Specials for the T20 World Cup
T20 World Cup, that knowledge becomes important in huge games and major tournaments. I believe it contributed to Australia’s unstoppable run in the UAE when Pakistan and New Zealand collapsed at the finish line, and this Indian squad is loaded with big-match performers and winners.
Given that India aren’t bulletproof, the 7/2 on offer may be too short for some, but after backing South Africa at 10/1 a few months ago before a number of injuries hampered their preparations, Rohit’s squad now make the most sense at the T20 World Cup Specials.
India, South Africa, and Pakistan are anticipated to compete in a three-way tussle to get to the semi-finals from Group 2, with Bangladesh considered to be a soft touch.
Despite the loss of Rassie van der Dussen, who concluded the 2021 World Cup as South Africa’s best run-scorer, and Dwaine Pretorius, whose all-round talents provided invaluable balance, I believe this South African team is still competitive.
The batting has gotten more aggressive, as it has in India, and the two sides had a high-scoring series earlier this year before the Proteas went to England and thrashed them on their home field.
Quinton de Kock and Aiden Markram provide true talent, with David Miller and Rillee Rossouw providing firepower.
However, there may be much more to get thrilled about with bowling. Anrich Nortje is large, powerful, and swift, and he seems to be suited for Australia. He was very impressive in the UAE last year, and Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi aren’t far behind.
There are many of spin options, with Keshav Maharaj solid throughout the innings and Tabraiz Shamsi a true wicket-taker. South Africa may only need to use one of those two batsmen in most games, with Tristan Stubbs’ raw power supplemented by his useful off spin at T20 World Cup Specials.
Make no mistake about it: this is a deadly group. Only those two major injuries and captain Temba Bavuma’s form are in the negative column, and although they aren’t alone in that regard, I’m OK with the 10/1 currently in the book and don’t feel the need or need to double down on that stance.
Pakistan and New Zealand are on their way out.
South Africa and India are my picks to win Group 2, with Pakistan’s great pace attack and dependable opening combination simply not enough to compensate for a poor middle order that will let them down at some point.
Another lingering question about Pakistan is that they performed so brilliantly in the UAE in circumstances they were familiar with, yet still couldn’t complete the job. I don’t believe this team is in any better form a year later – in fact, I believe the middle order has deteriorated – and this makes me skeptical of their prospects in Australian conditions.
A near-miss in the UAE is also why I’m willing to look beyond last year’s runners-up New Zealand, a competent team that I believe will be outgunned somewhere along the line in the coming weeks at T20 World Cup.
That’s what occurred in last year’s final against Australia, and I’m not convinced Kane Williamson, Tim Southee, or even Trent Boult are now capable of matching or exceeding those performances, or those when they were defeated in successive 50-over World Cup finals in 2015 and 2019.
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This has been a fine side with plenty to offer, but one would think they’ll need a personal best to finally get their hands on a World Cup, and I’ve seen enough from Williamson, Southee, and Martin Guptill to suggest the light is just beginning to fade with these fantastic servants to New Zealand cricket.
Conditions are another consideration. Surprisingly, I believe the UAE’s style of play was suited by some slow wickets, indicating that accumulation with the bat and cunning with the ball won out in several rather low scoring matches.
They could need some extra va-va-voom in Australia at the T20 World Cup Specials, and I don’t see Thierry Henry showing up in a Renault Clio with his whites in the boot, ready to give Williamson’s side the X-Factor they appear to be lacking.
That leaves Australia and England as strong favorites to advance from Group 1, and it would be foolish to dismiss the reigning champions, despite the fact that their preparation has included a series loss to England and a loss to India.
Group 1 team-by-team instructions
Nonetheless, Australia can typically be counted on to peak at the correct moment, and home advantage should not be underestimated.
Furthermore, from top to bottom, this is a very good side on paper. Unlike last year at the T20 World Cup Specials, David Warner comes into this tournament in fantastic form, while an already potent middle order has been bolstered by the rise of Tim David, who has taken franchise cricket by storm with his excellent late-innings ball hitting.
The bowling on the subcontinent checked most boxes, thus a pace attack led by Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc, and Pat Cummins should prosper at home. Adam Zampa covers spin, but whether they can continue to get four overs from Marcus Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell if placed under significant strain in the field is a little issue at the T20 World Cup Specials.
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