ICC World T20: Preview – Top Teams and Key Players

Published on: Aug 24, 2021

The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup is due to commence on 17th of October 2021, with the Final being played on the 14th of November 2021. The World T20 will be hosted by the UAE and Oman, moving away from its original destination- India.

Prospects of the participating teams:

1. England:

Current T20I Ranking- 1

England side is drawn in the same group as West Indies, Australia and South Africa.

The English team revamped their scoring and adopted a more aggressive approach after the dismal outing in 2015 50 over World Cup. It paid dividends soon enough as England were crowned World Champions in their 2019 campaign. This victory has given them enough confidence to compete with an ace attitude in the ICC tournaments. The Eoin Morgan led side defeated Sri Lanka 3-0 and Pakistan 2-1 at home.

Tournament History- England won the 2010 edition of World T20 as they toppled Australia in the Finals. They suffered a heart break in 2016 when West Indies clinched the Final in the last over of the match and England finished at the second place.

Key Players- Eoin Morgan, Jason Roy, Jos Buttler, Mark Wood, Adil Rashid.


India are drawn in the same group as Pakistan, Afghanistan and New Zealand.

Current T20I Ranking- 2

India were originally slated to host the World T20 but due to the ongoing Covid situation in India, ICC were compelled to change the destination for the tournament to the UAE and Oman.

The Virat Kohli led side will have ample practice before the start of the World T20 as they will be playing the remainder of IPL 2021 in UAE. It will give them a clear idea on how the pitches will behave in the UAE. In their recent T20I outing, the Indian side beat England 3-2 at home, and it will give them enough confidence going into the World T20.

Tournament History- India has only won the T20 championship once and that was in 2007. In 2014, they came very close to claiming the trophy but were denied by Sri Lanka in the Final. In 2016, India were beaten by West Indies in the Semi-Finals.

Key Players- Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Chahar, Jasprit Bumrah.

3. New Zealand:

Current T20I Ranking- 3

New Zealand are drawn in the same group with India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

New Zealand have had a terrific last summer. Their confidence must be sky high after winning the prestigious ICC World Test Championship. In the T20I format, they have recently beaten Australia 3-2 at home. With the Bangladesh tour around the corner, the Kiwis will get a good match practice before leading into the World T20.

Tournament History: The Kiwis have not won the World T20 so far. They made it to the semi-finals of the 2007 campaign but lost to Pakistan. In 2016, they were defeated by England in the Semi Final and missed out on another chance.

Key Players- Kane Williamson, Glenn Phillips, Kyle Jamieson, Martin Guptill, Trent Boult

4. Pakistan:

Current T20I Ranking- 4th

Pakistan are drawn in the same group as India, New Zealand and Afghanistan.

Pakistan have several players in the side who can be match winners in the T20I format. Skipper Babar Azam has been in a tremendous form and will look to lead his side with example. Pakistan won the recently concluded T20I series against West Indies by 1-0. Pakistan is a side that knows the pitch conditions in the UAE very well and will be a dangerous side to deal with in that part of the world.

Tournament History- Pakistan have won the World T20 once in 2009. They were very close to winning the 2007 World T20 as well but Misbah scooped his shot straight into the hands of Sreesanth to lose the opportunity.

Key Players- Babar Azam, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shadab Khan.

5. Australia:

Current T20I Ranking- 5

Australia have been drawn in the same group as West Indies, England and South Africa.

Australia have not won a single edition of the Men’s World T20 tournament so far. On top of it, Aaron Finch led side have had an ordinary outing in the recently concluded bilateral tournaments. They lost to West Indies by 4-1 and to Bangladesh by 4-1 away from home. However, with the batting prowess they possess in the form of Glenn Maxwell, David Warner and Steve Smith, they can easily turn the tables around in the upcoming World T20.

Tournament History- Australia have not won a single edition of the World T20. They came close to winning in 2010 when they were beaten by England in the final.

Key Players- Glenn Maxwell, David Warner, Aaron Finch, Mitchell Starc, Steve Smith.

