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ICC T20 World Cup 2020 schedule and analysis of India’s opponents

The 2020 T20 World Cup schedule has finally arrived! After a hiatus for around 4 years, due to the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 and ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, ICC World T20 is back with a bang. The preparations have been going on for a while and expectations from the fans and players alike, are skyrocketing. 16 nations, including hosts Australia, will be participating in this 7th edition of the tournament to be played between 18th October 2020 and 15th November 2020. Matches will be played at 7 different venues with the finals at MCG, Melbourne.

The tournament is divided into 2 phases; first round and Super 12. This will be followed by the knockout stage i.e. the semi-finals and the final. The top 8 countries according to their world rankings will directly play in the Super 12 stage. The rest 8 countries will be fighting it out for the remaining 4 spots in the first round stage. There are 2 groups of 6 teams each and they play in a round-robin format. The top 2 teams from both the groups join the top 8 nations in Super 12.

2020 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Schedule

India vs South Africa – 24th October 2020

India vs TBD – 29th October 2020

England  vs India – 24th November 2020

India vs TBD – 5th November 2020

India vs Afghanistan – 8th November 2020

As for the teams that are playing, hosts Australia are the definite favourites to win the tournament along with India and England. Pakistan, the No.1 T20 side, has lately been not really successful in ODI and Test cricket, so they can spring a surprise.

Defending champions, West Indies have not been in convincing form and have lost a series to Afghanistan, who will surely take a lot of heart from their performances and enter into the World cup.

South Africa drew a series against India and will look to build upon it but the team lacks experience with no AB De Villiers around this time. Afghanistan are no more the minnows, at least in T20 cricket with quite a few stars in the team.

Analysis of teams playing against India

According to the 2020 World Cup T20 Schedule, India have direct entry into the Super 12 stage, thanks to their ICC T20 rankings. The team has shown some good form but have not been at their utmost best and are still experimenting.

India has still time to find their best squad for the World Cup in the upcoming T20 series against West Indies followed by Sri Lanka and New Zealand. The month and half long Indian Premier League (IPL) will also be an ideal stage to decide and select the strongest team.

India is in Group B along with England, South Africa, Afghanistan and 2 qualifiers from First round.

South Africa

India will play the 1st match against South Africa in Perth on 24 October 2020. South Africa recently played a T20 series in India and drew it after the first match was a washout. South Africa are not the team they used to be with a lot of senior cricketers opting to leave like Hashim Amla, Ab De Villiers while Dale Steyn is injured.

The team is studded with youngsters and has a young captain in Quinton De Cock. De Cock is their best batsman while Rassie Van der Dussen also showed promise with a few good scores in World Cup 2019 and will look to keep his spot.

Temba Bavuma is another dependable player who can play as a sheet anchor and also be effective. David Miller comes in as the finisher and provides much-needed muscle, but he has been scrutinized for being inconsistent. Henrikh Klassen will also be in the mix of things to fight for a spot as a wicket-keeper batsman, while ODI and Test captain Faf Du Plessis looks to get into the team playing the Mzansi league.

On the bowling front, Kagiso Rabada is the spearhead of the attack and will look to start off proceedings with some searing pace in the quick and bouncy Perth Wicket. He will have support in Andile Phelukwayo and Anrich Nortje. In spin bowling, they have Tabraiz Shamsi as the main spinner but will dearly miss the experience of the wily Imran Tahir. Bjorn Fortuin can also be handy with his slow left-arm spin.

England

They are probably India’s strongest opponents in the Super 12 stage. India play England on 1st November at the MCG and it will be an interesting encounter. India have not played any T20 match against England in the last year and it will be a test for both teams.

England has Johnny Bairstow, James Vince and Dawid Malan are the names in their ranks for the opener’s spot while 21-year old Tom Banton will also be in the mix. Captain Eoin Morgan comes in after them is a surety with his consistency and versatile batting.

Brothers Sam and Tom Curran will be in the squad as allrounders alongwith relative newbie Lewis Gregory. England lack a spin-bowling allrounder and might miss Moeen Ali.

Chris Jordan will lead the pace attack and will look to use his slower ones too, while Matt Parkinson might get a call up along after consecutive successful domestic seasons to share spin bowling duties with Adil Rashid. Pat Brown is touted as England’s newest death bowling sensation and will look to keep his reputation.

Interestingly, Jos Butler seeks to make a return to the squad, and his form will be vital. If he is good form, England can just rip off bowling attacks.

The team has an impressive mix of young and experienced individuals, although they lack in some departments. But a returning Jos Butler and series win against a formidable New Zealand side will give them hopes to have a good world cup.

 Afghanistan

The minnows are not minnows anymore, at least in T20 cricket. They recently sprung up with some delightful performances to beat West Indies. Afghanistan showed the glimpses of what they are capable of in the last 2019 World Cup.

They are not exactly a batting-heavy team and do not have many world-class batsmen. After the suspension of Mohammad Shahzad, Afghanistan have not got a batsman who can be a matchwinner. Hazratullah Zazai is an attacking batsman and played some important innings against Bangladesh and hit a century against Ireland. Other than them, there is Asghar Afghan and Najibullah Zadran. Mohammed Nabi is their main bowling allrounder.

Their bowling is their strong point and they have 2 world class spinners in Rashid Khan and Mujib ur Rehman, sitting at No.1 and No.8 in world rankings. Apart from them, there is Mohammed Nabi and he is a handy bowler too. Dawlat Zadran, Gulbadin Naib and Karim Janat are the main fast bowlers.

India will play against them in SCG, Sydney which has a history of supporting spinners unlike other Australian stadiums. It is expected to be a good match but India should come out comfortable victors.

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