ever T20 World Cup and the top-ranked T20 side in the world, India have always found themselves to be pre-tournament favourites at most ICC events in the last two decades. However, they haven’t won an ICC event since the 2013 Champions Trophy. They failed to qualify for last year’s semi-finals and the final of last month’s Asia Cup.
Pakistan were favourites for the title last year after blazing through their Super 12s group, until they ran into Australia in the semi-final. With the best T20 opening pair leading their batting and an impressive bowling attack bolstered by the return of Shaheen Shah Afridi, Pakistan will hope to repeat their historic win at the MCG 30 years ago when they won the 50-over World Cup.
South Africa sit fourth in the rankings and have one of the best bowling attacks in the tournament. Their biggest hurdle, though, has been their history at ICC events and their lack of ability to win knock-out matches.
Recently crowned Asian champions Sri Lanka had to go through the first round of matches in order to qualify for the Super 12s. They had a scare early on when Namibia beat them in the first match but managed to get two wins in the remaining matches to make the cut.
Netherlands, Ireland and Zimbabwe, who were once a decent force in international cricket, complete the Super 12 lineup. The trio, with plenty of top-level experience, will be hoping to do more than just make up the numbers.
— Cric (@BabarShot) October 18, 2022
India vs Pakistan
The blockbuster match of the tournament will come on Sunday, October 23, when India and Pakistan meet in the opening match of Group 2.
The match will be played in front of 90,000-plus fans at Australia’s biggest cricket venue, the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Tickets for the match were sold out within minutes of going on sale, according to the ICC.
Pakistan will be riding on the confidence of their 10-wicket win over India in the last T20 World Cup but India will have history on their side as they have won nine of the 12 T20 matches between the two.
Was doing a SWOT analysis for T20 WC participating teams and realised:
— Wasim Jaffer (@WasimJaffer14) October 20, 2022
Losing semi-finalists: $400,000
Super 12 win: $40,000
Super 12 exit: $70,000
First round win: $40,000
First round exit: $40,000
2007 – India
2009 – Pakistan
2010 – England
2012 – West Indies
2014 – Sri Lanka
2016 – West Indies
2021 – Australia