England captain Jos Buttler
England captain Jos Buttler lifts the ICC Men's T20 World Cup Trophy after beating Pakistan in the final in Melbourne, Australia, on November 13, 2022. England will be aiming to win their third T20 title. Image Credit: AAP via Reuters

The ICC Men’s Cricket Twenty20 World Cup, beginning on June 1, promises thrilling matches, unexpected twists, and unforgettable moments.

Defending champions England have their work cut out. They aim to retain the crown they won after defeating Pakistan in the 2022 World Cup final in Australia. However, T20 cricket is unpredictable, and no team can take anything for granted.

Established cricketing nations like India, Australia, and others will be keen to solidify their spots in the semi-finals. Their experienced lineups, featuring a mix of power hitters and crafty bowlers, make them formidable contenders.

Associate nations, including co-hosts USA, lack the storied history of the elites, but they’re hungry for experience and ready to upset the established order. Expect them to play with passion and determination. These teams can be spoilers as they relish the opportunity to upset higher-ranked opponents and make their mark on the global stage.

All 20 teams have been diligently preparing. Fitness, strategy, and mental resilience will be crucial. The West Indies and USA will provide unique conditions, challenging both batsmen and bowlers.

Gulf News breaks down the teams’ chances and what to expect during the 29-day tournament.

India (T20 Ranking No. 1)

Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli
India’s captain Rohit Sharma (left) and teammate Virat Kohli in action during the ODI World Cup final against Australia in Ahmedabad on November 19, 2023. The two will be key to India’s batting in the 2024 T20 World Cup. Image Credit: AFP

India enter the tournament as one of the favourites. The 2023 ODI World Cup finalists have a well-balanced lineup. The return of Hardik Pandya and Rishabh Pant adds depth to their batting, while Jasprit Bumrah leads a formidable bowling attack. Virat Kohli remains the linchpin, and with dangerous finishers like Suryakumar Yadav, India should comfortably progress to the Super 8 from Group A.

Australia (Rank 2)

Australia’s Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc celebrate after winning the ODI Cricket World Cup in Ahmedabad on November 19, 2023. Australia are aiming for a treble with a T20 World Cup win, having won the World Test Championship and the ODI World Cup. Image Credit: Reuters.

The 2021 champions possess several matchwinners. The batting runs deep, and four all-rounders provide stability in the middle order. Openers David Warner and Travis Head are critical for explosive starts. However, their aggressive approach could be a double-edged sword. Skipper Mitchell Marsh faces the challenge of maintaining consistency, especially in the Super 8.

England (Rank 3)

England players celebrate winning the T20 World Cup 2022 after beating Pakistan in the final at Melbourne Cricket Ground on November 13, 2022. They are one of the favourites to win the tournament in the USA and the West Indies. Image Credit: AFP

Defending champions England should have no trouble advancing to the Super 8. However, Ben Stokes’ absence is a significant setback. Identifying a player with a big-match temperament to fill his shoes will be crucial. If promoted up the order, skipper Jos Buttler can provide the advantage England needs. Jofra Archer’s return bolsters their experience, but consistency remains a concern.

West Indies (Rank 4)

Rovman Powell
Rovman Powell lead the West Indian challenge in the T20 World Cup as they eye their third title in the format. Co-hosts West Indies are grouped with New Zealand, Afghanistan, Uganda, and Papua New Guinea. Image Credit: X@Twitter

The West Indies’ whiteball woes are a mystery. Even their reserves play pivotal roles in franchise leagues. Yet they lost in the 2022 T20 World Cup qualifiers and didn’t qualify for the 2023 ODI World Cup for the first time. But they have bounced back, reaching the top four in the ICC rankings. The bunch of T20 specialists and home conditions make them one of the favourites.

New Zealand (Rank 5)

SPO Williamson-1700406019722
Kane Williamson leads New Zealand, who will looking for their first T20 World Cup championship. Image Credit: AFP

New Zealand thrive on teamwork rather than star power. Despite skipper Kane Williamson’s limited role due to injury, they reached the semi-finals in 2022. Young talents like Rachin Ravindra and Glenn Phillips provide firepower, and the experienced bowling duo of Trent Boult and Mitchell Santner keeps opponents under pressure.

