T20 WC 2016 â€“ Preview
So the T20 WC is upon us, what started out as a calendar filler and money spinner, in the English cricket calendar, is now a fully-fledged part of the global sporting calendar. This format is too often compared to Test Cricket and belittled as lesser version of the game. This is wrong and ignorant of the fact it has developed into a highly skilled sport, with incredible skills in all disciplines of the game. The shots, the bowling and the fielding have advanced the game of cricket into a new age and the world loves it.
So who will win? Which players will light up the tournament? What new stars will be born in the heat of battle? I thought I would make the effort to share my own thoughts and tips before the real tournament begins.
Letâ€™s start at the end, I think India are the most likely winners, with England or South Africa awaiting them in the Semiâ€™s and Final. Continue to read to find out my reasoning and if you like, follow my tips through the tournament. I will let you all look up stats and tables elsewhere, I have taken them into my evaluation and below is a summary of my thoughts. Hope you find it helpful.
India benefit from home advantage, they are used to the atmosphere and the pressure it brings with it. The biggest advantage the conditions bring are the fact it brings players that are ordinary outside of India into the game.
Bowling â€“ A good all round bowling attack, left arm and experience of Nehra, to the awkward style of Bumrah, India finally have a couple of opening bowlers who should not get battered in the power overs. They will be supported in the pace department by Pandya, who in the last few games has bowled at 140+ and taken wickets. Then you get the game changing Ashwin, my tip to be the top bowler in the tournament, he will be supported by Jadeja, who is much more useful in these conditions, with Negi in the wings, potentially a dark horse for India.
Batting â€“ Probably the best front 3 in the tournament, in form and high strike rates. The small worry is the middle and lower order, I am not a fan of Raina, but in India he is a different player and along with Yuvraj (getting back into form) , Dhoni and Hardik Pandya, India have the line up to win from any position. Finally, this Indian side can field. In Jadeja, Sharma, Kohli, Raina they have fielders as good as any, led by an experienced and proven leader, with good team ethos and more experience than anyone.
â€¢ TIP - Prediction Group A Winners and Tournament winners.
â€¢ TIP - Top Indian Series Batsmen â€“ Rohit Sharma or Kohli
â€¢ TIP - Top Indian Series Bowler â€“ R Ashwin * Also top series wicket taker
The 3 Other Contenders
I only see 3 other teams with the all-round profiles that could win this, to win you need a good team, balance, experience, captain and leaders through the team. You also need just a few real game changers, who are capable of standing up in the heat of the moment. Finally there cannot be issues in the camp, from management, backroom staff to the team. Based on this criteria, I see 3 other contenders â€“ South Africa, Australia and England (as the dark horses).
Australia are formidable in all forms of cricket but surprisingly not as great a record in this format. On paper they have the line-up, but look a bit deeper and you see some glaring frailties.
Bowling â€“ how much will they miss Starc, and with him I think the magic required to win this. He was the reason Australia won the ODI equivalent, and I see no genuine replacement. Faulkner has regressed and Zampa is only just emerging in the BBL, no experience in India. Funny, but it is the bowling that I think will allow others to score more against Australia than would have been the case in the past.
Batting â€“ Any team with Khawaja, Finch, Warner, Smith, Maxwell, Bailey, Faulkner and Marsh have to be respected. Not counting the all-round renaissance of Watson in the past BBL. So this is the clear strength and along with India I think this is the best batting line up. One small nagging doubt, both Finch and Warner are not the smartest against top quality spin, especially early in their innings. This could expose the chink in their amour.
Outcome â€“ Outstanding fielding unit, they will get through if they beat New Zealand,They will not win it, as they still have not figured out how to play spin in T20.
TIP â€“ watch out for a few MoM from Shane Watson
South Africa are the major threat to India, and I only see one chink in their squad, where is the quality second slow bowler, although because of the return of Steyn, they may not need it. South Africa battered India in the ODI and T20 leg of their tour to India. All the team have experience of the conditions from that tour and it was less than 6 months ago. Finally, most of their team have played IPL and know the conditions.
Bowling â€“ the best pace attack in the competition, and Steyn is back, add Morkel, Rabada and Tahir, they are the best front line attack. Supporting them is Morris and Weise. As mentioned, just missing a decent second slow bowling option on certain wickets. And donâ€™t say Duminy, his figures are deceiving, come the crunch he is wanting as a bowler.
Batting â€“ AVB, Amla, De Kock and Miller the stars, but plenty now in the middle as well with Morris and Weise there to support Miller or Duminy.
Outcome â€“ the fielding is never going to let them down, it is all about the hoodoo and form, if they confront that successfully, they should be the equal of India.
â€¢ TIP â€“ AVB top series batsmen for SA.
â€¢ TIP â€“ Tahir top series bowler for SA
England are my West Indies of 2012. The dark horses with talented T20 players, but I get this feeling that their lack of IPL and Sub Continent experience will come back to deny them in a key match, most likely in the finals.
Bowling â€“ Stronger for Plunkett back in, and good left arm options in Willey and Topley, The real key is the slow bowling options of Ali and game changing potential of Rashid. Finally they have a true all-rounder with bowling potency in Stokes. The only thing missing is a, Malinga, Steyn or Starc, but maybe Topley might put his hand up.
Batting â€“ The key for this England team is more in the head than ability. They have to learn on the fly and learn to read the situations. If they do and adapt to the conditions and noisy environments, they could go all the way. In Butler they have a true superstar, but I just wish Vince opened and Billings was in the team. What they show is the depth on the bench.
Outcome - Fielding is a weakness, they have to improve by a good 25% to have a chance. Along with lack of conditions experience, they will likely falter at the semi-finals or final.
â€¢ TIP â€“ Jos Butler for a few MoMâ€™s
â€¢ TIP â€“ Joe Root top series bat for England.
â€¢ Tip â€“ Adil Rashid top Series bowler for England.
As for the rest here is why not in short
New Zealand â€“ No McCullum, leaves a gap in leadership and batting depth.
West Indies â€“ No team harmony and will upset a few favourites but not set for the long haul. Unlike the wonderful WI U19 team.
Pakistan â€“ quite simply lack any batting quality, wonderful bowling but no batsmen of class.
Sri Lanka â€“ A team in transition and too many players lack the experience required.
Bangladesh â€“ have not progressed enough to hold their own with the big boys, but capable of upsetting the odds in any given game.
All Others â€“ there to make up the numbers but expect the odd shock when placing your bets.
* Hope you enjoyed the read and look out for more detailed tips as the games get underway.
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