We are less than six months away from the first ball of the 2024 T20 World Cup and the world’s biggest sides are reaching the final stages of their preparations for the much-anticipated tournament. England are the current champions having secured their second T20 title in 2022 with a five wicket victory over Pakistan in the final. The triumph made it a double of white-ball titles collected in the space of three years for the English with Ben Stokes leading the charge on both occasions.
The Three Lions will have a tough task in retaining their crown though amidst a turbulent 12 months for English cricket in general. As of writing the defending champions sit third in the T20 international rankings behind India and New Zealand and while white-ball head coach Matthew Mott and his men may not enter the tournament as favourites, you can never write them off. Here’s an early look at what to expect from the 2024 T20 World Cup.
The T20 World Cup will be dual-hosted for the second time in three years with West Indies hosting their second tournament alongside, for the first time ever, the United States of America with the final of the event taking place at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados.
The opening contest of the 2024 T20 World Cup group stages will take place on the 1st of June when hosts USA take on their North American neighbours Canada at the Grand Prairie Stadium in Dallas, Texas. The final is scheduled for the 29th of June.
India’s 2022 T20 World Cup campaign did not go as planned. Entering the tournament as favourites, the Virat Kohli’s side reached the semi-finals with serious intent of winning it all in Australia. They were met with an oncoming storm as England chased down their total of 168 without loss and went on to claim the world crown for themselves. It was a bitter pill to swallow but the Indians have fought back in the year since to sit atop the T20I world rankings. The nation has registered T20 series wins over Sri Lanka, Ireland, New Zealand twice and an impressive 4-1 victory over ICC Cricket World Cup winners Australia. While the T20 world number one side’s spirits will be low having slumped to only their third defeat in 46 Test matches at home against England the other day, they can take solace moving forward knowing that in one-day formats they are a force to be reckoned with. Alongside them as favourites will be Australia who back in November secured their sixth Cricket World Cup win beating hosts India in the final by six wickets after an incredible knock of 137 from Travis Head. According to the best betting sites, the Aussies are 5/1 to win it all and it comes as no surprise. Much like their Cricket World Cup final opponents India, Australia suffered a recent setback in the Test format having lost to the West Indies at home for the first time in 27 years to level their series. They may have also suffered at the hands of India in their recent T20 series but Australia will always be in contention when it comes to the World Cups, they relish tournament formats and with some Steve Smith, Marcus Stoinis and Tanveer Sangha in their ranks, the team promises once again to be a tough nut to crack.
The best of the rest
It seems absurd to say given they are the defending champions but England are probably just behind India and Australia in the pecking order. They showed glimpses of what they’re capable of in a tied series with New Zealand last Septmeber but a series defeat to the West Indies in December did little to help their chances for this tournament. New Zealand will also be in the conversation as a result of some good recent history in one-day tournaments. They possess the sport’s most unwanted record when it comes to finals but their nack of progressing to the latter stage of competitions is undeniable; perhaps this can finally be the year they cross the finish line. The team to look out for as the ‘dark horses’ for the title though will be the West Indies. This is the format where the Windies often produce their best with a who’s who of cricket’s past making names for themselves in T20 World Cups. Shai Hope and Brandon King look in terrific form with the bat while the likes of Andre Russell, Jason Holder and Alzarri Joseph can be lethal with the ball. With the crowd behind them, they will be a threat.
The ones to watch
As previously mentioned, keep your eyes on Jason Holder and Shai Hope from the host nation. They were key factors in the West Indies’ recent 3-2 series win over England and should play their part come June. Prolific batsman Rohit Sharma will be the one to watch from favourites India. Time and time again Sharma has made the crucial difference for the Indians in one-day formats and it should prove to be the case yet again. As per usual Steve Smith will once again be the danger man for the Aussies heading into the tournament. Meanwhile Phil Salt has emerged as a very exciting prospect for England in T20 internationals. His recent contributions against the West Indies earned him several plaudits and if he can maintain that form in 2024 then he’ll be sure to make an impact at the World Cup.