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I am not really sure if many of the readers would appreciate the content or not, but let's see;)
The T20 World Cup arrives in my home , India, this year. I believe there cannot be fans more thrilled than us Indians about this tournament!!!
Let's start by discussing the squad of the Home Favorites India. Having recently won the Asia Cup T20 in Bangladesh, surely, there will not be any lack in confidence. The batting looks quite settled, with the top order being in sublime form. The likes of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma have been further boosted by Shikhar Dhawan's renewed form. It was also good to see southpaw Yuvraj Singh hitting the ball out of the park, and remaining unbeaten in most of his knocks. But, the biggest positive is skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni's form, who has, so far remained unbeaten for 5 consecutive inning's now, and notched up 42 runs off 15 deliveries. Couldn't be any better. All rounder Hardik Pandya has further bolstered the batting, with his six-hitting abilities.
With the pace display shown by veteran Ashish Nehra, alongside young and blazing Jasprit Bumrah's yorkers, one can rightfully say "Gone are the days when the Indian Bowling attack 'leaked' runs." The spin friendly Indian tracks are sure to complement Ravi Ashwin's and Ravindra Jadeja's spinners. Asia Cup's leading Indian wicket taker, Hardik Pandya, has shown a great display of performance as well. Another advantage skipper Dhoni has is the array of bowling options available. To restrict the run flow, or get the key wickets, all he has to do is to toss the ball to part timers Suresh Raina or Yuvraj Singh, who hardly dissappoint.
Enough of India, let's talk about the other teams now. Kiwi nation New Zealand would definitely miss the cameos of swashbuckling opener Brendon McCullum, who had decided to call an end to his career earlier this year. While they are led by the 'fearless' Skipper Kane Williamson, the key player of the squad would be hard hitting opener Martin Guptil, who recently amassed 90 runs in 30 balls against Sri Lanka. Talking about the Lankan Lions, who will miss the finacy of recently retired legends Mahela Jayawardhane and Kumar Sangakara, their squad is an inexperienced one, and responsibility would rest on the shoulders of veteran Skipper Lashith Malinga, alongside the flamboyant opener Tilakratne Dilshan, to propell their squad to its second title.
Test Cricket Champions Australia, led by 'Run Machine' Steve Smith, might miss paceman Mitchell Starc, but, they have a new bowling spearhead in the form of Nathan Coulter-Nile. While it would be interesting to see opener Usman Khwaja bat on this ground, one definitely wonders what tricks does leggie Adam Zampa have up his sleeves, and how would the turning Indian pitches aid him. The Proteas, that is the South Africans, led by the hard hitting Faf du Plessis, will surely be one of the favourites. The prescence of 'Mr.360' AB De Villiers is enough to give every bowler a nightmare, let alone young paceman Kagiso Rabada, who has the power to demolish each and every batting lineup in the world.
Caribbean Nation West Indies is amidst controversey, following ego clashes between the players and the board, but, that surely would not stop Crowd Favorites like Chris Gayle, Andre Russell and Darren Sammy from entertaining the crowd, and reclaiming the title which they last won back in 2012. England, captained by Eoin Morgan is an altogether changed side now, following the 2015 World Cup Defeat to Bangladesh , and the presence of big names like Jos Buttler, Reece Topley, Moeen Ali and Alex Hales convey how well are the English Lions back in form, ready to battle out for their second title.
Finally, our Arc Rivals Pakistan have a lot to prove post their loss to Bangladesh in the Asia Cup. While their balling attack seems to be the best among all teams, thanks to Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Sami's return to the side after five long years, the batting order looks to be in a complete mess. With skipper Shahid Afridi likely to make this tournament his swansong, the Pakistani Batsmen need to improve their game, if they hope to claim the coveted Title for the second time.
Apart from these 8 qualified nations, countries Zimbabve, Hong Kong, Afghanistan, Scottland, Netherlands, Oman, Bangladesh, Ireland would also compete, out of which, only 2 would qualify. Though Bangladesh and Zimbabve our the favourites to qualify, one must not forget the surprise package the minnows can turn out to be, one of them being Netherlands defeating England twice in the history of the tournament.
India last won the T20 title back in 2007 in South Africa. It's been 9 long years since we have waited for this title. With the odds in favour of India, and analysers calling India the clear favourites, India is very likely to win the Title. But, as I have mentioned above, winning is not going to be easy against such star studded lineups, and, every match would end up, as a nail biting clash.
All-in-all, its going to be a rocking 35 days of cricket;)))