Virat Kohli targets T20 World Cup title legacy

Indian skipper Virat Kohli. — AFP/File
Indian skipper Virat Kohli. — AFP/File

DUBAI: Five years after shedding a heart-stopping T20 World Cup closing to the West Indies, Eoin Morgan’s England begin as slim favourites of their bid to develop into double world champions regardless of the absence of Ben Stokes.

Not far behind although are Virat Kohli’s India, an ever-lethal West Indies and World Test champions New Zealand — to not point out South Africa, Australia, former winners Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and fairytale outsiders Afghanistan.

Postponed and moved twice due to the pandemic, the match’s seventh version kicks off on October 17 with Oman — joint hosts with the United Arab Emirates — taking up Papua New Guinea in a primary qualifying spherical.

The prime nations will be a part of the occasion — performed in stadiums 70% full  — on October 23 with Australia and South Africa enjoying the opener of the Super 12 stage and England up in opposition to holders West Indies.

England, ranked because the world primary nation in T20 cricket, beat New Zealand to win the 50-over title at Lord’s in 2019 and victory within the shortest format’s showpiece occasion will additional cement their white-ball dominance.

Morgan’s crew will, nonetheless, be with out Stokes and Jofra Archer, who performed a key half of their one-day World Cup triumph, however vice-captain Jos Buttler insists the crew is “certainly one of the favourite teams.”

“I know we are missing Ben and Jofra, who are two superstars of the game, but I still look down that list and see some real match-winners in our side.”

Old struggle horses 

England needed to defend 19 runs within the final over of the 2016 closing at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens however Carlos Brathwaite hit Stokes for 4 straight sixes, giving the Caribbeans their second world T20 title.

Many of that profitable crew can be again, led by Kieron Pollard and outdated struggle horses Dwayne Bravo, 38, and 42-year-old Chris Gayle.

Asian giants India will start their marketing campaign in opposition to arch-rivals Pakistan on October 24 with Kohli seeking to exit with a bang earlier than stepping down as captain of the T20 aspect after the match.

Kohli will look to repeat India’s triumph within the inaugural match in 2007 with the then skipper MS Dhoni becoming a member of the crew as mentor.

Swashbuckling opener Rohit Sharma is extensively tipped to be Kohli’s successor and can be key to the crew’s probabilities together with yorker king Jasprit Bumrah.

KL Rahul, in the meantime, hit probably the most sixes, 30, within the Indian Premier League, which wraps up simply earlier than the T20 World Cup and which has allowed many stars the prospect to get used to the UAE pitches.

Glenn Maxwell, for instance, scored 513 runs together with six half-centuries on the earth’s hottest cricket league, a efficiency that may increase Australia’s hopes of a maiden T20 title.

Australia’s white-ball captain Aaron Finch mentioned he and David Warner will open the batting regardless of his left-handed companion twice being dropped by Sunrisers Hyderabad within the IPL.

‘Six, seven groups that may win this match’

Trans-Tasman neighbours New Zealand, led by Kane Williamson, will even be eyeing two successive world crowns after they received the inaugural Test championship, beating India within the closing in June.

“We’re in a tough pool, I genuinely think there are six, seven teams that could win this tournament and I guess that’s good for world cricket as well,” mentioned Kiwi coach Gary Stead.

New Zealand are clubbed with India, Pakistan and Afghanistan in Group 1. England, Australia, South Africa and West Indies make up Group 2.

South Africa and former champions Pakistan stay underdogs whereas Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have to struggle it out with affiliate nations to hitch the heavyweights within the Super 12s.

A couple of weeks after the nation’s takeover by the Taliban, the dream winners could be outsiders Afghanistan, all of whose gamers are based mostly overseas.

Their South African coach Lance Klusener lately boasted of his crew’s “best spin attack in the world” comprising Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi.

The match was initially meant to happen in Australia on the finish of 2020 however was referred to as off due to the pandemic.

Then it was slated to occur in India and was lastly moved to the Gulf, however with the Indian cricket board, the BCCI, nonetheless hosts.

The matches can be held throughout 4 venues  the  —  Dubai International Stadium, the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, the Sharjah Stadium, and the Oman Cricket Academy Ground  — with the ultimate scheduled for Dubai on November 14.

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