ICC T20 World Cup 2022: who’ll make it to the top 4?
The eighth edition of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup will be played from October 16 to November 13, 2022, in Australia. The tournament, which was supposed to be played in 2020 but was postponed for two years due to the pandemic, will see 16 teams contesting for the coveted title. Apart from host nation Australia, the other teams that will be competing include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, England, India, Ireland, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa, Sri Lanka, the United Arab Emirates, West Indies, and Zimbabwe. Before the tournament begins, here’s a look at five teams that would most likely make it to the semi-finals.
Apart from the fact that they are defending champions and are playing at home, the Australians have a balanced squad that gives captain Aaron Finch multiple options to choose from. With five World Cup titles in ODIs and one in T20Is, Australia is a force to be reckoned with. The inclusion of Tim David has strengthened their bench strength when it comes to power hitters. Three players to watch out for are David Warner, Glenn Maxwell, and Marcus Stoinis. Australia will most likely make it to the finals.
It would be Jos Buttler’s first World Cup campaign as captain of England. Known for their aggressive gameplay irrespective of the situation, the Englishmen have mastered the shorter format. With power hitters such as Liam Livingstone, Ben Stokes, and Moeen Ali, England has a packed middle-order. A bonus for the team is the ability of its fast bowlers to tonk the ball and score crucial runs at the death. England has all the tools to win this year’s tournament. Three players to watch out for are Jos Buttler, Liam Livingstone, and Reece Topley.
In the last edition of the World Cup, the Indian team didn’t qualify for the semi-finals. However, a lot has changed since then. Currently, India is ranked number 1 in the T20I rankings. The Men in Blue can outperform any team on any given day. With Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya, and Dinesh Karthik, available for selection, it would be interesting to see if there are any changes in the top-order, especially when KL Rahul is not at his peak and Virat Kohli recently scored a century opening the innings. Three players to watch out for are Pandya, Suryakumar, and Jasprit Bumrah.
If any team exemplifies the fact that cricket is a team sport then that’s New Zealand. They tend to win not because of their “star power” but because they play together as a unit. Kane Williamson-led Kiwis are strong contenders in any format of the game. It is almost a certainty that you’ll find them in the semi finals once again. Their strength lies in their bowling as they have new ball bowlers who can swing the ball both ways. As far as batting is concerned, Williamson and Martin Guptill would be their mainstay. Three players to watch out for are Williamson, Colin de Grandhomme, and Trent Boult.
This is one opposition that should never be taken lightly. They may start every tournament as the underdogs but if they play to their potential, they can make it to the semi-finals easily. Over the years, the team has strengthened its batting and fielding department. Pakistan has one of the best bowling line-ups and it would be a challenge for the opposition batters to negate their swing and pace. The team exceeded everyone’s expectations last year by winning all the matches in the league stage and making it to the semi-finals. Three players to watch out for are Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, and Shaheen Shah Afridi.
In the world of sports, it is hard to predict the winner. And T20 format is such, that any team can defeat any opposition on a given day. However, fans would surely turn up in large numbers to see how it all goes down. Don’t be surprised if West Indies wins the title for the third time or South Africa lifts their maiden title because anything can happen in cricket.