The ICC T20 World Cup 2022, where the crème de la crème of 20-over specialists will gather up to put on a grand show for the fans of big hits and even bigger wickets, is now just a few months away.
It makes this just about the right time to shed light on the top teams that will be contending for the title as well as the players who are expected to wrap themselves in glory.
ICC T20 World Cup 2022: Top Teams
Thanks to their IPL, the modern Indian cricket team is almost always chock-full of talent and can be relied upon to field a competitive side at any given time.
They have won the T20 World Cup just once, which was way back in 2007 in the inaugural edition, although they were also among the finalists in 2014.
In the 2021 tournament, they had a horrible start where they were outclassed by arch-rivals Pakistan, and they never recovered from that setback. At the ICC T20 World Cup 2022, they will have a new leader in the form of Rohit Sharma and so it remains to be seen how the Men in Blue fare under him
A T20 World Cup was the only thing missing from Australia’s trophy cabinet, and they plugged that gap as well by winning the tournament in 2021. It means they will now be the defending champions for the 2022 edition of the tournament on home soil.
Apart from being the champions and enjoying the home advantage, the Aussies’ big tournament pedigree tells us that they can never be counted out in ICC tournaments. After all, they have won the bigger, 50-over World Cup an astonishing five times. Thus, no matter which 11 guys take the field for the hosts, they will be champions at best and competent at worst.
They obviously have a dominant T20 record on home turf, having won 31 of their 51 matches and losing just 17.
Australia may have won the 2021 World Cup but it was the English who were red-hot favorites in the buildup to the tournament. In fact, for a large part of the tournament itself, they were the most devastating team and had posted a dominant win over eventual champions Australia before being upset by the Kiwis in the semis.
England possesses some of the most devastating hitters in world cricket, and arguably the most dangerous batsman in the game today in the form of Jos Buttler (more on him later). Their T20 record in Australia isn’t very flattering (1 win, 7 defeats) but nonetheless, they will still be one of the frontrunners for the title.
Like the two above them, Pakistan too is a one-time champion (2009) and one-time runners-up. They are known for their volatility – especially in big tournaments – but over the past few years, with a few stable characters in charge, they appear to have turned the corner.
They had started the 2021 World Cup with the biggest of bangs – a win over India – and continued to dazzle until they ran into Australia in the semis and got their hearts broken.
They have two of the best and most reliable batters in T20 cricket in the form of Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan, while their pace spearhead Shaheen Afridi is one of the most devastating bowlers around.
Their sole 50-over World Cup win back in 1992 also came on Australian soil, so they have fond memories of playing big tourneys Down Under.
ICC T20 World Cup 2022: Top Players
Jos Buttler is not among the top 10 ranked T20 players on ICC rankings but some things do not need to be quantified, indexed, or ranked. Buttler, who was recently named the England white-ball captain, is arguably the hardest batsman to bowl to when he is in the zone – which can be quite often.
He lit up the IPL this year with three centuries and over the past 12 months, he has also been his country’s best T20 batter.
During the 2021 World Cup, he averaged an incredible 89.66 runs per innings, and even though his team crashed out, he was named in the tournament’s best 11.
Babar Azam is the number one-ranked T20 batter in the world and is arguably the most naturally gifted player in the game today. His elegance, class, and consistency are second to none.
Earlier in his career, he was criticized for taking his time to get going but he’s eliminated that one final chink in his armor too. He was the highest scorer at World Cup 2021 and even though the 2022 edition will be played in different conditions, no one expects him NOT to find runs.
He may now be in the twilight of his career but David Warner can still hit – especially when the battle is on his own turf.
The diminutive lefty is the second-highest scorer of T20 runs for Australia in Australia and scores his runs at an average of 45.11 there. While his form in IPL during 2021 had seen a dip and he was prematurely and undeservedly deemed a spent force by his critics, his form for Australia has never had this problem.
On his day, he could be for Australia what Buttler is to England.
After a difficult few years, Hardik Pandya is now back to his best. He is able to bat, bowl, field, lead and do everything else that makes him such an important player for India.
He was his franchise Gujarat Titans’ best player during their title-winning campaign this year and has shown all the signs that he’s ready to take the center stage for India in the World Cup.
Despite Sri Lankan cricket’s problems over the years, Wanindu Hasaranga has quietly emerged on the scene and become one of the best all-rounders in the shortest format.
He was the leading wicket-taker in the 2021 World Cup and sits in the top 10 of ICC’s T20 ranking for all-rounders.
His deliveries are very hard to pick off the surface and that makes him so successful in T20 cricket. If Sri Lanka has to do something impactful at the ICC T20 World Cup 2022, it goes without saying that Hasaranga will be the provider of much of their highlights.