India will take on Pakistan on October 24 in the T20 World Cup.
The 2021 T20 World Cup is set to begin on Sunday in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Oman. The tournament will kick off with co-hosts Oman taking on Papua New Guinea in a First Round Group B encounter.
The 2021 T20 World Cup was supposed to be held in India, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced it to be moved out of the country to the UAE and Oman. The fact that the 2020 season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) was hosted smoothly in the UAE also contributed to the decision.
Since then, half of IPL 2021 has also been played in the UAE, with the final scheduled for Friday. But the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) remain the official hosts for the World Cup.
The four teams from the subcontinent are set to play a big part in the tournament.
Three of the six previous T20 World Cup titles have been won by subcontinent teams, with India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka winning the tournament once each.
This time too, while India and Pakistan have strong squads, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are also potent threats in spin-friendly conditions.
Arch-rivals India and Pakistan will begin their T20 World Cup campaigns with a blockbuster clash against each other in the Super 12 stage on October 24.
On that note, we rank the four subcontinent teams in the T20 World Cup.
India are among the favourites for the 2021 T20 World Cup.
Virat Kohli’s final assignment as India’s T20 captain will be his first T20 World Cup as skipper. India are among the favorites to win the tournament and having 2007 T20 World Cup-winning captain MS Dhoni as their mentor will only boost their chances.
With the likes of Kohli, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan and Hardik Pandya in the squad, India have an explosive batting lineup.
Jasprit Bumrah will spearhead India’s bowling, with Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar the other pacers selected in their squad. Whether Hardik Pandya bowls or not remains to be seen.
India are loaded in the spin department as well, with Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Rahul Chahar, Varun Chakravarthy and Axar Patel all part of the squad.
India are expected to go deep into the tournament and end their ICC trophy drought, having last won the Champions Trophy in 2013.
Pakistan have a strong T20 side.
Led by the top-ranked T20I batter, Babar Azam, Pakistan will be looking to add to their 2009 T20 World Cup title. While Babar and Mohammad Rizwan are Pakistan’s two consistent batters, Shaheen Shah Afridi will be their biggest threat with the ball.
Their vice-captain Shadab Khan is handy with both the bat and ball, while veteran Mohammad Hafeez is still going strong in the shortest format and will be a rock in their middle order.
They have also added Shoaib Malik to their squad, drawing mixed responses, but he is likely to provide valuable experience to the squad.
The fact that the UAE was Pakistan’s second home when teams were not touring their country also provided them with an added edge.
Pakistan are an unpredictable team who on their day can turn up and beat any team in the world. Babar Azam and co. are strong contenders for the title.
Bangladesh will be looking to cause some upsets in the T20 World Cup.
The only subcontinent team not to have won the T20 World Cup yet, Bangladesh will be looking to cause some upsets this time around.
All-rounder Mahmudullah will lead Bangladesh as they begin their campaign in the First Round.
They have sent out a strong message to anyone underestimating them with home series wins over Australia and New Zealand in recent times.
Apart from Mahmudullah, Bangladesh also have plenty of experienced stars in their squad. While Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim and Soumya Sarkar are all seasoned campaigners, Liton Das has also put in several match-winning contributions for team.
In the bowling department they have ace pacer Mustafizur Rahman, one of the best in the shortest format.
Bangladesh have made significant progress since the last edition of the T20 World Cup and will be a team to watch out for this year.
#4 Sri Lanka
Dasun Shanaka will lead Sri Lanka in the T20 World Cup.
Sri Lanka reached the final of the 2012 edition and won the 2014 T20 World Cup, but since then they have deteriorated significantly. They no longer have the likes of Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara to fall back on in the batting department. Former pacer Lasith Malinga, one of the greatest T20 bowlers ever, has also retired.
However, Sri Lanka, who will start their T20 World Cup journey in the First Round, do have a talented bunch of individuals who can threaten to cause a few upsets in the slow pitches of the UAE and Oman.
All-rounder Dasun Shanaka will lead the team, with Avishka Fernando, Kusal Perera and Dinesh Chandimal among the more recognized batters.
In Chamika Karunaratne, Sri Lanka have found an all-rounder who could come in handy with the bat lower down the order.
Wanindu Hasaranga is expected to be their lead spinner, with mystery tweaker Maheesh Theeksana providing them with an X-factor.