ICC T20 World Cup 2021 Preview: Stage Set For Showpiece Event

The seventh edition of the ICC T20 World Cup is set to start in the UAE and Oman on Sunday, with as many as 16 teams battling it out for the coveted prize. The showpiece T20 event is returning after a five-year gap, with the initially planned 2020 edition being postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Originally scheduled to be held in India, the tournament was subsequently moved to the UAE and Oman. The 2021 edition will see the tournament start with an eight-team Round 1, which will be divided into two groups of four each.

Ireland, Namibia, the Netherlands and Sri Lanka are in Group A while Bangladesh, Oman, Papua New Guinea and Scotland are in Group B.

The T20 World Cup will begin with co-hosts Oman taking on Papua New Guinea in the opening game on Sunday.

The two best finishers from each group will move to the Super 12 phase, where they will join the eight teams who have directly made it to the round on the basis of their rankings.

The Super 12 phase will see two groups of six teams each, with Australia, England, South Africa and the West Indies directly placed in Group 1 and Afghanistan, India, New Zealand and Pakistan in Group 2.

Defending champions the West Indies, led by the experienced Kieron Pollard, the only team to win the title on more than one occasion, will be looking to add a third crown next month.

Aaron Finch-led Australia, record five-time winners of the ODI World Cup, have never been able to win the T20 world title and will be keen to lift their maiden crown.

Placed in a tough group, Australia and the West Indies will also come up against reigning ODI world champions England, who will be in search of a second title in this competition.

Eoin Morgan’s side won’t face an easy ride though, with Temba Bavuma’s South Africa another formidable side in the group.

The tournament will be the last for Virat Kohli as T20I captain of India and the 32-year-old star will be keen on finishing his captaincy in the shortest format on a high.

India will be look to begin with a win when they face Babar Azam-led Pakistan in their opening clash.

Kane Williamson’s New Zealand, who won the World Test Championship crown this past summer after a heartbreaking defeat in the final of the 2019 ODI World Cup, will be another team to keep an eye on.

Promoted

Afghanistan, led by Mohammad Nabi, are heading into the tournament following domestic turmoil at home and will hope to put their best foot forward.

The warm-up matches for teams who have directly qualified for the Super 12 phase will be held on October 18 and 20, with India taking on England on the 18th and Australia two days later.

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