Pakistan (Rank 6)

Pakistan’s Babar Azam
Pakistan’s Babar Azam hits a six off England’s Moeen Ali during the fourth T20I against England at The Oval, in London on May 30, 2024. Pakistan, who lost the 2022 T20 World Cup final, will aim to improve on that. AFP Image Credit: AFP

Historically, Pakistan has been one of the most dangerous teams in World Cups. Their ability to stage crucial comebacks makes them unpredictable. They made a strong comeback in the last edition but narrowly lost the final to England. Skipper Babar Azam leads the charge, and a fully fit Shaheen Shah Afridi spearheads a formidable pace attack that includes Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf, and Mohammad Amir. However, their middle-order batting remains a concern.

South Africa (Rank 7)

South Africa's Aiden Markram plays a shot
South Africa captain Aiden Markram will aim to shed South Africa's chokers tag. They face Sri Lanka in the first match on June 2. Image Credit: AFP

South Africa skipper Aiden Markram has power-hitters at his disposal, while their bowling boasts talents like Kagiso Rabada, Keshav Maharaj, and the raw pace of Anrich Nortje and Gerald Coetzee. However, the slow West Indian wickets might not favour aggressive batting. The lack of genuine all-rounders could be a challenge, and they face their bogey team, the Netherlands, in the first round.

Sri Lanka (Rank 8)

Sri Lanka's Wanindu Hasaranga
Wanindu Hasaranga captains the Sri Lankan team at the T20 World Cup, with the hope of achieving some consistency. They face South Africa in their first game on June 2. Image Credit: AFP

Sri Lanka are in a rebuilding phase. While they have impressive batting talents, consistency has eluded them recently. Missing legends like Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, Sri Lanka, have yet to find stability. Specific roles batters while allowing them to play aggressively. Former skipper Angelo Mathews can play a crucial role. Bowling, led by Nuwan Thushara, Matheesha Pathirana, and mystery spinners, could be advantageous. However, they might face tough competition from Bangladesh for a Super 8 spot.

Bangladesh (Rank 9)

Bangladesh cricket team
Bangladesh team are a blend of youth and experience as they attempt to make at mark at the T20 World Cup. They clash with Sri Lanka in their first game on June 7. Image Credit: X@ICC

Bangladesh have faced challenges recently, but they are gradually finding form with a blend of youth and experience. Skipper Najimul Hossain Shanto leads the team, which is supported by seasoned players like Shakib Al Hasan, Liton Das, Mahmudullah, and Soumya Sarkar. Mustafizur Rahman’s return strengthens their bowling attack. Expect Bangladesh to progress to the Super 8 from Group D.

Afghanistan (Rank 10)

SPO_240110 RAshid Khan-1704911810198
Leg-spinner Rashid Khan is the ace in the Afghanistan pack. They play Uganda in their first match on June 3. Image Credit: Reuters

Buoyed by their impressive performance in the 50-over World Cup, Afghanistan aim to continue their progress on the global stage. Talismanic spinner Rashid Khan’s return boosts their fortunes. The batting relies on the top four to set competitive scores, while the varied bowling attack can restrict opponents. Consistency and improved fielding will be crucial. They face tough competition in a group featuring New Zealand and the West Indies.

Ireland (Rank 11)

Ireland cricket
Test-playing nation Ireland will hope to surprise one of the fancied teams. They will face off against India in their first game on June 3. Image Credit: X@ICC

Ireland has struggled to meet expectations as the last Test-playing nation in the rankings. A limited talent pool under captain Paul Stirling and coach Henrich Malan has contributed to lacklustre performances. Veterans like Stirling, Andy Balbirnie, Craig Young, and George Dockrell provide stability. Ireland’s historic win over defending champions England in the previous T20 World Cup is a bright spot. However, Group A includes heavyweights India and Pakistan.

Namibia (Rank 13)

Gerhard Erasmus
Gerhard Erasmus leads Namibia, who have been faring well in ICC tournaments. They meet Oman in their first match in the T20 World Cup on June 2 Image Credit: X@ICC

Namibia have made huge strides by qualifying for the last two World Cups (2021 and 2022). As an Associate nation, they aim to translate their regional success on the international stage consistently. Led by Gerhard Erasmus, Namibia should feel confident after defeating Sri Lanka in the previous edition.

