World T20: Can Anyone See Past India?

The T20 World Cup gets underway tomorrow when Hong Kong play Zimbabwe at Nagpur. The big guns won’t join the tournament for a few days yet, so we’ve still got time to do some pre-tournament analysis and make some typically inaccurate predictions.

One prediction I think we can all make though, without fear of looking ridiculous, is that India are going to do well – very well. The tournament is in their own backyard – nicely played Mr Srinivasan – and they seem to play more T20 cricket than anyone else. They also seem to care about T20 more than any other nation, which is a tad depressing but there you go. Each to his own I guess.

If you’ve been following the Asia Cup you’ll notice that India absolutely steamrolled Bangladesh in the final. They also beat Pakistan and Sri Lanka comfortably earlier in the competition. It’s hardly a surprise when you see their team.

India’s batting is really intimidating. They open up with Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan – not a bad combination eh – and then let their superstars go nuts in the middle-overs. There’s Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh and the old master himself, MS Dhoni. Then there’s Hardik Pandya, the all-rounder who stole the show in last year’s IPL. India have an embarrassment of riches.

All India’s specialist batsmen are absolutely top drawer. The batting order is flexible, can change on a whim, and they’re incredibly experienced too. If these guys fire during the tournament, it will take something extremely special to stop them.

Luckily India’s bowling isn’t quite as strong as their batting. They still have their fair share of dibbly dobbly seamers – I can’t believe that Ashish Nehra is still playing at the age of 36 – but they’ll probably just rely on their spinners anyway. And who can blame them? Ravi Ashwin is one of my favourite bowlers and they’ll no doubt get enough overs out of James Anderson’s best mate, Ravi Jadeja.

T20 cricket is obviously somewhat unpredictable. Anyone can beat anyone on a particular day. All it takes is one special performance from an individual to swing a result. However, India have more of these match-winners than anyone else; so although they might get sunk at some point by an amazing performance from the likes of AB de Villiers, it’s far more likely that an Indian match winner will steal the show. It’s just a matter of probability.

The bookies, who put far more effort into researching these things than you and I, seem to agree. Even though T20 cricket can produce some bizarre results at times, they’ve installed India as 2-1 favourites for the trophy. It’s hardly a surprise. Online betting offers for sport usually indicate how dominant favourites are likely to be. Australia and South Africa are joint second favourites at a comparatively long 9/2. Personally I think that’s about right.

We’ll have more on South Africa and Australia, plus the other challengers of course, in the coming days. But for now, I’d like to focus on India. Do you think they’ll be as dominant as everyone seems to expect? Or do you detect a weakness in their ranks? I guess the sky-high expectations of the home supporters might crank up the pressure a tad.

 James Morgan
Written in collaboration with William Hill


  • I think the lack of match winning bowling is India’s weakness.
    A team that can bowl India out for a lower score then has a good chance to win.
    So probably only SA or Aus can take advantage.

    • It will be hard to bowl India out or restrict them considering one of the top 3 always fires. Rabada & Steyn will be key, top 3 and left handers can nullify Tahir, Wiese has been figured out. Not sure about Aussie tactics with Warner at 4 and the lack of an experienced spinner. India’s tournament to lose.

  • Australian fans can watch their team get spanked by India:

    One part of Rupert Murdoch’s empire sells the rights to another part of Rupert Murdoch’s empire. Rejoice!

    On the actual cricket, Yuvraj could be a weak link as his recent T20 record is quite modest and he’s been selected more on past performances. He played a strange innings in the last T20 WC Final and this time India had Rahane as an alternative.

    I quite fancy West Indies as their strongest challengers (but what is going on with Andre Russell?).

    • Rahane is a quality player too. Real strength in depth whoever they pick I reckon.

      • Yuvraj pips ahead of Rahane because he can also slip in a over or two. I love the batting depth of India. same can’t be said of their bowling.

        If south africa play their cards right, this could be their first “world-cup”, hmm, they always seem to take 1 step forward & 2 steps back

        I am betting on England reaching the final and then choking because of the glut of bits-n-pieces players but no real match winning bowlers.

        New Zealand could be the dark-horses and you can never rule Australia out, the WI seem to be on a downward spiral.

        So I think the semi-finalists could be IND, SA, ENG, AUS/NZ

  • India are huge favourites for this. They have the batting to chase anything down and if the pitches are as expected their twirlers will make setting scores very hard and chasing them even more difficult.
    2/1 looks a little short for a World cup, but when deciding on value you have to ask who can beat them?
    Australia as second favourites is a joke. They are hopeless against spin.
    Pakistan may surprise a few.
    I’ll leave England thoughts until the England blog.

  • No doubting that India are favourites, but bookies odds also take into account the number of people betting on an outcome as well as the likelihood of that outcome. I’d imagine that a billion or so Indians might have put money on their own team!

    Perhaps talking about betting and the T20 might not be such a good idea actually, now I think about it…. ;)

  • I think like Asia cup, India will win this t20 world cup also. India’s batting spirit is really aggressive it can beat any team because our players are in good form. One of the key advantage for India in this t20 world cup is that all matches are scheduled in our home ground, therefore our team will get full support from Indian fans. As players have good knowledge of playing on Indian pitches, this will also increase the winning chances of team India.


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