The T20 World Cup will begin on October 17th, after a long period of delays and adjustments, and there will be a lot of excitement around the competition.
16 teams will compete for the title of greatest T20 country in the world, which will be contested in Oman and the United Arab Emirates.
Eight teams will play in the tournament’s group stage, with four of those teams progressing to the Super 12s round, where they will face some of the biggest names in the sport, including England, India, and Australia.
In this year’s T20 World Cup, there will be plenty of superstars standing up for their respective countries, but it will also provide an opportunity for some lesser teams to shine on a large stage.
Liam Livingstone, England
T20I stats: 8 matches, 206 runs at 34.33, strike rate of 167.47
Livingstone is a familiar face to Australian cricket fans, having played for the Perth Scorchers in recent BBL seasons.
The 28-year-old has only made eight appearances for England, but he has made the most of his opportunities and has been selected in the World Cup team.
Livingstone, a big-hitting right-hander, has competed in T20 tournaments all over the world and was voted MVP of the first ‘The Hundred’ competition in England.
After excelling in a recent series against Pakistan, when he scored the quickest fifty and century for England in a T20I, the forthcoming tournament appears to be his chance to shine.
Hardik Pandya (India)
49 matches, 484 runs at 19.36, 42 wickets at 26.45 in T20Is
Pandya, an explosive all-rounder, was a sensation in Australia last summer, winning the ‘T20 Player of the Series’ title after some incredible performances.
The 28-year-old is the sort of player who, like Glenn Maxwell, can transform a game with his bat alone, but can also create excellence with the ball in hand.
Pandya’s bowling preparations for the World Cup have been hampered by an injury sustained during the previous IPL season, and he has also struggled to make an impression with the bat.
“He’s getting better every day,” Indian vice-captain Rohit Sharma said. “He could be able to bowl in the next week or two.”
“Personally, I have faith in his abilities. Every time he steps onto the field, he improves. A player like him is only one innings away from reverting to his natural form, and we’ve seen it before.”
Babar Azam, Pakistan
T20I statistics: 61 matches, 2204 runs at 46.89, with a strike rate of 130.64.
Azam, one of the best players in the world today, will be in charge of guiding Pakistan’s ship at the next World Cup.
The 27-year-old is rated second among T20I batters by the International Cricket Council, with 20 half-centuries in the shortest version of the game.
Azam just became the quickest player in T20 cricket history to achieve 7,000 career runs, surpassing the likes of Virat Kohli and Chris Gayle.
The captain will be under a lot of pressure to perform, but there’s no reason to think he won’t keep scoring runs and help Pakistan go further in the tournament.
Ish Sodhi, New Zealand
57 T20I matches, 73 wickets at 21.72, and an economy rate of 8.07
Sodhi, an aggressive leg-spinner with the potential to take wickets, has been a regular for the Black Caps in white-ball cricket in recent years.
His economy rate isn’t as high as that of some of T20 cricket’s other world-class spinners, such as Rashid Khan and Adam Zampa, but his turn and fly provide possibilities.
The 28-year-old has struggled to establish himself as a top-level bowler in international cricket, and this event offers him the chance to make a name for himself on a global scale.
As New Zealand seeks to win their first T20 World Cup, Sodhi will spearhead a two-pronged spin assault alongside all-rounder Mitchell Santner, who is arguably more economical.
Tabraiz Shamsi, South Africa
42 T20I matches, 49 wickets at 21.63, and a 6.79 economy rate
For many casual cricket fans, Shamsi may not be a big name, yet he is presently the best T20I bowler in the world.
With 28 wickets and counting, the 31-year-old has risen to prominence in the last 12-18 months, closing in on the record for most wickets in a calendar year in 2021.
In the next World Cup, Shamsi is certain to break that record, and he will be a key component of the Proteas’ hopes of going all the way.
While rankings aren’t everything, the fact that none of his colleagues are listed in the top 40 T20I bowlers highlights his significance to the South African bowling pool.
Mustafizur Rahman, Bangladesh
52 T20I matches, 76 wickets at 18.65, and a 7.48 economy rate
Rahman, the backbone of Bangladesh’s bowling attack, has a stellar record in the game’s shortest format.
In T20Is, the 26-year-old left-arm seamer averages under 20 with the ball, which is a difficult job given how much the format favours batters.
Rahman has over 200 wickets in various tournaments, including the IPL and PSL, and is among the top 10 bowlers in the shortest format.
The two, together with famous all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, will play a key part in Bangladesh’s World Cup chances.
Mitchell Marsh, Australia
30 matches, 700 runs at 28, 15 wickets at 17.86 in T20Is
Marsh’s talent and ability with both bat and ball are undeniable, even if he is a divisive figure among Australian fans.
In the recent white-ball trip, his efforts against the West Indies and Bangladesh were the only genuine highlights for the Australians, with him top-scoring in six out of ten T20 games.
Marsh will be a key player for Australia during the tournament, and his recent international form should earn him a position in the national team.
