As the calendar ticks into 2024, yet another world championship is upon us with the T20 World Cup. The competition is hosted by the West Indies and the USA, and it will get underway on June 1st. Over the course of the following four weeks, 20 nations will battle it out across 55 matches to determine the world champions in the most explosive form of the game
It may come as a surprise to see the Land of the Free hosting games, especially considering their apathy toward the sport. The Stars and Stripes will actually open the proceedings with a matchup against local rivals Canada at the 15,000-capacity Grand Prairie Stadium in Dallas, Texas. Then, further group stage matches will be hosted at the 40,000-capacity Central Broward Park in Florida and at the state-of-the-art 34,000-capacity Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in New York.
But once the Super 8’s stage gets underway, all eyes will be on the Carribean as the world’s best attempt to claim the ultimate prize. But who are the early contenders for glory? Let’s take a look.
India was expected to win the recent Cricket World Cup late last year. They were on home turf and considering the strength of their squad and the fact that the last three tournaments had been won by the host nation, it’s clear to see why they were so fearsome. They won every game they played up until the Ahmedabad final where they faltered badly, being bowled out for 240 as Australia romped to victory. Now, their attention must turn to the T20 stage.
The Men in Blue are the current top-ranked T20 team in the world, and it’s safe to say that their squad is one of the strongest out there. Led by Virat Kohli, they have a fantastic batting line-up that includes Rohit Sharma, Suryakumar Yadav, and Hardik Pandya, among others.
Their bowling attack, spearheaded by Jasprit Bumrah, is another strength that could take them all the way. All in all, India is a formidable force that shouldn’t be underestimated.
The Australian team is no stranger to being at the top in any cricket format, and at present, they are the dominant force in both the test arena and on the One Day stage. They are the reigning World Test Champions, and they added the Cricket World Cup to their already overflowing collection with the aforementioned victory against India. Add to that the fact that they will have clung on to the Ashes for a decade by the time the next tournament gets underway, and it’s no surprise that they are contenders once more.
However, if the Baggy Greens can manage to secure victory in the Americas, they will become the first team in history to be triple world champions. They have been priced as +400 contenders by sports betting online bookies to do exactly that, and with a formidable lineup, including Aaron Finch, Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, and Pat Cummins, they will take some stopping.
They are known for their aggressive approach with both bat and ball, and the aforementioned Finch and Maxwell will certainly take the fight to the best bowling attacks in the world. Add to that a proven track record in big tournaments, and Australia could very well win their first T20 World Cup.
England has surprised the world with their exceptional performances in the white-ball cricket format in recent years. They are the current T20 World Cup champions, an honor they claimed when they defeated Pakistan at the MCG in late 2022. However, they lost the moniker of double world champions shockingly when they were dumped out of the Cricket World Cup at the group stage following several disappointing defeats including one to lowly Afghanistan.
They have a unique style of playing, where they go all-out in the powerplay, and their middle-order can continue scoring at an average of 10 runs per over. Their squad boasts some of the best T20 players in the world, including Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow, both of whom have the potential to slap the ball out of the ground at will. Their batting is their strength, but their bowling attack is also nothing to sneeze at, with Adil Rashid and Chris Jordan leading the charge.
New Zealand (+800)
New Zealand is a team that has always punched above their weight during ICC tournaments. They have a balanced team of batsmen, all-rounders, and bowlers who can perform consistently at the highest level. Kane Williamson, their captain, and batsman has been one of the most consistent players in world cricket and has the ability to play either an attacking or defensive role based on the match situation. Their spin bowling is one of the best in the world, and if their pacers can provide early breakthroughs, they could move into the semi-finals of the tournament.