The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup kicks off on October 17, with matches taking place in the United Arab Emirates and Oman. This year’s big-hitting cricket spectacle will take place just days after the Indian Premier League concludes. Is this going to be the stage for the world’s best players to make an impact in front of the cricketing world, with the tournament proper kicking off on Saturday with a game between Australia and South Africa? Here, we look at some players to keep an eye on during the tournament.
- Jos Buttler:
Buttler has developed into one of the best T20I openers in the world, averaging 47.17 with a strike rate of 147.97. Nine of his 14 T20I fifties have come from the top of the order. No other opener in the world who has played at least 20 innings has averaged as much as Buttler in T20Is during the same time period. Jos Buttler scored 73 runs off 51 balls as England defeated New Zealand by 13 runs in their final warm-up game. Buttler’s impact was highlighted by his contribution of more than 70% of England’s runs at the time of his dismissal. The wicket-keeper batsman has put together a couple of good knocks in the warm-up games and will be looking to replicate that form in the tournament.
- K.L. Rahul:
KL Rahul, who recorded his fourth consecutive 500-plus run-tally in an Indian Premier League (IPL) season, is one of the Indian batsmen in form heading into the T20 World Cup. Rahul’s run totals of 659, 593, 670, and 626 in the last four IPL editions demonstrate why he is still a force to be reckoned with on the biggest stage. In the lead-up to the tournament, Rahul scored 51 against England in the first warm-up match, forming an 82-run partnership with Ishan Kishan. The Karnataka batsman then followed that up with a 39-ball knock against Australia in the final practise game on Wednesday, opening with Rohit Sharma. When the tournament begins, Rahul will have the opportunity to add another feather to his cap, and not just by continuing his incredible form.
- Martin Guptill:
Martin Guptill is one of the few players in the world who can play the short-arm pull on one leg with grace. Martin Guptill, a right-handed opening batsman, has a high significance for the Kiwis, and he can chip in with crucial runs and set the perfect tone for the Kiwis. He is currently the second-highest run-scorer in T20Is, trailing only Indian captain Virat Kohli. The rhythm of Guptill’s stroke play is an important aspect of his batting. When in form, he is a difficult batsman to stop due to his exceptional ability to deal with both pacers and spinners. There may be days when he expresses himself in infuriating ways, but that is the nature of the beast that Guptill is. All of this will be worth it if he can continue to be the matchwinner he has been for the Kiwis.
- Tabrez Shamsi:
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Tabraiz Shamsi, the South African wrist spinner, has been in outstanding form in T20Is this year, taking 28 wickets from 17 games, the most by any bowler in T20Is this year. Shamsi’s economy rate of 5.53 in T20Is this year speaks for itself, and he most recently troubled the Lankan batters during the Proteas’ September away tour, keeping the hosts at bay. Shamsi can also decimate batters with his bowling variations, particularly his googly, which could be effective in the T20 World Cup. Shamsi will be joined by the pace trio of Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, and Kagiso Rabada, giving the Proteas a potent bowling attack.
- Jasprit Bumrah:
Bumrah, who was once the world’s best white-ball bowler, has fallen down the rankings, but the 27-year-unorthodox old’s sling-shot action and ability to pick up wickets in the death overs continue to scare batsmen. The Mumbai Indians had a forgettable season in their defence of the Indian Premier League (IPL) title, but Bumrah continued his superb Test form to finish the season with 21 wickets, 15 of which came in the UAE portion of the tournament. Bumrah has 59 wickets to his name in 49 T20 International matches, with an incredible economy rate of 6.67. By leading the Indian pace attack, he could very well be the match-winner.
- Rashid Khan:
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The huge impact of a 23-year-old bowler from a war-torn country in limited-overs cricket has been a welcome sight in an era when the sport is dominated by batters. Rashid Khan has been a key member of the Afghani squad since October 2015 and has played a key role in his country’s meteoric rise from associate nation to a competitive full-member side in limited-overs cricket. Because of his impact in the modern T20 era, wrist-spinners, who were previously overlooked as a bowling threat, have emerged as a new force against batters since his debut. Rashid’s unique combination of wicket-taking ability and tight economy has earned him a reputation as a match-winner all over the world.
- Glenn Maxwell:
Glenn Maxwell, an Australian batsman who has performed admirably in the IPL 2021, will be one of the All-rounders to watch in the upcoming T20 World Cup 2021. Since the start of the IPL 2021 season in the UAE, he’s looked in great shape. It will be interesting to see how he goes about his explosive game for Australia in the shortest format, with the same pitches and conditions as the World Cup. Glenn Maxwell, the X-factor in RCB’s IPL playoff run, silenced his detractors with valuable contributions throughout the season. Maxwell also bowled in the IPL after doing a lot of technical work on his bowling with Craig Howard in Victoria during his off-season, as well as RCB and Australia spin coach Sridharan Sriram, particularly on bowling to right-handers. Maxwell wants to provide Australia captain Aaron Finch with another versatile spinning option in addition to Ashton Agar and Adam Zampa, rather than just a match-up for left-handers.
- Liam Livingston:
Liam Livingstone made his England T20 debut against South Africa in June 2017. Four years later, he was making his third appearance in the format. Despite his lengthy absence, the Lancashire all-rounder has the potential to be an important member of one of the favorites to win the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in 2021. Livingstone makes up for his lack of international experience with experience in T20 franchise cricket, having played in the IPL, Blast, Big Bash, PSL, and South African Mzansi Super League. The 28-year-old has 851 runs at an average of 30.4 and a strike rate of 138 in 28 games for the Perth Scorchers in the Big Bash League.