A game of glorious uncertainties, Cricket receives its purest adrenaline rush in T20; its the shortest format. It’s that time of the year when the pecking order of the ICC’s Cricket playing nation may undergo the topsy-turvy ride of the T 20 World Cup.
This fifth glorious edition being played in India is set to unravel some of the mightiest talents in world cricket who will look to square off rivalries, change existing tides and emerge on top of one another.
Big hitting blokes including De Villiers, Kohli, Gayle and Corey Anderson are pumping muscle and the pace livery of the tournament of epic proportions is all set to take audiences on a ride of swing and pace that will promise a spectacular contest of skill and talent.
We take a look at the big, burlesque and promising names from the ICC World T20 to unearth some sterling names that are slated to take the big stage by storm.
All set, the bowler has announced his intentions and there stands the batsman willing to defend the timber at all costs. Here we go:
Daring, gritty and fluent with his stroke-play, 26 year old Tamim is a class act, especially in the shortest form of the game. Having already made his impact in the tournament against Ireland, his 47 off just 26 balls was decisive in giving Bangladesh the edge over their nimble opponents.
Bangladeshi’s would be expecting their most valuable batsman from both formats to count on his experience of having scored nearly 8000 international runs. The fearless puller of the short ball will combine grit with skill to give the ‘tigers’ a fluent start.
Shaun’s brother, Australia’s next genuine all round batsmen following in the able footsteps of Shane Watson and James Faulkner, Marsh’s ascendancy in cricket speaks of Australia’s mastery at nurturing talented cricketers. A clean striker of the ball, Marsh is a speedy medium pacer who can curtail run flow in the death overs and strike big blows with aplomb.
Originally a one- day find, Marsh’s clean striking of the ball will give able complement to his abilities with the bowl. While the T20 record for the young 24 year old deserves some oiling from the lad, his athletic fielding and confidence will be a booster for a truly ‘unputdownable’ team.
You can take Imran Tahir out of South Africa. But, you cannot take South Africa out of 36 year old Imran Tahir. One of the few genuine turners of the ball, leggie Tahir speaks his mind through the sharp turns and deliberately misguided slower ones that he bamboozles batsmen with. At times, the wicket taking bowler may leak a few in an over, but his overall consistency and commitment to the Proteas cricket is something that keeps runs often in check and their mood upbeat.
In a cricketing world full of overpowering adjectives, sadly the word ‘unsung’ is attributed to talented finds such as England’s Alex Hales. At 27 and having played only a handful of one day’s and tests, Hales first rose to prominence for his clean hitting abilities in the T 20 format, a turf where his strike rate of 135 brings prominence to a side striving for consistency.
Middlesex born Hales, known for a destructive streak of strokes especially on the off side will be looking to propel the English batting order offering his best in terms of balancing the wile need to slog every seemingly ‘bad ball’.
At 23, Amir is Pakistan cricket’s prodigious genius and also a rather freak-show for his nonsensical involvement in spot fixing. At an age where Amir could have bolstered the Pakistani bowling attack lending useful support to the likes of Junaid and Mohd. Irfan, Amir chose to go the wrong way.
But, this is a different time now. Amir is back to doing the best he does: firing some hot blows into the batsmen looking to dominate his in swinging yorkers and bouncers. Newly reinvigorated and bowling with the heart of a wounded lion desperate to give batsmen a lot to chew, Amir has already demonstrated what he is capable of during the memorable recent showing against Virat Kohli in the 2016 Asia Cup.
Pakistan will be hoping that he reverse-swings the game into their favor in the tournament.
Faf du Plessis
It is often a misnomer that the best batsman tag belongs either to the indomitable will of Virat Kohli or to the ace show of De Villiers alone.
People often forget that South Africa also have a certain Francois Du Plessis, their most able knight when it comes to battling a crisis.
An agile athlete and a balanced player who applies mind over matter and muscle over irrational hitting, Du Plessis is a responsible leader and one in whose hands lie South Africa’s big chances of acing glory in the big hitting run fest. In the past, his lethal bowling exploits have cut the sheen of spin and downsized the fiber in pace bowling and his exceptional T20 showing in recent times have indicated that world’s bowlers will have their task cut out. Just go for it Faf.
If you wish to understand how well does Ashwin bowl, then give a buzz to Hashim Amla. The “ball of the century” that came from the wristy spinning fingers of R. Ashwin left South Africa’s most dependable bat bamboozled. What’s even better! It happened during India vs South Africa encounter in an important T20 encounter in ICC World T20’s previous edition.
A dependable bowler whose offies can take batsmen for surprise, even record books are Ashwin’s friends with best bowling figures of 4 for 8 speaking of the Chennai lad’s efficiency at his craft
New Zealand’s finest batsman since the days of Nathan Astle and a dominant player of both pace and spin, Williamson effervescently navigates between the mystery traps of world’s finest bowlers.
On his day, he can counter youngsters like Bumrah and Mitchell Marsh, control Jerome Taylor and Mohd Amir and can emerge on top of the opposition displaying flair and elegance with determination at the helm of affairs.
He’s unarguably the finest bat of his time, following closely a certain Virat Kohli and for his consistent plundering of bowling attacks in 2015-16 season, this Kiwi surely knows what it means to ‘fly’. And, he may just do that in this tournament, New Zealand would hope.
There are men who lead from the front. But, often they give in to irrational exuberance. Picture Inzimam, Shane Warne (when he captained for some time) or Alistair Campbell. All of them have been exceptional talents.
But, men like Mathews depend on an understated verve of appeal to add power to their leadership role. Sri Lanaka’s man in charge, who just took over from Malinga, who decided to step down when needed the most is the one person around whom a young and peppy side will revolve.
A brutal hitter of the short ball and an occasional medium pacer with a knack of taking wickets when it matters the most, Mathews will lead the spirited Lankans who will be hoping to defend their World T20 Crown that they bagged in the previous edition. Off course that strike rate of 130 plus will help the captain courageous.
If India are to fire in the tournament, then for sure they mustn’t overburden Virat Kohli. A lot will depend on the might in the feisty blows of Dhawan. After all, those burlesque moustaches shall be waiting for the manly touch of verve to signal intent.
Dhawan, gifted with the art to beautifully navigate the opening spells through fluent drives, cuts and pulls on both sides shall be looking to do just that. His fastest test century against Australia from 2013 will draw crowds and race hearts.
If India are to regain a glory they once captured in 2007, then the likes of Sharma and Rahane will depend on the quickfire starts given by Dhawan, who measures 120 in T20 strike rate.
West Indies and T20 Cricket have something in common. Both like the firepower brand of playing destructively. Powered by the likes of Chris Gayle, Darren Sammy and Marlon Samuels the part exuberant and part improbable side also rallies around the likes of big hitting all rounder’s such as Andre Russell.
Russell hits flat out and is acknowledged as a clean striker of the white ball. Playing in Indian conditions won’t come as a huge surprise for the man who has held high stakes at Delhi Daredevils.
His exceptional fielding skills and the wicket taking abilities though would look to keep the economy rate low to favor the Calypso Kings.