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T20 Cricket World Cup 2021 Preview & Tips - Value on Pakistan as tournament approaches

  • The T20 Cricket World Cup starts on 17 October
  • The tournament is hosted by UAE and Oman
  • India are the bookies favourites to win the title
  • There are a total of 16 teams that will compete in the World Cup
babar azam t20 cricket
Babar Azam will attempt to lead Pakistan to their 2nd T20 title (Getty Images)
ralph-staniforth
Ralph Staniforth 15 Oct 2021
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T20 Cricket World Cup Preview


The 2021 T20 Cricket World Cup gets underway on 17 October when Oman take on Papua New Guinea. During the first week of the competition eight teams fight it out for four places in the Super 12, which starts on 23 October when Australia meet long time rivals, South Africa.

The top eight ranked sides in the world automatically qualify for the Super 12 and do not feature during the opening week. 

Below we take a look at who is hot and who is not going into the tournament.

T20 Cricket World Cup Tips


India

India have a stellar side in all formats. Many argue, and correctly so, that they could put out two or even three teams in each format and still be more than competitive.

That said, it still remains 11 vs 11 on the field and India have only claimed one world title in the shortest format – the inaugural tournament in 2007 when India beat arch rivals, Pakistan in Johannesburg.

Since then the World Cup has not gone exactly to plan for the Indians. They reached the final in 2014 but lost out to Sri Lanka in Bangladesh.

There is an array of talent in all departments for India. They have the fast bowlers to dominate, spin bowlers to take control should conditions assist them and batsmen who have set many a tournament alight.

In Virat Kohli India have one of the finest batsmen in the world, and this will be his last T20 tournament as captain in the shortest format. At 3.50 India certainly offer value, particularly with sub-continent conditions expected.

England

The current ODI Cricket World Cup champions will be looking to become double world champions. Their ODI performances over recent years have been quite incredible but from a T20 perspective there are still many doubts.

The loss of Ben Stokes is a massive blow to the England side. They still have plenty of firepower from both a bowling and batting perspective, particularly with Jason Roy at the top of the order.

It remains to be seen whether England can put in consistently good performances in the sub-continent. At 4.50 they seem a bit overvalued for me with better money options elsewhere.

West Indies

The West Indies are the only nation to have won the T20 Cricket World Cup on more than one occasion. They beat Sri Lanka in the 2012 final in Colombo before and incredible victory over England in Kolkata in 2016.

The Windies are the enigma of cricket. No one quite knows what will happen, they have a number of flamboyant players who are globally adored in T20 leagues, but consistency is not their strong suite.

If the West Indies get on a roll in the UAE and Oman it will take a brave person to bet against them, but pre-tournament, they are not for the faint hearted.

Your money isn’t safe with that, even at 7.00 it is a very risky option. But the West Indies have never been favourites and they often produce the big performances when it matters most.

New Zealand

New Zealand are universally liked, often everyone’s “second team” when it comes to international cricket. But the Black Caps are more than just the very competitive unit they were in decades gone by, they have real talent within their lineup.

Reaching the ODI Cricket World Cup final was a massive achievement for New Zealand. They were extremely unfortunate to lose out to England on a technical ruling but they have proven themselves to be world class. They also hold the Test mace after beating India in the Test Championship final.

T20 cricket is probably New Zealand’s worst format of the three, but that doesn’t make it bad. The other two are just really good.

Kane Williamson leads from the front, a phenomenal batsman and captain. He is backed up by world class bowlers in Tim Southee and Trent Boult. On the batting front, no batsman has enjoyed a better year than Devon Conway.

At 7.00 New Zealand look very good value with bookmaker bet365. Conditions could cost them considering the lack of a truly world class spinner, but if they can somehow get around that, they have as good a chance as any.

Australia

One does not need to go too far back in time to see Australia as favourites for nearly every cricket tournament. How times have changed, or could this benefit the men from ‘down under’?

Their form coming into this tournament has not been good. They lost their last two T20 series heavily in the West Indies and Bangladesh.

It must be considered that the Aussies were missing a few key players in those series’. But regardless of that, they have been known in recent years to struggle against spin bowling, something that will be key on pitches in the UAE.

At 7.50 I would not be betting my house on the Aussies. They just seem to be a strong unit at the moment under Justin Langer, however, if someone like David Warner has a seriously good tournament, the possibilities are endless.

Pakistan

If you’re looking for good value then this is where you should be looking. Pakistan are priced at 11.00 with bet365, much higher than I would have expected.

Pakistan have a point to prove, but they also have a very strong side. Slightly unpredictable at times but there is definite quality within their ranks.

The 2009 T20 Cricket World Cup champions will be lead by one of the best T20 batsman in the world in Babar Azam. He has formed arguably the best opening batting partnership with Mohammad Rizwan in the game.

While their middle order has had some criticism, especially with their lack of six hitting ability (they are among the lowest six hitters in the world), Pakistan possess a strong bowling lineup spearheaded by the young left-arm of Shaheen Shah Afridi. There is also no lack of quality in the spin bowling department.

Then we get to proving a point – New Zealand recently pulled out of their Pakistan tour minutes before the first match, stating security concerns – concerns that have never been made public.

That was followed by England’s withdrawal. They limped through a statement about player welfare, but have faced plenty of backlash since. Pakistan will be out to prove to the world just how good they are, and I for one believe they can pull through and lift the title.

South Africa

Since readmission into international sport, South Africa have always gone into cricket tournaments as one of the favourites, if not the outright favourites. Over the years as they have bumbled from one failure to another, they have become globally known as ‘chokers’.

There is a reason that word is used so little these days. The Proteas are not seen as much of a threat, cricket has gone downhill in recent years in the country after a number of top quality retirements.

Make no mistake, there is still world class talent within the group. Quinton de Kock is a regular in the top T20 leagues around the globe, while Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortjie are without a doubt among the top bowlers in the world.

It is around them however that there has been a lack of quality and consistency. On their day South Africa can beat anyone but they need one of their big guns to score big or bowl an incredible spell.

Perhaps being written off is just what they need, fly beneath the radar for once. But at 13.00 the bookies clearly don’t think they have what it takes, and quite frankly, a good run is possible, but winning the title looks beyond this team of hopefuls. 

Other contenders

Bangladesh convincingly beat Australia and New Zealand in T20 series on home soil recently. That will give them confidence, but the pitches were very spin friendly. The UAE pitches will offer something to the slower bowlers but not nearly as much – it is unlikely that Bangladesh can recreate their home form.

Sri Lanka have fallen of the cricket bandwagon. They have a couple players who can spring a surprise on you but they are priced at 41.00 for a reason. Along with Bangladesh, they are favourites to progress from the group phase to the Super12 but beyond that I don’t see much possibility.

Afghanistan have grown tremendously over the last decade as a cricket playing nation. Rashid Khan is among the top bowlers in the T20 game while Mohammad Nabi isn’t far off. Unfortunately since the Taliban took over the country, there has been little opportunity to train.

Outsiders

The Netherlands have the best win % in T20 cricket over the last year. They have not regularly competed against the top sides, but they do have quality within their side. Do not put it past them to upset the odds on occasion and push for a Super 12 qualification.

Ireland have been there and there about for a few years. They will compete, cause the odds upset and get everyone jumping for joy. A Super 12 qualification and a good upset with be a very successful tournament for them.
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