Beginning back in 2007, ICC World Twenty20 matches have kept both worldwide and local cricket club audiences captivated around the world. This short and action-packed version has held a worldwide audience due to its almost flamboyant nature, compared to the other formats in which the game is played. So let’s dig into the who’s who of potential T20 contenders for this year, and which team is most likely to take the top prize. Below are the most likely contenders for the 2021 ICC T20 World Cup with a few thoughts on the best picks to take the win.
Be it in ODIs or Tests, Australia has long been a powerhouse in international cricket, producing legends since day dot, and T20 has not dwindled that reputation. They have yet to secure a World Cup title, though they did get close when coming in second to England in the 2010 edition in the West Indies. Does Australia have what it takes to win it this time around? Only time will tell, but with the likes of batsman David Warner and superstar Steve Smith, and being headed by confirmed T20 captain Aaron Finch, they are definitely strong contenders.
These world class players have always been among the best of the best and the T20 game has further solidified that, with the Indian team winning the first T20 World Cup in 2007. Though the location for the 2021 T20 tournament was recently changed – for the second time – from India to the UAE, India’s odds of $3.50 to win suggest they are still the team to beat. With superstars of the game like Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma at their disposal, there is no reason not to think that India isn’t a forerunner for the main prize.
Winning the World Cup by seven wickets over Australia in Bridgetown in 2010 certainly inspired the English team, but since then they have yet to secure another title. After losing the championship to the West Indies in 2016, you know they are hungry for another T20 win. The English team that has qualified for the 2021 Cup are likely to be as formidable as ever. Though they have suffered some injuries throughout the course of the season, it still looks like this side will push on with a quality T20 World Cup showing this year.
The current ICC T20 World Champions have two titles under their belt and are well placed to contend once again this year. The West Indies were once a top-tier team with legendary players in all forms of the game, and though they are a long way from the force they once were, T20 cricket is a clear strength. Veteran Kieron Pollard heads a formidable team including the likes of legendary all-rounder Chris Gayle and top T20 bowler Sunil Narine. They might not boast the talent of the likes of India or Australia, but teams who take the Men in Maroon lightly do so at their own peril.
Runners up in 2007 and World Champions in 2009, the Pakistanis are no strangers to success on the ICC T20 World Cup stage. They lost just two wickets during the 2009 T20 World Cup final en route to beating Sri Lanka soundly by eight wickets, a dominant win which was indicative of their talent. The Pakistanis have not had as much luck in their last two outings, however after being eliminated in the Super 10 round in 2014 and 2016 they are ready to fight back in 2021 with T20 veteran Babar Azam leading the squad.
With reappointed captain Dasun Shanaka, who captained the T20 squad when they won the Cup back in 2014, you can tell that this is the year the Sri Lankans are pushing to get back to winning ways. Sri Lanka has spent time introducing new players who are more suited to the shorter format of the game according to their captain, and they have been collecting wins in the T20 arena with the new lineup. They have their work cut out to match it with the best teams in the world, but the new blood in the team may just give the Sri Lankans the winning edge they have been lacking.
Commencing the delayed tournament in 2021
Originally, the T20 tournament for 2020 was set to be hosted in Australia before the location was changed to India, but that has again changed and it will now take place in the UAE. The long-awaited ICC Twenty20 World Cup is finally set to commence on October 17, 2021, with the final scheduled for November 14. Will the West Indies continue their winning streak and take out the 2021 World Cup? Or will the talented Indians still prove to be the best team in the world, despite the change of location? Elsewhere, the Aussies will no doubt be a threat and England is more than capable of winning, and with so many teams in the hunt, it shapes up as a compelling edition of the T20 World Cup.