TWENTY PROJECTIONS FOR WORLD T20 2016 here.

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Never before has India ever started as such overwhelming favourites for any ICC event. Not only are they the number one ranked team in the world, they are playing in front of home crowds and have been been in outstanding touch in recent times. Given their batting line-up and bowling attack, it is actually hard to see India faltering, despite two aging stars taking charge of a challenging middle-order.

The rest of it is completely unclear, in an unprecedented way. Four teams tie on impact after that – and any one of them could reach the final, on potential. This also makes it the closest World Cup in any format in ICC’s history.

Here are the top eight squads through Impact Index.

WORLD T20 2016

Teams Overall Impact Batting Impact Bowling Impact TDs Runs Tally Impact Strike Rate Impact Chasing Impact Pressure Impact Wickets Tally Impact Economy Impact
India 100 100 89 20 100 44 100 100 88 89
Australia 96 85 82 9 95 56 80 86 89 50
Sri Lanka 96 80 91 8 80 33 60 100 91 79
West Indies 96 82 86 15 88 100 100 71 83 54
Pakistan 96 90 91 21 89 78 100 100 91 100
New Zealand 89 77 100 6 86 44 60 86 100 75
South Africa 87 90 91 9 98 67 80 100 100 82
England 84 84 82 2 92 44 80 86 90 46

Note:
1) All numbers (except for TDs column) are denoted in percentages and are between 0 and 100 for a team, where the number denotes what percentage of the impact a team has registered vis-à-vis the highest impact team in the tournament.
2) TDs- Tournament-defining performances
3) Overall Impact is based on the team’s constituent players’ T20 records (international and domestic) with an extra weightage to international matches and to all T20 matches in the last two years.

So, from this the four favourites for the semi-finals are India, Australia, Sri Lanka and West Indies with Pakistan emerging as the dark-horse.

An important point to note is the effect the dew will have on the outcome of the match in certain venues. In such a case, chasing would definitely be an advantage and as such it could have an effect on our predictions.

Here is a look at all the teams in detail:

INDIA

If they play to potential: Should win the WT20 trophy.
Strengths: Run-scoring propensity, chasing, restrictive bowling, recent run of form, home conditions.
Weaknesses:
Inability to score at a high rate, wicket-taking propensity.

India, like the 2011 ODI World Cup start the 2016 T20 World Cup as the favourites to win the tournament. Unsurprisingly, India have the highest Batting Impact amongst all the teams in the tournament. They also have a reasonable bowling attack to back the batsmen. In Virat Kohli, they have the highest impact T20I batsman in their side and a batsman who is in a destructive form of late. Shikhar Dhawan’s impact in T20s had been poor before India’s tour of Australia in 2016 but he has bounced back with some impressive showings which included a tournament-defining performance in the Asia Cup final.

India’s only Achilles Heel in the batting department is their inability to score runs at a high rate. The inclusion of Hardik Pandya seems to have given the lower middle-order the much required impetus but there are still question marks on the ability of Yuvraj, Raina and Dhoni providing a big burst at the end.

India’s bowling seems to have clicked with the inclusion of Ashish Nehra and Jasprit Bumrah. Nehra, who is the highest impact Indian pacer in T20s in the last two years showed his wicket-taking propensity and his ability to be restrictive post his comeback.

Ravindra Jadeja has never been a high impact T20 performer but his sensational comeback series against South Africa seems to have given him a new found belief. Ashwin, as always, irrespective of the format will hold the key.
Amongst all the bench players, Harbhajan Singh can be a quality addition to the playing XI. He has been the highest impact Indian bowler in T20s in the last two years. Three spinners, thus, might not be a bad idea in conditions aiding them especially given the fact that it is the end of the cricket season in India and most of the pitches would be worn out and tend to keep low.

This Indian team is filled with big-match players and if they make it to the knockout stage (which they should), they will be a handful for any team. This team should be winning the cup. Anything less will be an underachievement.

Highest Impact batsman: Virat Kohli
Highest Impact bowler: Harbhajan Singh
Highest Impact player: Virat Kohli

(Based on all T20s including domestic matches with a slightly greater weightage to T20Is and T20s in the last two years)

High Impact omission: Robin Uthappa

AUSTRALIA

If they play to potential: Should reach the final.
Strengths: Run-scoring propensity, quality all-rounders, IPL experience for most of their players.
Weaknesses:
Wicket-taking ability, non-restrictive bowling attack.