Scotland (Rank 14)

Richard Berrington ICC-1687579420920
Scotland skipper Richie Berrington will be leading and experienced squad in Group B during the World Cup. Image Credit: ICC file

Scotland face a tough challenge, entering the “Lions’ den” against hosts West Indies. Their victory over the Caribbeans in the previous edition qualifiers adds motivation. Led by Richie Berrington, Scotland’s experienced players bring valuable knowledge of West Indies pitches. However, Group B includes Australia and champions England.

The Netherlands (Rank 15)

The Netherlands
The Netherlands have created ripples in recent ICC tournaments, stunning South Africa. They clash with Nepal in their first T20 World Cup game on June 3. Image Credit: X@ICC

The Dutch have made significant strides, moving out of the qualifiers and securing a spot among the top eight in the previous edition. They’ve been a thorn in South Africa’s side, defeating them in the 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia and the 2023 ODI World Cup in India. With their recent success, the Netherlands will be eyeing a hat-trick against the Proteas in Group D.

Nepal (Rank 17)

Nepal’s Dipendra Singh Airee
Nepal’s Dipendra Singh Airee, 24, aims to showcase his batting prowess at the T20 World Cup. The country makes their second appearance in the tournament, and will meet the Netherlands in their first game on June 3. Image Credit: X@CricketNepal

Nepal, a Himalayan nation, is overjoyed to make it to their second Twenty20 World Cup. Their previous appearance was in 2014. A memorable victory over UAE in the semi-finals secured one of the two Asian spots alongside Oman. This experience will elevate Nepal’s cricket profile and boost its popularity, even though they’ll miss ace leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane due to visa issues.

USA (Rank 18)

Monank Patel and Ali Khan
Monank Patel and Ali Khan of the USA poses prior to the ICC Men's T20 Cricket World Cup at the Grand Prairie Cricket Stadium in Dallas, Texas, on May 29, 2024. The USA face Canada in the tournament opener on June 1. Image Credit: AFP

As co-hosts, the USA has already booked a place in the showpiece event. Their recent performance, including a 2-1 series win against Bangladesh, shows they’re ready for the challenge. Former Australian all-rounder Stuart Law, now their coach, praised the team. In Group A, alongside India and Pakistan, the USA faces a different level of competition.

Oman (Rank 19)

The Oman team
Oman team for the T20 World Cup. They square off against Namibia in their first game on June 2.

Oman, the lone Middle East representative, secured their third appearance in the World Cup by winning all their Asian qualifiers. Their thrilling Super Over victory against Nepal in the final was a highlight. Led by veteran batter Zeeshan Maqsood, Oman previously participated in the 2016 and 2021 World Cups, with a solitary win against Namibia. They’ll face Namibia again in Group B.

Papua New Guinea (Rank 20)

Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea makes their second T20 World Cup appearance. They play the West Indies in their first match on June 1. Image Credit: X@ICC

The Pacific nation makes their second T20 World Cup appearance after qualifying in 2021 (when the event was jointly held in Oman and UAE). With a similar squad, Papua New Guinea aim to leverage their experience against stronger opponents in Group C and secure their first win in the showpiece event.

Uganda (Rank 22)

Uganda batsman Riazat Ali Shah
Uganda batsman Riazat Ali Shah gets for a practice session ahead of the T20 Cricket World Cup. The African nation qualified for the World Cup for the first time. Image Credit: AFP

Uganda, an African nation, qualified for the World Cup for the first time. The current squad boast home-grown talents, led by 43-year-old Frank Nsubuga (the oldest cricketer in this World Cup). Uganda aim to learn from the experience and put up a strong display against elite teams in Group C. The exposure will benefit Uganda’s cricket future and encourage youth participation.

Canada (Rank 23)

Canada players get ready for a training session. They make their debut in the T20 World Cup on June 1 with the game against the USA.. Image Credit: X@CricketCanada

Canada, having previously participated in the ODI World Cup, make their debut in the T20 World Cup. After defeating Bermuda in the Americas Regional Qualifiers, their qualification came through a better run rate. Familiar conditions in Group A will be an asset for the Canadian team.