Remember the magnificent T20 World Cup win West Indies had with Carlos Brathwaite hitting four consecutive sixes in the final over against England? Well, that was in 2016. After a long five years gap, the T20 Men’s World Cup is finally back.
Today (17th October) marks the start of the tournament with Oman taking Papua New Guinea in their home ground, Al Amerat. Although BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) is the host for this year, all the matches are to be played in the UAE and Oman considering the COVID-19 pandemic situation in India.
This year sixteen teams will be competing for the title and the tournament will be played in two rounds.
First Round – 8 teams divided into 2 groups will play every other team in their group. Two top teams from each group will progress to the next round.
Group A: Sri Lanka, Ireland, Netherlands and Namibia
Group B: Bangladesh, Scotland, Papua New Guinea and Oman
Second Round – This is the Super 12s round. Two top teams from Groud A and B will join T20 International top-ranked eight teams and one again will be divided into two groups. The top two teams from each group will progress to the semi-finals
Group 1: England, Australia, South Africa, West Indies, A1 and B2
Group 2: India, Pakistan, New Zealand, Afghanistan, B1 and A2
This year’s Sri Lankan team will be captained by Dasun Shanaka while Dhananjaya De Silva will serve as the vice-captain. With the low ranks in the T20 charts, many have expressed their doubts about the team’s chances in this year’s tournament. However, considering the current team’s recent triumphs, especially the 2-1 series win against India in July, Sri Lanka sure has the talent and a possibility to come out victorious. With key players like Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva and Avishka Fernando (who excelled in the recent warm-up match against Bangladesh), and Mahela Jayawardana as a mentor, Sri Lanka might be able to turn their luck around. However, the team has to progress through the First Round of games in order to be in the Super 12s. Having to play an extra set of games could also be an advantage as the player will get an opportunity to adapt to the conditions before the players of the top 8 teams.
On the other hand, with the 4th position in the ICC T20 rankings and the first-ever World Test Championship trophy under their belt, all the pieces are certainly there for New Zealand to lift this year’s T20 Trophy. According to the team’s head coach Gary Stead, the skipper Kane Williamson who suffered a hamstring injury during IPL last week will be in good shape in time for their first match in the tournament against Pakistan on 26th October. Kiwis are coming into the tournament with a strong and versatile squad with key players like Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Martin Guptill and Devon Conway hoping to achieve their first World Cup title this year.
For the very first time, this year’s men’s T20 World Cup will have Decision Review System and each team will have a maximum of two reviews per over. This time’s champions are to be awarded a prize money of US$1.6 million while the runners-up will get $800,000.
We here at SriLankaNZ wish all the very best for both Sri Lankan Lions and Black Caps for the tournament!
ICC T20 World Cup 2021 anthem: Live The Game