The 50-over champions enter this tournament as one of the favourites along with India. They are actually the joint-second highest impact team along with Pakistan in their group but we expect Australia to go through based on their players’ superior form over the course of the last two years in T20s. Australia’s biggest strength is their plethora of all-rounders in James Faulkner, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Marsh, Shane Watson and John Hastings—all of who lend a solid balance to the team. They also have players who have the experience of playing in Indian conditions in the IPL.

Australia’s weakness though lies in their bowling department which is both non-restrictive and lacks the ability to pick wickets—a drawback of having too many all-rounders leading to lack of specialist bowlers. Faulkner’s bowling numbers have taken a big hit in the last two years, more so in Indian conditions. In ideal circumstances, Andrew Tye and Coulter-Nile should be spearheading their bowling attack. Tye has been the highest impact Australian bowler in the BBL in the last two years but might still not find a place in the playing XI. Adam Zampa, though impressive in the BBL, doesn’t quite possess the threat the leading spinners do in other teams.

Australia’s batting has fallen into place with David Warner now slotted in the middle-order although their opening conundrum of Finch/Khawaja/Watson still remains. From an Impact point of view taking form into account, it should be Finch and Khawaja. Maxwell continues to have the image of a game-changer but his failure rate in this format is too high for a player of his class. Although he is billed up as the finisher, Faulkner has not shown a fraction of his ODI batting prowess in the shortest format of the game.

In totality, Australia’s progress depends mostly on the ability of their bowlers to stand up to the test. If that holds up, they will be the team to beat along with India.

Highest Impact batsman: David Warner
Highest Impact bowler: Andrew Tye
Highest Impact player: Andrew Tye

High Impact omission:
Jason Behrendorff.

SRI LANKA

If they play to potential: Should make it to the knockout stage.
Strengths: Restrictive bowling lineup, plethora of all-rounders, Lasith Malinga.
Weaknesses:
Run-scoring propensity, scoring at a high rate, ability to chase, recent form.

Sri Lanka is the most surprising team amongst the lot to feature as a favourite for the knockout stage. A lot of their chances though depend solely in the hands of Lasith Malinga. Malinga has been the highest impact T20 bowler in the world in the last two years, producing tournament-defining performances in the last edition of the World T20 and in the IPL. If he is unfit and unable to play though, the chances of Sri Lanka qualifying go down considerably. Sri Lanka’s batting unit has the second-lowest impact in the tournament and as a result a lot of their batting responsibility will rest on Dilshan, Chandimal and Mathews’ shoulders.

Sri Lanka’s dismal showing in the Asia Cup doesn’t do this present team much justice. They have an arsenal of all-rounders who have been high impact in domestic T20s but look unsure of their roles playing for Sri Lanka. If Sri Lanka manage to extract performances from the likes of Shanaka, Siriwardana and Jayasuriya, they have the ability to be a dominating side. It is a matter of time before they do but can they do it on the biggest stage of them all?

Highest Impact batsman: Dinesh Chandimal
Highest Impact bowler: Lasith Malinga
Highest Impact player: Lasith Malinga

High impact omission: Upul Tharanga

WEST INDIES

If they play to potential: Should make it to the knockout stage.
Strengths: Scoring at a high rate, chasing ability, IPL experience for many of the players.
Weaknesses:
Wicket-taking ability, non-restrictive bowling attack, ability to absorb pressure.

The 2012 WorldT20 champions start as one of the favourites to qualify for the knockout stage along with Sri Lanka from their group. They’ll be missing the services of Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard and Lendl Simmons—all three instrumental in their respective IPL sides becoming champions in the past. If all three had been available, there’s a chance West Indies would have emerged as the highest impact team of the tournament and as a result would have gone in as the favourites to win the tournament. The absence of Narine though gives Badree a chance to hog the limelight and show why he is the highest impact bowler in T20 history.

It comes as no surprise that West Indies are the best team in the tournament when it comes to Strike Rate Impact but will be wary of Gayle’s inconsistency of late with the bat. The decision to replace Simmons with Evin Lewis and not Dwayne Smith (one of the highest impact T20 batsman in the world) is flabbergasting on the selectors’ part.

West Indies’ bowling is their weak link. Badree is their only world class option, Andre Russell and Dwayne Bravo are capable of producing high impact performances with the ball but have a poor Economy Impact . The likes of Suleiman Benn, Ashley Nurse and Jason Holder haven’t been high impact in this format. In the absence of Narine, there will be a question mark on West Indies’ death bowling capabilities as well.

