T20 World Cup: Team-by-team guide and predictions before Super 12 begins

Just tuning into the Men’s T20 World Cup? Where have you been?

After a gripping week of upsets and nervy encounters, the competition welcomes the main contenders on Saturday in what looks a wide open field.

Can England come good when it matters? Will home advantage help Australia defend their title 12 months on? Or can India bounce back from their early exit last time to win the title?

Take a look at BBC Sport’s predictions below, with a guide to each team’s array of big hitters and world-class bowlers.

Men’s T20 World Cup

Group 1

  • Afghanistan
  • Australia
  • England
  • New Zealand
  • Sri Lanka
  • Ireland

Group 2

  • Bangladesh
  • India
  • Pakistan
  • South Africa
  • Netherlands
  • Zimbabwe

Top two sides in each group qualify for the semi-finals


Ranking: First. 2021 result: Super 12s. Form (most recent first): LLWWWWLWLL

India have an almost endless supply of white-ball players to choose from but no-one quite like superstar bowler Jasprit Bumrah, who has been ruled out of the tournament with a back injury.

The loss of Bumrah and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja means India – now captained by Rohit Sharma, who replaced Virat Kohli following last year’s surprise group-stage exit – suddenly do not look as strong.

But Kohli has found form, ending debate about his place in the side with a T20 century in the Asia Cup, while thrilling batter Suryakumar Yadav could rival Buttler for best T20 batter in the world and many would pick Hardik Pandya as the best all-round cricketer in the format.

Hardik will have a key role will both bat and ball. How the bowling attack, likely Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel, Arshdeep Singh and Yuzvendra Chahal copes without Bumrah will decide their chances.

Prediction: Semi-finals


Ranking: Second. 2021 result: Semi-finals. Form (most recent first): WWWWLLWLW

Power, skill and pace. On paper at least, England have it all.

A recent T20 series win in Pakistan has boosted their hopes after a difficult year in white-ball cricket. For four years, they were the world’s dominant limited-overs team but this summer were beaten by both India and South Africa as the post-Eoin Morgan era began slowly.

Still, they have a line-up as strong as any. Captain Jos Buttler is arguably the best white-ball batter in the world while Mark Wood returned from an elbow injury in Pakistan and reached speeds of 97mph, something which could prove crucial in Australia – fitness permitting.

An already powerful batting line-up has been improved by the emergence of dazzling 23-year-old Harry Brook and the return of Ben Stokes, back in the T20 side with the aim of putting right the wrongs of the 2016 T20 World Cup final defeat.

The loss on the eve of the tournament of left-arm bowler Reece Topley, England’s form T20 bowler this year, is a big blow, however.

Prediction: Runners-up

South Africa

Ranking: Third. 2021 result: Super 12s. Form: WLLWWWWLLL

If every sporting tournament needs a dark horse, then South Africa may be just that for the Men’s T20 World Cup 2022.

They impressively beat England in the UK in the summer and have the best bowling attack in Australia. Fast bowlers Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada, two of the quickest around, are electric and Tabraiz ‘the magician’ Shamsi is an effective wrist spinner.

Rilee Rossouw and David Miller have hit T20 hundreds this month, both scored against India, while explosive batter Tristan Stubbs, already known to England fans after smashing a 28-ball 72 in Bristol, could become a global star.

There are distracting doubts, however, about their captain Temba Bavuma while injuries to middle-order rock Rassie van der Dussen and canny all-rounder Dwaine Pretorius should not be dismissed.

Prediction: Semi-finals

Also Read–Namibia vs UAE, Live Score, T20 World Cup 2022


Ranking: Fourth. 2021 result: Semi-finals. Form (most recent first): LLWWLWLLLW

Another side who could win it.

The question with Pakistan is whether their full XI is strong enough, outside their well-known superstars.

Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam showed against England they are an opening pair for the ages, capable of winning matches on their own. Their unbeaten partnership of 203 in the second match of the series was their fifth stand of 150 or more, the most by any pair in men’s T20s.

Left-armer Shaheen Afridi is a fast bowling sensation while there are few quicker than Haris Rauf, who made his name in Australia in the Big Bash.

Pakistan say Shaheen is fit, which is a major boost, as he has been sidelined with a knee injury.

But the series against England showed if opponents get Babar and Rizwan early, there is not a lot of batting elsewhere.

Prediction: Super 12s

Also Read–India vs Pakistan Live Score, T20 World Cup: India opt to bowl against Pakistan

New Zealand

Ranking: Fifth. 2021 result: Runners-up. Form: LWWWLLWWWW

Just a year ago, New Zealand reached the final of the T20 World Cup but, once again, go into a tournament with few talking up their chances.

The stalwarts remain – captain Kane Williamson, seamer Tim Southee and left-armer Trent Boult, despite his decision to be released from his New Zealand contract.

Adam Milne and, in particular, Lockie Ferguson provide extra firepower with the ball and Glenn Phillips is the form middle-order player.

There remains a feeling they are a side coming to the end of a cycle, however.

