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T20 World Cup: Why West Indies Are Favourites

T20 World Cup: Why West Indies Are Favourites. In five pointers, Ongama Gcwabe singles out what the West Indies squad has that the other teams simply do not.

West Indies T20 World Cup Favourites

What makes the West Indies favourites to win the T20 World Cup yet again? Can they be the first team to win back-to-back T20 World Cup titles?

In five pointers, Ongama Gcwabe singles out what the West Indies squad has that the other teams simply do not.

The 2021 T20 World Cup staged in Oman & UAE is the seventh edition of the tournament since the first one was staged in South Africa back in 2007. West Indies has won it twice, while India, Pakistan, England and Sri Lanka have had the honour of winning the T20 World Cup once since its inception.

Across the Twenty-twenty format which was introduced back in 2003, West Indies and its players have dominated the format. From most runs in T20 cricket to most wickets in T20 cricket history, the West Indians reign supreme.

It is by no luck or coincidence that West Indies have been dominant, the format has evolved to better suit their natural style of play which is attacking and muscular.

But as we have seen over the years, brute force alone does not guarantee success in T20 cricket, but playing smart cricket and taking calculated risks has proven to be the winning formula in the format in recent years.

West Indies Squad

Kieron Pollard (Captain), Nicholas Pooran (Vice-Captain), Fabian Allen, Dwayne Bravo, Roston Chase, Andre Fletcher, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Evin Lewis, Obed McCoy, Lendl Simmons, Ravi Rampaul, Andre Russell, Oshane Thomas, Hayden Walsh jr

Travelling reserves: Darren Bravo, Sheldon Cottrell, Jason Holder, Akeal Hosein

Experienced T20 Icons

The West Indies Squad is filled with icons of the format. Star names which include Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard and DJ Bravo have done it all in T20 Cricket. The experience these three individuals bring to the table is something none of the other 15 teams at this year’s World Cup can match.

Between the trio, a combined 32 113 runs and 932 wickets in T20 cricket. This is a feat no trio of players in any team at this year’s World Cup can match, literally. This goes to show how dominant the Maroon Army has been over the past decade & a half of T20 cricket.

Versatility in Squad

This West Indies squad is one of the most versatile squads in the World Cup. They have an abundance of options in the team to play any role or position in the team. Credit to the coach who has been rotating this squad more often in recent matches, at the expense of the team at times. These rotations have cost West Indies a series against South Africa in the Caribbean, a few bad performances against Australia, but have given the team a clear understanding of the options they have within the squad.

Take the batting opening spots for example; Lindl Simmons, Chris Gayle, Andre Fletcher or Evin Lewis can occupy the position and take any team apart.

Kieron Pollard, Andre Russell, Shimron Hetmeyer, Nicholas Pooran and Fabian Allen can slot into any of the remaining batting positions with ease due to their adaptability and skill to play any game situation.

This is a luxury that the Proteas & many other teams in the tournament do not have. Mind you, the Proteas are in the same Super 12 Group as the West Indies, which will make for a great showing.

Endless Power Hitting

It is clear that there is no team that can compete with the West Indies team in this respect. From the opening pair, down to number eleven in the batting order, clearing the boundary is not an issue.

The Caribbean has produced naturally well built, muscular, lithe sportsmen in almost all sporting codes. A prime example is that of Usain Bolt who to this day holds the record of the fastest man in a 100m stretch in the history of humanity.

This is a very important part of the T20 format. Teams with a higher boundary percentage tend to win more games than a team with a lower boundary percentage. As far as hitting boundaries, West Indies are second to none.

Cool As Cucumber Under Pressure

It seems like it also comes natural to them to stay calm under pressure because whether a player is experienced or not when called upon, West Indies cricketers deliver the results.

Take Sunil Narine for an example, whose omission in this squad raises eyebrows, his performance in the qualifiers against Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL is a great example of how men from the Caribbean are cool under pressure.

Carlos Brathwaite’s “remember the name” moment in 2016 also comes to mind. Brathwaite was not a big name at the time, but when the team needed him he delivered in fantastic fashion. Being cool, calm & collected under pressure is a crucial aspect of professional sport and often differentiates between winners and losers.

Flair, Style & Confidence

Only a few teams come close to competing with West Indies on this front. Apart from Indian cricketers, I don’t see who has flair, style & confidence as much as the West Indies players.

This makes the West Indies team one of the most loved teams at this World Cup and that puts them at an advantage, more so now that the stadiums will be allowed to have up to 75% of the stadium’s capacity.

West Indies Fixtures

  1. West Indies v England – 23 October 2021
  2. West Indies v South Africa – 26 October 2021
  3. West Indies v B2 – 29 October 2021
  4. West Indies v A1 – 04 November 2021
  5. West Indies v Australia – 06 November 2021

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