After a thrilling Group Stage that saw double hat tricks, huge upsets and two debutants battling valiantly, we’re into the real meat of the T20 World Cup tournament and there are some great games to keep your eyes on.
With the best 12 sides in the world now fighting for a place in the semi finals across 30 matches there are some fantastic clashes for fans to enjoy. The qualifiers from the Group Stages will come with momentum and confidence whilst some of the big names are struggling to find form. We’re in for a treat.
DAMIEN FLEMING’S VERDICT: AUSTRALIA’S BIG FLAW AND THE TEAMS HE TIPS TO FIGHT FOR THE TROPHY
England v West Indies
Sunday 24th October, 1am Dubai international Stadium
You might remember back in 2016 when England were just six balls away from lifting the World Cup trophy. They’d fought hard to tie the West Indies powerhouse down and had done a great job, leaving the Windies with 19 runs to get off the final six balls of the tournament.
Carlos Brathwaite only needed four balls. He hit Ben Stokes for four consecutive sixes and broke England hearts.
Going into the 2021 World Cup, England are one of the favourites and while the West Indies haven’t had a great last 12 months or so, they are full of fearsome talent.
Chris Gayle is already a legend of the sport and he’s backed up by Andre Russell and Kieron Pollard – two of the biggest names in T20 internationals. They’ve also got exciting youth with the likes of Evin Lewis already building quite a reputation for himself as a power batter.
England meanwhile have the complete package to go all the way. Their batting is simply incredible and even though they are missing players like Ben Stokes and Sam Curran, they’ve got plenty of depth to rely upon.
With Eoin Morgan, England have the best international skipper in ODI and T20 formats and it’s this all round excellence that should see England home against the West Indies.
(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
India v Pakistan
Monday 25th October, 1am Dubai international Stadium
The rivalry between these two covers all formats of cricket and even spreads out into the political world. These two love to compete against each other and a win in this match would mean a huge amount to players and fans alike.
India are arguably the favourites for the tournament with many rating them as better than England. They’ve got talent in all departments of their side and are led by the all conquering Virat Kohli – the man who currently averages over 86 from 16 T20 World Cup matches.
Pakistan have managed to redefine the term “poor preparation” as they come into the World Cup. They’ve got a new chairman, the CEO, head coach and bowling coach have all just resigned and of the 12 T20 matches they had scheduled as warm ups for the World Cup, they’ve been able to play just one.
Despite this they do have talent amongst their ranks including the fastest bowling attack made up of Haris Rauf, Shaheen Afridi and Hasan Ali. Unfortunately they don’t have the quality when it comes to spin and this could severely cost them.
Pakistan are used to the wickets of the UAE having played a huge amount of cricket here over the past few years. This will definitely help them out but in this match, India will be too strong.
Australia v England
Sunday 31st October, 1am Dubai international Stadium
Australia might not have had the preparation or form that they would have wished for heading into a World Cup, but when you’re playing the old enemy of England, every single player will lift.
Australia’s fortunes are hard to predict. They have some great T20 talent with bat and ball but not many of them are in great form at the moment. They beat New Zealand in the recent warm up match but then lost heavily to India who chased down the target of 153 with eight wickets and two overs to spare.
Glenn Maxwell will be crucial for Australian hopes as will skipper Aaron Finch – with Dave Warner and Steve Smith struggling for form Maxwell and Finch will have to perform very well with the bat.
England have talent throughout their line up and with batsmen like Dawid Malan, Liam Livingston, Jonny Bairstow and Eoin Morgan, they could post a very, very big score if they get going.
Bowling wise, Morgan has plenty of options amongst his England side but he will miss Stokes both in terms of on field performance and in terms of the enthusiasm he inspires amongst his team mates.
England will win this one but it will be a thrilling contest.
Scotland v New Zealand
Wednesday 3rd November, 9pm Dubai international Stadium
This is Scotland’s best shout of knocking off one of the big dogs of the Super 12s. They stormed through the Group Stages, topping their group and beating the talented Bangladesh.
Their batting and bowling attacks have hit form at the perfect time with Richie Berrington especially impressing. They don’t have a huge amount of pace in their stables but on the slower pitches of Dubai this isn’t a huge issue.
For New Zealand they are a strong T20 side but in the UAE their best strengths will struggle to be as dominant. Trent Boult is a great bowler but he’ll lose some of his threat on these wickets and batsmen like Kane Williamson and Martin Guptill are more dangerous when the ball is coming onto the bat.
The Kiwis should win this but it’s a game where we could see an exciting upset as the Scots pick up a huge scalp that they can tell stories about for years to come.
Australia v Bangladesh
Thursday 4th November, 9pm Dubai international Stadium
Gone are the days when a match against Bangladesh could be viewed as a straightforward win for Australia. Just back in August, the Tigers roared and beat the Aussies 4-1 in a T20 series and those four wins were worryingly comfortable too.
Having been surprised by Scotland in their opening Group Stage match, Bangladesh have put together two solid performances and qualified second in their group. They will be confident going into this match against Australia that they can pull another victory off with their spin attack of Shakib Al Hasan, Mahedi Hasan and Nasum Ahmed tying down the Aussie batsmen.
Australia’s batsmen have to find a way to not just survive the slow bowling overs but to keep the run rate up at the same time. It’s proved too much of a challenge for them recently with players losing their wickets as they get frustrated.
Ashton Agar and Adam Zampa will be key for the Aussies when the Tigers do bat. This combo has been playing well together recently and have developed into a very useful weapon for skipper Finch.
Australia to win this one and gain some revenge for the August series loss.