The seventh Twenty20 World Cup in 2021 went ahead thanks to months of logistical planning against the backdrop of the Coronavirus epidemic. Originally slated to go ahead from 18th October to 15th November in 2020 in Australia, the tournament was postponed for a year and moved to the United Arab Emirates.
Despite the truncation, the tournament was brimming with drama, firsts, and shocks. Ahead of the upcoming 2022 Twenty20 World Cup, we look back on what happened last year, as well as giving you some online cricket betting odds for this year!
Australia had a near-flawless tournament - losing just one game to England in the group stage. They saw off a dangerous and in-form Pakistan in the semi-finals before overcoming New Zealand in an eight-wicket breeze-up.
It was a polished, all-round team showing - led by skipper Aaron Finch, who recently retired from One Day Internationals to focus solely on Twenty20 cricket.
David Warner was in sensational form - hitting 289 runs at an average of 48.16 and a strike rate of 147.70 - he landed the Player of the Series mantle. In the bowling stakes, Adam Zampa (13 wickets) and Josh Hazelwood (11 wickets) were both key to the Baggy Greens' push to victory.
The final was all about Mitchell Marsh. He hit 77 runs from just 50 balls to help his side chase a target of 174 with six balls to spare.
Fancy Australia to defend their crown on home turf in November? You can back them to win the tournament at odds of 4.8 - at the time of writing, they are third favourites behind India (3.3) and England (3.95).
It was a tournament to forget for India. A team that went in as one of the favourites were humbled and humiliated - winning just three games against Afghanistan, Namibia, and Scotland.
The format means only four teams can make the semi-finals, but for India to be one of the big guns to have missed out was a shock. They were the tournament's biggest disappointment.
We should also reserve a special mention for Bangladesh. The Tigers are no longer the also-rans of international cricket. They have an excellent team of international-class players, such as Shakib Al Hasan, Litton Das, and Mustafizur Rahman.
Many had predicted them as one of the dark horses going into the tournament, but they were one of only two sides not to win a game - Scotland being the other.
The cricket betting oddsmakers do not fancy Bangladesh's chances in the upcoming Twenty200 World Cup, pricing them at 34.0 - a fair price, given their disappointing showing at the Asia Cup recently.
We're going to highlight two matches - one was the most dramatic of the tournament (although, in truth, there weren't many competitors) and one because of the history behind the fixture.
The seventh game of the tournament was a thrilling affair - after winning the toss and opting to field, the Tigers limited the West Indies to 142/7 - a target that looked eminently reachable. Shoriful Islam (2/20 from four overs) and Mahedi Hasan (2/27 from four overs) were the pick of the bowlers in that match - neither of them have been selected for the squad this time around.
However, despite keeping wickets in hand, the Bangladeshi batters struggled to maintain a reasonable run rate throughout. The fall of Litton Das on the final ball of the 19th over left them needing 13 runs from the final set of six. Experienced West Indies campaigner Andre Russell was responsible for seeing his country over the line. He responded with a sensational over, limiting Mohammad Mahmudullah and Afif Hossain to just nine runs and no boundaries.
It was a dramatic conclusion to a low-scoring game - one of the best games from the group stage phase lacking in last-over showdowns.
A tie that needs no introduction - these are two arch enemies whose rivalry transcends sport. There was hype around this clash, with many observers predicting a win for India. However, the team in green had other ideas - putting on a masterful display to canter home with 10 wickets to spare.
A Virat Kohli half-century was not enough for his side to post anything purposeful. Shaheen Shah Afridi starred with the ball, taking 3/31 from four overs to help limit them to 151/7. Still, with runs on the board, they would have been hopeful of a superior bowling attack sneaking them over the line.
Step forward Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam - Pakistan's opening partnership, arguably the strongest in world cricket at the moment, rampaged to 152/0, with the former smashing 79 runs from 55 balls and the latter hitting 68 runs from 52 balls.
The 2021 Twenty20 World Cup was not a memorable one for the batsmen. Only one player managed to hit a century - Jos Buttler racking up 101 not out against Sri Lanka in Sharjah on 1st November 2021.
Only one team managed to hit the 200+ runs target, with India managing 210/2 against Afghanistan on 3rd November 2021.
It will be fascinating to see if batting units struggle on pitches in Australia for the upcoming World Twenty20 as much as they did in the UAE.
Catches win matches, so it matters more when a fielder flies through the air to take a blinder. Sometimes, a game is remembered for a catch more than any other contribution in the game.
The honour goes to Devon Conway for New Zealand against Pakistan on 26th October. Positioned in long-off, he flew around to wide long-off to bag a flighted drive from Mohammad Hafeez - grabbing the ball horizontally a good two feet off the ground.
Commentator Danny Morrison screamed into the mic, "oh put a cape on him as well" - but Conway's superhuman effort wasn't enough to get New Zealand over the line. They went on to lose by five wickets.
The last World Cup was a welcome distraction from the Coronavirus pandemic, but the upcoming tournament has a different feel to it. The teams are packing in the preparation and the entire cricketing focus will be zeroed in on the event.
India come into the World Cup as favourites, but there is no hiding their disappointing performances in previous tournaments and come with risks attached. Keep an eye on dark horses Pakistan, who dominated the group stage of the World Cup last year. They are priced at an attractive 9.0.
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