Prediction: Super 12


Ranking: Sixth. 2021 result: Winners. Form: LLWWLLWLWW

Will home advantage help Australia go back-to-back? Possibly. They remain among the favourites despite a recent series loss to England.

Few expected Aaron Finch’s side to challenge in last year’s World Cup but they ended up going all the way.

Their pace bowling attack – world number one Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc – is familiar and fearsome. So too are other regulars, David Warner, Glenn Maxwell and Matthew Wade. Wade is one of the form ‘finishers’ around and memorably took Australia to victory over Pakistan in last year’s semi-final by hitting three consecutive sixes in the penultimate over.

Explosive middle-order batter Tim David, a star of the domestic franchise leagues and former Singapore international, adds a bit of X-Factor to their side.

Prediction: Winners

Sri Lanka

Ranking: Eighth. 2021 result: Super 12s. Form: WWLWWWWWLW

After a surprise defeat in the first game of this World Cup against Namibia, Sri Lanka recovered to qualify for the Super 12 with two comfortable wins.

In September, they shocked everyone by beating both India and Pakistan to win the Asia Cup and are an improving side under former England coach Chris Silverwood.

Wanindu Hasaranga could easily claim to be the best leg-spinner in the world. He is Sri Lanka’s standout player but aggressive left-hander Bhanuka Rajapaksa – he hit 71 not out in the Asia Cup final against Pakistan – and Dasun Shanaka, now Sri Lanka’s captain, provide middle-order threat. Opener Pathum Nissanka hit a crucial 74 against the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday too.

Fast bowler Dushmantha Chameera has been ruled out with a calf injury, however – a significant absence which leaves them lacking pace bowling threat.

Prediction: Super 12


Ranking: Ninth. 2021 result: Super 12s. Form (most recent first): LLLLWWLLLW

Shakib al Hasan and Mustafizur Rahman are the big names in a Bangladesh squad it is difficult to see being competitive.

This time Shakib will juggle the captaincy with his crafty left-arm spin and stylish batting while left-arm seamer Mustafizur will look to bamboozle with his exciting tricks and variations.

The Tigers exited the Asia Cup without winning a match and have lost series to Zimbabwe and West Indies this year.

Former captain Mahmudullah has been left out of the squad while underrated wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim has retired from T20s.

Prediction: Super 12


Ranking: 10th. 2021 result: Super 12s. Form (most recent first): LLLWWLWWLL

For the second year in a row, Afghanistan qualified directly for the main phase of the T20 World Cup but they are yet to achieve a statement win at the global showpiece in their short international history.

Once again, leg-spinning sensation Rashid Khan is their star player and will be backed up by two more quality spinners in Mujeeb ur Rahman and Qais Ahmad. Rashid is the most successful overseas bowler in the history of the Big Bash, so knows conditions well.

Mohammad Nabi is the captain, aged 37, in a much-changed squad. Wicketkeeper-batter Rahmanullah Gurbaz is the form player at the top of the order after good campaigns in the Caribbean Premier League and Asia Cup.

Afghanistan’s Asia Cup campaign showed signs of promise when they beat winners Sri Lanka and Bangladesh before a dramatic, one-wicket loss to Pakistan.

Prediction: Super 12


Ranking: 11th. 2021 result: Did not play Form: WLWWLWWWWW

Zimbabwe were not able to play at last year’s World Cup because of a suspension but this year have made it through to the second stage for the first time in their history, breaking Scottish hearts in the process.

Their standout player is undoubtedly all-rounder Sikandar Raza – so much so the International Cricket Council billed him as the form player in the world before the tournament.

He was the highest scorer in the first group stage, including an 82 against Ireland, and has also taken five wickets with his off-spin.

Captain Craig Ervine, 37, is an experienced leader – his 58 helped them edge over the line against Scotland – while 6ft 8ins seamer Blessing Muzarabani is an exciting pace bowler, but the Super 12 stage could be a struggle.

Prediction: Super 12


Ranking: 12th. 2021 result: First group stage. Form: WWLWLLWWLL

Ireland’s dominant victory over West Indies on Friday secured their place at the main table.

Opener Paul Stirling needs little introduction. He has regularly taken down bowling attacks in county cricket in recent years.

All-rounder Curtis Campher is a lesser-known player but one equally as important. He smashed a stunning 72 from just 32 balls in the dramatic win over Scotland and is also a good seamer.

Keep an eye on 22-year-old left-armer Josh Little, who made his Ireland debut aged 16 and earlier this year took 5-13 in The Hundred – the tournament’s best figures to date.

Prediction: Super 12


Ranking: 17th. 2021 result: First group stage. Form: LWWLLLWWWW

The lowest-ranked side in the competition, who pipped Namibia to qualify with Sri Lanka from Group A in the first phase.

All-rounder Bas de Leede, 22, has been the Netherlands’ standout player so far with a good supply of runs and seven wickets courtesy of his right-arm seam.

Long-haired opener Max O’Dowd hit 71 not out from 53 balls and will have an important role to play for a side used to upsets. They have beaten England in this competition twice.

Prediction: Super 12

Source: T20 World Cup: Team-by-team guide and predictions before Super 12 begins