The men’s T20 World Cup is set to get underway on October 16, with Australia aiming to defend their title from last year on home soil.
The tournament is still relatively new – this is the eighth staging since it was first played in 2007 – but T20 cricket is growing rapidly in popularity thanks to the emergence of franchise leagues around the world.
We’ve taken a look at teams’ results in past tournaments and their form this year to uncover who might be best-placed to challenge Down Under.
Here are our findings on who will win the T20 World Cup:
T20 World Cup schedule
The tournament takes place over the course of 29 days, with 45 games scheduled to be played between 16 nations.
A preliminary group stage precedes a ‘Super 12’ round robin that whittles the field down to the four semi-finalists.
The final will be played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on November 13.
Anyone can win
When it comes to deciding who will win the T20 World Cup, with just 20 overs per side, the majority of nations are capable of beating any team in the tournament on a given day.
There has been no dominant team in previous editions, with South Africa being the most successful in terms of win percentage despite failing to lift the trophy or even reach a final.
West Indies – the only side to win the World Cup twice – have won just 50% of their matches.
The thrill of the chase
T20 cricket is a game of fine margins in which the flip of a coin can prove decisive.
Past results suggest that the team fielding first – and chasing a target – has an advantage when the pressure ramps up in the knockout phase of the tournament.
There is nothing to choose between batting first or second in the group stage, but the latter results in victory on 57% and 71% of occasions in semi-finals and finals respectively.
The last World Cup was a case in point – Australia and New Zealand won their semi-finals by chasing down targets with an over to spare, before the Aussies wisely chose to field in the final and overhauled the Black Caps’ score of 172 with eight wickets in hand.
Batters for show, bowlers for dough?
There is little to separate teams that reach the latter stages in terms of batting power, with all of the semi-finalists in previous editions scoring at around eight runs per over.
However, finalists tend to have the edge on their opponents’ bowling attacks.
Teams that are eliminated in the group stages generally concede runs at a faster rate than they score them.
Which teams are most likely to do well?
New Zealand, India and Australia look best-equipped to go far, based on the amount that their batters’ scoring rate has exceeded their bowlers’ economy rate in the last 12 months.
England’s leaky bowling attack could be their Achilles’ heel, as was the case when they finished as runners-up in 2016.
On that day, Carlos Brathwaite famously launched Ben Stokes for four consecutive sixes in the final over to win the World Cup for West Indies.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan – England’s opponents in their opening group game – could be dark horses based on their impressive bowlers, led by mystery spinner Rashid Khan.
Which players could star at the tournament?
We’ve picked out some of the most explosive batters and the most miserly bowlers ahead of the World Cup, using data from domestic and international cricket in 2022.
Of players to have featured in at least 20 matches this year, South Africa’s Rilee Rossouw – fresh off the back of a magnificent century against India – has the best strike rate among batters.
India’s Suryakumar Yadav is arguably the form man going into the tournament, as the only member of the big-hitting list to score his runs at an average of over 40.
Afghanistan dominates the list of in-form bowlers in T20s, with Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Rashid Khan and Fazalhaq Farooqi all featuring in the top three for economy rate this year.
Use of slow bowling is likely to be key as teams look to restrict their opponents’ scoring rate – nine of the 10 most economical bowlers are spinners.
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