2021 is quickly becoming a bumper year filled with high profile sports tournaments, primarily because so many were pushed back from 2020. The Tokyo Olympics and the European Football Championship are obvious examples that spring to mind, but another event that was quietly shelved and pushed back was the 2021 T20 World Cup.
Originally scheduled to take place in Australia last year, this is an event that has shifted both in terms of time and place. It will now be held in India over the course of October and November 2021. It’s still several months away, but the international teams are already in a state of preparation, and if you click here, you’ll see a whole host of bookies serving the Indian market who can think of little else. The anticipation will only continue to ramp up from here.
It’s been five years since the West Indies mugged England at the last T20 World Cup, so you can be forgiven if you’re struggling to remember how it all works. 16 teams will be taking part, comprising the usual top 10 ICC teams of India, Pakistan, West Indies, England, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. Then there are also six qualifiers, which include The Netherlands, Ireland, Namibia, Scotland, Oman and Papua New Guinea.
While the format has yet to be definitively approved, it is anticipated that the six qualifiers plus Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will be split into two groups of four. Each will play the other three group members once, and the top two from each group will advance to the super-12 stage, joining the other eight teams in two groups of six. Again, each team will play the other teams in its group once, and the top two teams in each group will advance to the semi finals.
Who are the favourites?
We mentioned the bookies earlier, and as far as the outrights go, they only have eyes for India – even now, months before the tournament starts, they are 5/2 favourites. On the face of it, that makes reasonable sense. Recent series performances have shown that they have the talent and belief to beat absolutely anyone. But still, there must be a nagging doubt in every India fan’s mind. It’s been eight years since they won an international tournament, and every World Cup in every format has ended in disappointment during the Virat Kohli era. Also, if they win the 2021 T20 World Cup this year, they will be the first host nation ever to manage the feat.
Some say the smarter money is on England. True, India bossed them just a few weeks ago to win the series 3-2. But unlike their footballing counterparts, England’s cricket team seems to thrive on the pressure of the big occasion, and has a habit of falling over the line even when all seems lost, as they demonstrated in the World Cup final of the 50 over format.
Outside the top two, only a fool would rule out Australia, who have some incredible talent with the likes of David Warner, Aaron Finch, Steve Smith, Adam Zampa and Mitchell Starc. However, for the defending champions, it’s all gone wrong over the past five years, and it would be little short of a miracle if they even managed to make the semi finals.
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