This year’s World Cup began last Sunday (17/10) and will run until 14th NovemberAbhi psy pu/Wikimedia Commons

“Carlos Brathwaite, Carlos Brathwaite, remember the name, history for the West Indies!”

If, like me, these words still haunt your dreams five years on from the ill-fated 2016 final, this year’s T20 World Cup is an opportunity to put those demons to bed. Brathwaite hit four sixes in four balls off the bowling of Ben Stokes to ensure the trophy returned to the Caribbean for a second time. This year the Windies look strong again, while India and England will fancy their chances. Don’t underestimate Pakistan or Bangladesh though, with the latter recently dispatching of Australia and New Zealand with alarming ease.

The tournament started last Sunday (17/10) in the United Arab Emirates, but the brunt of the action doesn’t come until the Super 12 starts tomorrow (23/10). The top eight teams in the International Cricket Council (ICC) rankings gain automatic progression to the Super 12, while the other eight must take part in a preliminary group stage to determine which four make the cut. This provided for some heavyweight battles, such as the tournament’s opening game of Papua New Guinea vs. Oman, with the latter winning by 10 wickets with 38 balls left. Sadly for fans of Pavel Florin, Romania will not be participating in the tournament.

“I fear England may fall short of an appearance in the final, setting up a barnstorming clash between Pakistan and India in the final”

Final Four

In the first group of the Super 12, which contains Australia, England, South Africa, and the West Indies, it’s hard to look past England as a nailed-on semi-finalist. The West Indies are a good side, but fairly inconsistent. I’m going to go with South Africa as the second-place finisher, with Australia ultimately losing all three games.

The second group consists of Afghanistan, India, New Zealand, and Pakistan. India should be very confident of progressing, while Afghanistan are somewhat of an outside chance to make the semi-finals. Fans of The Hundred will be familiar with Afghanistan’s spinning duo of Rashid Khan and Mujeeb-ur-Rahman, but a player to watch in this tournament is Rahmanullah Gurbaz, a hard-hitting opening batsman. Sadly, I don’t think they’ll have enough to make it out of a tough group, so I’m going to put Pakistan in second to go through with India.

Virat Kohli’s India should beat South Africa, while I fear England may fall short of an appearance in the final, setting up a barnstorming clash between Pakistan and India in the final.


Kohli recently announced his intention to step down as captain of the Indian T20 side, so to sign off with silverware would be a fitting tribute to his star quality. I think it will be a tough game, but I’d back India to bring it home, given their obvious talent across the board.

“Spinners always seem to find a lot of joy in T20 cricket, and the slower pitches in Oman may mean the ball turns more”

Dark Horse

Afghanistan is a strong bet to be this year’s leading dark horse. Khan and Mujeeb are both quality bowlers, and their batting lineup, while weaker than their bowling attack, is still very decent. In spite of this, I’m going to reach outside of the top eight teams in the tournament for the dark horses. Sri Lanka look set to qualify after two wins from two, but given their status on the international scene this is more of a return to form after a torrid spell. Ireland dismissed a sorry Netherlands outfit, with Curtis Campher taking four wickets in four balls in that game, but were demolished by Sri Lanka.

Scotland were my pick early on, and their form in the opening stages has certainly lived up to the hype. Upsetting Bangladesh in their first game before disposing of Papua New Guinea and then host nation Oman yesterday (21/10), the Scots have been a joy to watch. Richie Berrington has been the standout star, scoring 70 against Papua New Guinea followed by 31* against Oman. They enter a tough group that contains India, Pakistan, New Zealand and Afghanistan with high spirits, but I wouldn’t be shocked if they continued to upset the teams at the top of the table.

Highest Scorer

If Pakistan are to win the tournament, a lot of the heavy lifting will have to be done by Babar Azam. Ranked number two in the world by the ICC, he is an unbelievably gifted batsman who relies on timing rather than pure power. Kohli is always a good shout, although his form in England was slightly worrying for India fans. Meanwhile, the English pair of Jos Buttler and Liam Livingstone will look to score runs fast, with Livingstone hitting some of the longest sixes I’ve ever seen, including one at Headingley back in July.


Mountain View

Cambridge's Emma Jones wins Charlotte Edwards Cup with South East Stars

However, my pick to top the run-scoring charts is KL Rahul, the Indian opener. He averages 39.9 in T20s, with two centuries and twelve half-centuries. If India are to reach the final, their opening partnership will be crucial, and I think Rahul will be the standout player in that side.

Most Wickets

Jasprit Bumrah looked in great nick in England this summer, with his unorthodox action getting the better of many an English batsman. Shaheen Shah Afridi for Pakistan is a menace, bowling in the 90s whilst standing at almost two metres tall. Tymal Mills returns to the England fold, a man capable of sending down some outrageous yorkers. Yet spinners always seem to find a lot of joy in T20 cricket, and the slower pitches in Oman may mean the ball turns more. I’m going with India’s Varun Chakravathy coming off the back of a load of wickets in the IPL, including five wickets for just twenty runs against the Delhi Capitals.

Ones to Watch

I’ve mentioned George Munsey already, but look out for him at the tournament - his reverse sweep is truly something to behold. Anrich Nortje, the South African pace bowler, is another talent to keep an eye on, having garnered praise from the likes of compatriot Dale Steyn himself. Finally, Andre Fletcher is a West Indian batsman capable of hitting the ball almost as hard as compatriot Chris Gayle, so expect him, Gayle and Kieron Pollard to be near the top of the sixes tally at the end of the tournament.