By Peter Argent
History tells us Twenty20 World Cup Cricket is one of the most open international events in world sport and since the first T20 World Cup was won by India back in 2007, six different nations have lifted the prized trophy, with only the West Indies being multiple winners of the title, collecting the crown in 2012 and 2016.
While Australia are the reigning champions – after their win in Dubai International Stadium where they delivered a brilliant eight-wicket win with five balls remaining against New Zealand last November – they are certainly not the favourites.
Across the seven T20 World Cup series, Australia have only played in two finals, losing by seven wickets to the English in 2010, when the series was played in the West Indies, before last year’s triumph.
With the Aussies playing New Zealand at the MCG in their competition opener this Saturday afternoon from 5.30pm, there is a consensus that our opponents from across the ditch, if they can get through the Super 12 stage, are a big chance for a first title.
Other teams that are right in the mix include England, who were impressive in a 2-0 win in a recent three-game series on Australian soil, and India, who in a warm up game this week showed how the momentum of T20 cricket can swing.
The Indians produced a competitive total of 7/186 and after the 18-over in the run chase, Australia were 4/171 – requiring 16 runs from the final two overs with six wickets in hand for victory.
In the clash at the Gabba, Australia lost their last six wickets for nine runs, for the Indians to win by six runs in a heart stopper.
Skipper Aaron Finch returned to form with 76 runs from 54 balls faced, including seven boundaries and three sixes, but couldn’t put the finishing touches on an Australian victory. Amazingly from the final four balls of the game four wickets fell.
Australia are expected to see David Warner return for Saturday’s game against India and the structure of the bowling attack will be important.
Warner had now played 95 T20 internationals for his country, so far making 2850 runs, at an average 33.92 with a hundred and 24 half centuries.
He was player of the tournament in ’21 and it is expected he needs a big series of performances for Australia to be successful.
In other national cricket news, current test skipper Pat Cummins has been chosen to captain the Australian men’s one-day international (ODI) side.
The Cricket Australia Board endorsed Cummins to become Australia’s 27th ODI captain, taking over from Aaron Finch who retired from the format last month.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed playing under Finchy and have learnt an enormous amount from his leadership,” Cummins said on his ODI captaincy selection.
“They are significant shoes to fill, although we are extremely fortunate to have a one-day squad with a huge amount of experience.”
World Cup T20 Champions
2007 – India
2009 – Pakistan
2010 – England
2012 – West Indies
2014 – Sri Lanka
2016 – West Indies
2021 – Australia