Since its inception in 2007, no pre-tournament favourite has ever won the competition. So, which team could be the surprise package in the T20 World Cup?
The 2021 edition of the T20 World Cup will be held in the UAE and Oman from October 17th to November 14th. The tournament was originally due to be held in India, but the global pandemic has seen it shifted to the Middle East. As with all cricket, an assessment of the playing conditions is vital to understanding which teams have a chance. The pitches of Oman and the UAE are slow, with low bounce, and they spin. Therefore, with that in mind, let’s look at three underdogs that the likes of India, England, and the West Indies will not want to face!
Afghanistan have the worst chance of any of these teams, because of their lack of international experience. However, they have the best T20 bowler in the world in Rashid Khan! The right arm wrist spinner bowled well on these pitches in the Indian Premier League and he’s a real weapon for the Afghans. Also, skipper Mohammad Nabi is a quality all-rounder, while Hazratullah Zazai and Mohammad Shahzad are highly explosive batters. Expect Afghanistan to cause a few upsets!
Bangladesh have more experience than Afghanistan and they too have players who can be dangerous in these conditions. They have a well-rounded bowling attack, including a formidable spin department that could turn games in the middle overs. In the last year, all-rounders Shakib Al Hasan and Mahedi Hasan have taken 14 wickets and made more than 100 runs in the format. When you add that to captain Mahmudullah’s ability to provide runs when his team needs them most, and Mustafizur ‘The Fizz’ Rahman’s death bowling, you have an incredible combination!
Pakistan are no longer as strong as they used to be in the era of Shahid Afridi and Younis Khan. They have been among the weaker sides in international cricket in recent years and haven’t been able to build on their 2017 Champions Trophy win. Still, you can never write Pakistan off and if there’s one team who will be happy about the change of venues, it’s this South Asian nation! In captain Babar Azam, they have one of the finest batters of the current era. If he gets going, Barbar can single-handedly win games for Pakistan. Mohammad Rizwan has also been highly impressive in recent times and their bowling will be led by the fearsome Shaheen Shah Afridi!