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T20 World Cup: Assessing The Chances of the Leading Contenders

By The Assam Tribune

The Twenty20 World Cup is fast approaching, with the biggest competition in T20 cricket descending on the USA and West Indies across June in 2024.

England arrive as the reigning champions following their stunning success in Australia in 2022, but are they the side to back heading into the competition?

With India, Australia and New Zealand all looking in good touch, this could prove to be the greatest iteration of the tournament to date. With this in mind, we rundown the main contenders as the tournament edges closer.

The Favourites – India

It wouldn’t be a tournament without India arriving as the favourites these days. The cricket mad nation has been blessed with some truly legendary players, and they arrive for the 2024 World Cup with a team crammed full of world class talent.

Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah and Sanju Samson are just a few of the players in contention for make the tournament squad. Runs and wickets are not a problem for this Indian side, with their biggest enemy to success themselves.

India arrive as the favourites with, but this has not always ended well for them. Indeed, they went into the 2023 ODI World Cup as the favourites on their own patch and yet fell at the final hurdle as they were well beaten by Australia.

This was despite India being in supreme form, winning all nine of their group games before winning their semi-final. Incredibly, their only loss at the tournament came in the final.

Now, the focus will be on atoning for their failure by winning the T20 World Cup in 2024. A real worry for India will be their opposition across the tournament, which we will discuss below.

The Contenders – Australia & England

Australia arrived for the 2023 World Cup among the favourites, but they were on the cusp of elimination from the tournament after an awful start.

They were able to rally and looked likely to make it to the knockout stages, with elimination in the semi-finals better than many thought they would clinch following a poor start.

However, they once again put their World Cup winning mentality on show, romping to the title in a way only the Aussies know how.

For England, the focus will not only be on defending their crown, but also improving on a woeful performance at the T20 World Cup last year.

A group-stage exit was not on the cards for many when it came to England, and yet they were left humbled as they finished in seventh with three wins in nine outings. Unfortunately for England, their 50 over world title defence was over before it ever really began.

This year, things will likely be different for the pair. Australia will be aiming for another World Cup title, but they will have the confidence their stunning triumph in India last year will bring.

For England, things could not get much worse than they were in India last year. Players will return recharged and refreshed, with the whole squad desperate to ensure they do not relinquish both World Cup trophies in the space of less than a year.

Australia and England will meet one another in their group at the competition, and that could tell us an awful lot about where the two teams are at that pivotal stage.

Could the pair prove the biggest competition to India as they look to bring their best into the tournament?

The Best Of The Rest – New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan & West Indies

The likes of India, Australia and England have dominated the cricketing scene of late, but it feels like those below them are edging ever closer to knocking them off their pedestal.

New Zealand finished in fourth at the 2023 ODI World Cup while they pushed England all the way in the 2019 World Cup, losing via a super over. At the 2022 T20 World Cup, New Zealand topped Group 1 ahead of England and Australia before losing to Pakistan in the semi-finals.

Both South Africa and Pakistan have been improving in recent years, closing the gap on those above them. South Africa ended their 2023 World Cup campaign in second in the table before they were beaten by eventual champions Australia in the semi-finals.

For Pakistan, they missed out on the top-four by two points in 2023, while they were beaten finalists in the 2022 T20 World Cup. Pakistan have been someway below arch-rivals India in recent years, but they are cutting the gap.

Finally, the West Indies are always a threat. The co-hosts have not been at their best in recent years, but they will take to the tournament looking to prove they are still very much a force in world cricket.

The 2024 World Cup will bring together the best players in the world for a festival of cricket like no other. The format of the game means that maximums and splintered wickets are common in each match, and the lack of overs between the start of the game and the end of proceedings simply means that a favourite can succumb to a shock defeat if they let their standards slip for a second.

With a huge number of games played over the course of a month, we will get a good idea of how a team will go after the first few days. While India, England and Australia are the favourites, there is more than enough quality behind them to ensure that this may yet be the most exciting and unpredictable World Cup ever.

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