ICC T20 World Cup: Legend Sachin Tendulkar predicts the semi-finalists
According to legend Sachin Tendulkar, India, Pakistan, Australia, and England are the front-runners for the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup semis race. In a recent interview with Telegraph India, Tendulkar stated that India have the required combination to win the title this time. Notably, India will face arch-rivals Pakistan in their opening clash on October 23 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
Here is the full statement
"I would obviously want India to be the champions but my top four would be India, Pakistan, Australia and England," Tendulkar said in an interview with Telegraph India. "India has a very good chance. This team is well-balanced and we have the combination to go out and deliver. In fact, I am quite hopeful of our chances and going the full distance."
A look at the contenders
Hosts Australia will enter the tournament as the defending champions. They defeated New Zealand in the final last year. Interestingly, no host nation has won the T20 World Cup yet. Meanwhile, India are coming off consecutive series wins against Australia and South Africa at home. Although Pakistan lost 4-3 to England, they boast a strong attack. England too are a sturdy side.
All four teams have won the tournament
India won the inaugural edition of the T20 World Cup (2007). MS Dhoni-led India defeated Pakistan in a historic final. However, the Men in Blue are yet to win another title. Pakistan won the 2009 edition, beating Sri Lanka in the final. Like India, the Men in Green are also vying for another title. Australia (2021) and England (2010) also won the tournament once.
India eye redemption against arch-rivals
Last year's T20 WC witnessed Pakistan's first victory against India in a World Cup match. Shaheen Afridi's fiery spell dented India's top order before Virat Kohli steadied the ship with a fine half-century. Chasing 152 in Dubai, Pakistan recorded a 10-wicket win as openers Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan smashed unbeaten fifties. Hence, Rohit Sharma's men would be raring to settle the scores.
India's preparations for the mega event
Winners of the inaugural T20 WC, India endured a tough time in the last month's Asia Cup as they failed to qualify for the final. Although they then defeated Australia and South Africa in the home T20I series, several issues in the team popped up. Death bowling is arguably the side's biggest concern in injured Jasprit Bumrah's absence. All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja isn't available either.
ICC T20 WC: Australia-NZ to clash in opener
The Super 12 stage of the T20 WC will kick off with Australia taking on New Zealand at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on October 22. England will lock horns with Afghanistan on the same day at the Perth Stadium. The next day would witness the high-octane India-Pakistan clash at the MCG. Earlier in the day, two qualifiers will square off in Hobart.