THE Twenty20 Cricket World Cup appears to be between England and India according to the bookies, but the countries trading just behind the top two are firmly focused on lifting the trophy in November.
While England are the No.1 ranked nation and India have a knack of winning cricket matches (both 3/1), South Africa (12/1) go in search of a first global tournament win while the West Indies (6/1) will be aiming to make it a hat-trick of Twenty20 successes.
South Africa skipper Temba Bavuma is challenging his team to make history, and sees the tournament as the first of three chances in the next two years to break their ICC duck – the T20 World Cup in Australia next year and the 50-over version in India in 2023 the other two, reports mydailypapers.com.
South Africa have made it to the semi-finals of a limited over world cup on three occasions, with their most infamous appearance back in 1992 against England when they went down in the ’22 off one ball’ game. Chasing a target of 253 in 45 overs in a game interrupted by rain, they reached 231 for six from 42 overs and five balls when it rained again.
With the players in the pavilion, cricket officials got to work to produce a revised target – 22 from 13 balls became 22 off seven balls, and then finally, when the South African batsmen went back out, they somehow needed 22 off one ball.
It’s gone down in cricket folklore as a day that shamed cricket officialdom, and the Proteas will be eager to go at least one step further in November and reach their first final. However, they’ll have to do it the hard way as they are drawn in the toughest group of the Super 12 on paper alongside England, Australia and reigning champions West Indies. The other group is headed by India, alongside New Zealand, Pakistan and Afghanistan, reports CNN.
The Windies are perhaps surprisingly only third favorites after their wins in 2012 and 2016, with the last over of the tournament final five years ago still seared into England’s memory.
Eoin Morgan’s side were cruising to victory with the Windies needing 19 off the final over before Carlos Braithwaite decided to effectively throw everything at his side’s bid to claim an improbable victory. Ben Stokes was bowling and Braithwaite hit the all-rounder for four consecutive sixes to win with two balls to spare.
West Indies’ skipper back then was Darren Sammy, the 37-year-old in no doubt that the Caribbean kings should again be favorites to retain the trophy.
The 2021 edition has been delayed by 12 months due to Covid and will be hosted by the UAE and Oman, moving away from its original destination India, also because of Covid. The tournament gets underway on October 17 and will conclude the following month on November 14.
According to US betting experts, two preliminary groups will decide the final four making up the Super 12 with former winners Sri Lanka (40/1) forced to endure a preliminary test against Ireland, Namibia and the Netherland if they are to have any chance of repeating their 2014 win. The Super 12 series of games begin on October 23.