World Cup action begins soon

Henry

The T20 World Cup is entering uncharted waters this year, with the cricketing spectacle starting in Texas on Sunday.

The ninth edition of the T20 knockout tournament will be decided from Sunday (SA time) in the USA and the Caribbean.

The USA is a co-host for the first time and group stage matches are played in Dallas and New York, among others.

The tournament is still largely decided in the West Indies, but 16 group matches are played on American soil. This includes the showdown between India and Pakistan in New York.

Other group matches and the knockout matches are hosted in the Caribbean and the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown will host the final.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) also sees the tournament as the starting point for the sport’s return to the Olympic Games in 2028. The Games will then be presented precisely in Los Angeles.

Major League Cricket, an American T20 tournament, was launched last year and will also benefit from any growth in interest in this version of the game.

However, this is not only what the ICC is focusing on, but the expansion of the tournament has also made it possible for other developing cricketing nations to bat and bowl on the stage.

In recent years the sport has been able to expand beyond its traditional strongholds with Ireland and Afghanistan gaining Test status.

The ICC believes that the T20 format is the perfect vehicle to grow the game and the USA, Canada and Uganda will make their T20 World Cup debuts this year.

Then Nepal, Papua New Guinea and Oman will also put their best foot forward on the big stage.

According to experts, India is once again the favorite to walk away with the laurels. After all, their team is full of stars from the successful Indian Premier League.

Although Steve Smith is not part of Australia’s World Cup squad, the Aussies can still rely on the experience of David Warner, Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins.

The Windies won the tournament in 2012 and 2016 and they will be keeping their fingers crossed that their knowledge of conditions will tip the scale in their favour.

Then the Proteas’ campaign officially begins on Monday when they face Sri Lanka. The South Africans will also play against the Netherlands (June 8) and Bangladesh (June 10).

Rob Walter’s team is fourth in the T20 rankings. The Proteas have been involved in eight T20 World Cup tournaments, with their best performance in 2009 where they reached the semi-finals.

However, the South African cricket team has never been able to progress further than that.