The most prestigious trophy in T20 cricket begins today in Oman and the UAE! Who will emerge victorious from the final?
West Indies (Third Favourites)
The defending champions are out of form individually but always find a way to get together collectively and do incredible things at big short-format tournaments. Nicholas Pooran, Shimron Hetmyer, Andre Russell, and Keiron Pollard should be acclimatised to conditions after playing the Indian Premier League (IPL) in the UAE.
Chris Gayle is the elder statesman in the team and needs to show he can still perform at the top of the order. It certainly appears a mistake to have refused to pick Sunil Narine. The mystery spinner was on fire in the IPL but was allegedly left out owing to a failed fitness test. Therefore, the question is – will this bowling attack be able to contain enough runs in the event that the batting lineup doesn’t fire?
England (Second Favourites)
England reached the final of the 2016 T20 World Cup and appeared to have won the game before they were brutally dispatched by Carlos Brathwaite with his four sixes in a row. The team then captured the 2019 One Day International World Cup and will look to add this trophy to their cabinet. The Three Lions have the deadliest batting lineup in the world when it’s fully intact but that’s not going to be the case for this tournament.
2019 World Cup and Ashes hero Ben Stokes won’t be playing, and neither will star fast man Jofra Archer. It’ll be up to Jos Buttler, Eoin Morgan, Jason Roy, and Jonny Bairstow to provide the bulk of the runs. England have a lot of players returning to cricket after an extended break. Will these guys hit form in time? Also, can England find a way to score enough runs on the slow, alien pitches of the UAE and Oman, especially against world-class spin bowling?
India are the clear favourites in the UAE and Oman. They would’ve been had the tournament remained in India. The country triumphed at the first-ever T20 World Cup and that result undoubtedly changed the future of the format and cricket in general. Virat Kohli will step down as captain after the competition and you can bet this team wants to send him out on top with a victory here!
With the bat, watch out for Kohli himself, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, and Hardik Pandya. With the ball, Jasprit Bumrah and Ravichandran Ashwin could be the matchwinners for the team in blue. India have a powerful team in all departments and most importantly they have players who should flourish on the pitches of the Middle East!