Check out what Cricket Baazigar think of Australia’s chances of grabbing the World Cup and the prediction for their top players’ performances.

6.South Africa:

Current T20I Ranking- 6

The Proteas are drawn in the same group with Australia, West Indies and England. The South African side have been going through a huge transition phase in their cricket arrangements. Even with the absence of their star player AB De Villiers, the Tenda Bavuma led side have been able to beat West Indies 3-2 away from home. The South African side are trying various combinations in a build up to the World T20 and will hopefully come out with their top 11 to challenge the opposition.

Tournament History: South Africa have not won a single ICC World T20 so far. They finished as semi-finalists in 2009 and 2014.

Key Players- Rassie Van Der Dussen, Quinton de Kock, Tenda Bavuma, Kagiso Rabada, George Linde.

7. Afghanistan:

Current T20I Ranking- 7

Afghanistan have rightfully stormed into the top 10 of the International T20 rankings off late. There is a tremendous amount of talent Afghanistan has in terms power hitters and willy spinners. The Rashid Khan led side cannot be taken lightly, especially in the shorter format. The rise of young players like Rahmanullah Gurbaz only adds to the prospects of Afghanistan in the upcoming World T20. A brilliant mix of young talent and experienced players in the Afghanistan squad makes it a dangerous unit to beat in the ICC World T20.

Tournament History- Afghanistan have not won the World T20 championship so far. However, they have sprung pleasant out surprises in the previous editions of World T20, beating the big teams with authority.

Key players- Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Rashid Khan, Asghar Afghan, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Hazratullah Zazai.

8. West Indies:

Current T20I Ranking- 8

West Indies are drawn in the same group as South Africa, Australia and England.

West Indies boasts of a fearsome batting line-up with ample of big hitters in their ranks. The two time defending champions can beat any opposition in their day. Although, West Indies could not perform to their optimum levels against South Africa at home and lost the series 3-2, they have bounced back fairly well against Australia by claiming the series 4-1.

Tournament History: West Indies side have been the most successful of all teams when it comes to the ICC World T20. They have been crowned world champions two times, once in 2012 when they beat Sri Lanka in the final and another in 2016 when they beat the English side.

Key Players- Kieron Pollard, Evin Lewis, Nicholas Pooran, Alzarri Joseph, Fabian Allen.

9. Sri Lanka:

Sri Lankan side is kept in the same group as Ireland, Netherlands and Namibia.

Current T20I Ranking- 9th

Sri Lanka’s path in the World T20 will not be as smooth as in the previous versions. In the first round, they would need to finish in the top two in order to enter the Super 12 phase. Sri Lanka’s form in the T20 format has been ordinary off late. They were downed by England 3-0 at home. However, Sri Lanka have shown glimpses of their counter attacking prowess in the recent times. With the 2-1 win over the mighty Indian side at home, Sri Lanka can undoubtedly spring out surprises against top contenders in the World T20.

Tournament History- Sri Lanka have won the men’s T20 World Cup in 2014. They enjoyed the services of legends like Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene back then. They have finished as runners up in 2009 World T20.

Key Players- Wanindu Hasaranga, Dasun Shanaka, Kusal Perera, Dushmantha Chameera.

10. Bangladesh:

Bangladesh have been drawn in the same group as Scotland, Oman and Papua New Guinea.

Current T20I Ranking- 10th

With a recent 4-1 victory against Australia on home soil, Bangladesh are looking a very determined outfit for the World T20. The return of Shakib Al Hasan only boosts their campaign by fair degree. The 21 year old opener Mohammad Naim showed a lot of promise in the T20I series against New Zealand and Australia. Mahmudullah is expected to lead the side and they are looking like a very balanced unit.

Tournament History- Bangladesh have not won a single edition of the World T20 since its inception. However, they have reached the second stage of World T20 six times so far. Their team has never looked stronger before on paper and they can easily upset a big team on their day.

Key Players- Mohammad Naim, Mahmudullah, Shakib Al Hasan, Soumya Sarkar, Mustafizur Rahman.