With the bat, the 29-year-old has proved he can fill a number of positions, and with the ball, he can also chip in and take crucial wickets.
Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Afghanistan
19 T20I matches, 25 wickets at 17.72, and a 6.15 economy rate
Mujeeb Ur Rahman is one of the hottest emerging talents in international cricket, especially in the shorter format, as a result of his breakout season in the BBL10.
The spinner, who is still only 20, is very gifted and has excellent control and wicket-taking abilities in T20 cricket.
In his debut Big Bash season, Mujeeb grabbed 14 wickets in just eight games for the Brisbane Heat, and his economy rate of 6.27 was the best in the league.
The spotlight will be on spin-twin Rashid Khan, who, despite the ICC rankings, is probably the finest T20 bowler in the world – but don’t overlook Mujeeb and the effect he can have with the ball.
Chris Gayle (West Indies)
74 T20I matches, 1854 runs at 29.42, and a strike rate of 139.18
Chris Gayle, who will be close to the oldest player in this year’s World Cup at 42 years old, has been chosen to the West Indies team and has lot to give.
The polarising ‘Universe Boss’ was one of the most productive T20 players in history, collecting 193 runs in 10 outings for Punjab in the last IPL season.
Gayle may not be able to participate in every game for the West Indies, but his expertise in important games will undoubtedly help the team go farther in the tournament.
This is likely to be his final appearance in a big international event, so take advantage of the enigma that is Chris Gayle while you still can.
Wanindu Hasaranga, Sri Lanka
25 games, 36 wickets at 15.47, 6.57 economy rate in T20Is
Hasaranga, who is ranked second in the world for T20 bowlers, has been a white-ball mainstay for Sri Lanka for the previous three years.
The 24-year-old leg-spinner is most known for his bowling, but he can also score fast runs with the bat, with a strike rate of over 130 in domestic T20 cricket.
In a competition where Sri Lanka isn’t anticipated to be a significant participant, Hasaranga will be required to carry a lot of the load if they are to move past the group stages.
Harry Tector (Ireland)
25 matches, 413 runs at 22.94, 127.86 strike rate in T20Is
Tector, a highly regarded player in the Irish system, has solidified his place in the T20 and ODI teams during the last year.
The right-handed batter, who is still only 21, may not play every game for Ireland, but he may give some spark in the middle order.
With so much emphasis on captain Andrew Balbirnie, as well as veteran campaigners Kevin O’Brien and Paul Stirling, expect Tector to go unnoticed and put in some good performances the longer Ireland stays in the competition.
Mark Watt, Scotland
39 matches, 49 wickets at 20, 7.15 economy rate in T20Is
Watt is perhaps most remembered for his performance against England in a one-off ODI game in 2018, when he took three wickets in a stunning win for Scotland.
After that performance, the left-arm off-spinner got experience with Lancashire and rose to 15th in the ICC T20 bowling rankings.
Watt will play a key role if the Scots are to get through the first round of the event.
Tony Ura, Papua New Guinea
25 matches, 754 runs at 37.7, 141.46 strike rate in T20Is
Papua New Guinea isn’t known for its cricket, but Tony Ura has always represented the country brilliantly on the international arena.
The 31-year-old keeper-batsman has been a mainstay of their team for the past six years, and his big-hitting at the top of the order has been crucial to PNG’s World Cup push.
Ura’s ability to pile on the runs and his deft work behind the stumps will be crucial if they are to make an improbable climb out of the first stage and into the Super 12s.
Ben Cooper (Netherlands)
56 matches, 1230 runs at 29.28, 125 strike rate in T20Is
Ben Cooper, the younger brother of former BBL and Australian domestic star Tom Cooper, has represented the Netherlands in both ODI and T20 cricket for almost a decade.
The 29-year-old left-hander is from New South Wales, but he, like his older brother, has represented Holland at the international level.
Cooper has a long list of highlights, including his unbroken 91 against Ireland in the World Cup build-up last year.
Bilal Khan, Sultanate of Oman
35 T20I matches, 51 wickets at 16.25, and a 6.78 economy rate
Khan has been a member of the Oman team for six years and has appeared in over 50 games for his country in both white-ball and red-ball forms.
With his snappy left-arm seamers, the 33-year-old has guided Oman enter the World Cup this year, highlighted by his 4/19 against Namibia in 2019, and has moved to 29th in the ICC bowling rankings.
Oman will face an uphill struggle to qualify for the Super 12s, but Khan will be rushing in to give them a chance to stun the world.
Gerhard Erasmus, Namibia
22 matches, 522 runs at 34.79, 140.7 strike rate, 12 wickets in T20Is
Since his debut in 2019, the 26-year-old all-rounder has been a regular in the Namibian side, and has been one of their best performances in the build-up to the World Cup.
Erasmus has a high strike rate of 140, as demonstrated by his performance against Singapore in the qualifications, when he scored 72 runs off just 46 deliveries.
He’s also moved up to 64th in the ICC batting rankings, surpassing some big names like David Warner and Kieron Pollard.