T20 World Cup Preview: The Contenders

March 14, 2016 by Posted in Cricket Tips

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The birth of Twenty20 cricket has changed the horizons of cricket forever. Fast action, big hitting, fireworks, crash and bash entertainment that appeals to traditional and new cricket fans, and attracts the next generation to our great game. With a T20 league in almost every cricket nation, the familiarity of the format or conditions is now no longer a differentiator between the teams competing in the T20 World Cup starting March 15th. The keys to success will include adaptability and maximization of resources. So which teams look best to make the most of their resources? Let’s take a closer look at the leading contenders for the 2016 T20 World Cup title.

India

India are the stand out team in the T20 format and deserving favourites to take home the trophy. Excellent recent form was kick-started with a whitewash of Australia down under, and the recently crowned T20 Asia Cup champions look the best bet on paper to add more silverware. With local conditions favouring their spinning firepower, there is every chance that India will continue their dream run.

However T20 cricket is not that simple! India is in a tough group with Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan and a qualifier (most probably Bangladesh) making it the clear “group of death” in the T20 World Cup. Captain MS Dhoni is sure to act as a pressure sponge but the enormous expectations could still take its toll.

Strengths: Home conditions, recent form, Ravi Ashwin, Rohit Sharma
Weaknesses: Question marks on middle order and back-up batsmen
X-factor: Ravindra Jadeja

Odds: $3.00 at William Hill

Chances: India are a great chance to at least reach the final and look hard to beat to win the title.

Australia

It is hard to rule the Aussies out of any tournament, however the T20 format has not been their best. Australia are yet to lift the T20 World Cup trophy, but their batting line up looks strong and experienced in the conditions, to make them a team to watch out for this tournament.

Australia do have clear weaknesses that may be exposed. The absence of a world-class spinner may count against them. Adam Zampa and Ashton Agar are both promising young cricketers but they are yet to be proven on the world stage. The jitteriness of the Australian batsmen against quality spin may also prove to be their undoing.

Strengths: IPL experience of Warner, Watson and Smith
Weaknesses: No quality spinner, inability to counter-attack spin, confusion over final composition
X-factor: Glenn Maxwell

Odds: $5.50 at William Hill

Chances: Should reach the semi-finals but will take a lot of things to go right for them to go all the way.

England

There are a few dark horses in the T20 World Cup who could surprise this tournament and the England team fits the bill perfectly.

Explosive openers – Check
Aggressive finishers – Check
Capable all-rounders – Check

Under Eoin Morgan, this team has punched above its weight recently with its aggressive approach both in ODIs and T20s. Their bowling looks inexperienced but the left-arm combo of Reece Topley and David Willey could actually surprise many with their variations. In Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali, England have capable spinners to match the conditions.

It all sounds ideal, but England being England, we can expect them to implode at the worst possible time!

Strengths: Batting, all-rounders
Weaknesses: Inexperienced pace bowling attack
X-factor: Joe Root

Odds: $7.50 at William Hill

Chances: A chance to reach the semi-finals and if they get there, then anything can happen!

Outside of the above-mentioned teams, other contenders include perennial-underachievers South Africa ($5.50 at William Hill), the rapidly-improving New Zealand ($9.00 at William Hill) and the combustible West Indies ($13 at William Hill).

Whoever ends up the winner, this is one tournament that will surely capture the imagination of every cricket lover across the globe.

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