For months and months I’ve been tipping the West Indies to be the dark horses for the upcoming T20 World Cup (It starts in under an hour as I write this). Since then, a number of well known voices have come out and said something similar. Ian Botham is probably the most prominent of them – he shared his prediction during England’s emphatic fall from grace against South Africa.
Yes T20 is a lottery. Yes the T20 World Cup is wide open. But I’m sticking my neck out and predicting the West Indies will come out on a high and blaze to victory for the following reasons.
Reason #1 – Chris Gayle is the greatest T20 batsman the game has seen
If there is one batsman who has mastered T20 and can win a game by himself, it’s the coolest man in cricket….Chris Gayle. Sure he has an impressive record in international T20s, but perhaps a better yardstick to measure by is performances in the subcontinent. In the 2012 IPL – the fifth edition – Gayle’s stats were breathtaking.
Gayle scored 733 runs in 15 matches at an average of 61 and a strike rate of 160. That’s a level of consistency that belies T20’s lottery status.
Reason #2 – Sunil Narine might be the most economical bowler in the tournament
In Sunil Narine the West Indies appear to have a spinner that batsmen fail to pick. His wicket taking and tight bowling at the death has the potential to be match-winning. Taking IPL 5 as the yardstick once more, his death bowling even surpasses Lasith Malinga, the man widely acknowledged as the finest T20 bowler in the world. Narine took 16 wickets in the last five overs of matches and only went at an astonishing average of 8.81 and economy rate of 6.36.
As mystery spinners go, perhaps only Saeed Ajmal has as many tricks.
Reason #3 – The West Indies have big hitters throughout their side
Six hitting and raw power is a must these days in T20 cricket. The West Indies have this in abundance. Chris Gayle aside, Dwayne Smith, Dwayne Bravo, Marlon Samuels, Kieron Pollard, and even lower down Darren Sammy and Andre Russell, can all explode and get a rapid 20 or 30 in the space of a matter of overs.
Reason #4 – Wouldn’t it just be great?
Ok, reason 4 gets a little bit woolly, a little bit fuzzy. As an Englishman, I can’t help but love the West Indies. Whether it’s the soothing tones of Michael Holding in the commentary box or no. 11 Tino Best smearing England to all parts, there’s just so much charm to their cricket team. Where West Indies lack the steel and determination to realistically compete in tests or challenge for the 50 over World Cup, they have the T20 World Cup within their sights.
Let the fun and games begin!
Have your say, who will win the T20 World Cup?
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