Highest Impact batsman: Chris Gayle
Highest Impact bowler: Samuel Badree
Highest Impact player: Dwayne Bravo

High impact omission: Kevon Cooper

PAKISTAN

If they play to potential: Have an outside chance of getting past the group stage. Will have to beat either India or Australia for a chance in the knockouts.
Strengths: Scoring at a high rate, ability to chase, wicket-taking ability, restrictive bowling attack, big-match players.
Weaknesses:
Poor run of form entering the tournament.

This preview banishes a lot of conventional wisdom surrounding the present Pakistan team. To start off, they have the joint second-highest Batting Impact unit (along with South Africa) and the joint-best ability when it comes to chasing targets and absorbing pressure of falling wickets amongst all the teams in the tournament. Shocking enough? What this shows is the ability of all the individuals in the squad but how disjointed the cumulative performance becomes once they get together.

Pakistan have no dearth of batting talent and the inclusion of Ahmed Shehzad is a major boost to their top-order which struggled in the Asia Cup. They have class acts in Shoaib Malik – the highest impact player in T20 history, Umar Akmal and Sarfraz in the middle-order. If they play to potential, this batting unit has the ability to decimate opposition bowling attacks.

Pakistan’s bowling has never been in question and it’s the case here as well. Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Irfan, Mohammad Sami, Wahab Riaz and Shahid Afridi make for the most restrictive bowling attack in the entire tournament. In order to qualify though Pakistan will have to beat one of the big two (India & Australia). They certainly have the ability to do so but the question is which Pakistan will turn up in this tournament?

Highest Impact batsman: Shoaib Malik
Highest Impact bowler: Mohammad Sami
Highest Impact player: Shoaib Malik

High impact omission: Iftikhar Ahmed

NEW ZEALAND

If they play to potential: Will struggle to make it past the group stage.
Strengths: Wicket-taking ability, Confidence.
Weaknesses:
Run-scoring propensity, ability to score at a high rate, ability to chase.

New Zealand’s is a curious case. They have the highest Bowling Impact unit but the lowest Batting Impact lineup in the tournament. A combination of Mitchell McClenaghan, Adam Milne, Trent Boult and Tim Southee partnered by Mitchell Santner/Nathan McCullum/Ish Sodhi (all three highly restrictive T20 bowlers) also means they have the joint-highest wicket-taking propensity amongst all the teams in the tournament.  McClenaghan actually emerges as a higher impact bowler than even Lasith Malinga in all T20s whereas Milne’s form in T20s in the last two years have been phenomenal.

On paper, the New Zealand batting unit looks strong but on an Impact scale, they have the lowest Batting Impact . A major reason for this is the relatively low impact of Ross Taylor, Grant Elliott and Henry Nicholls in the last two years in T20s. Also, the likes of Williamson, Guptill and Munro have hardly given tournament-defining performances in T20s in the last two years. Most surprisingly, Corey Anderson doesn’t have a high Strike Rate Impact in this format contrary to popular perception. New Zealand also lack a dedicated finisher and it shows in their Chasing Impact —the poorest amongst the lot in the tournament.

Although this New Zealand team shouldn’t progress past the group stage, they have the ability to be the party poopers for other teams in their group.

Highest Impact batsman: Martin Guptill
Highest Impact bowler: Mitchell McClenaghan
Highest Impact player: Mitchell McClenaghan

High impact omission: Rob Nicol

SOUTH AFRICA

If they play to potential: Will struggle to make it past the group stage.
Strengths: Run-scoring propensity, ability to score at a high rate, wicket-taking propensity, restrictive ability.
Weaknesses:
Poor form over the last two years, lack of all-rounders.

This South African team is placed high in most of the individual parameters but still lose out on a top four spot mainly because of the lack of all-rounders in their squad. They have a high number of single skilled players who can contribute in only one phase of a match. Even the likes of David Wiese, Chris Morris and JP Duminy don’t qualify as genuine all-rounders.

AB de Villiers has been a very low impact T20 batsman in general but there has been a drastic rise in his impact batting in the top three for Bangalore. He is in the middle of a similar experiment with South Africa where he is being tried as an opener. The downside to that is one of Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock is being forced to sit out of the line-up although both of them are higher impact T20 batsmen than de Villiers. Faf du Plessis has been their highest impact T20I batsman and will be expected to bat out the major chunk of overs for South Africa. David Miller is a threatening proposition but his reputation and impact doesn’t go hand in hand in T20s in the last two years. In case Miller gets dismissed early, there are hardly any other South African batsmen who can don the finisher’s role in this squad.

The bowling attack of Wiese, Rabada and Tahir make sure that South Africa have the joint-highest wicket-taking propensity (along with New Zealand) amongst all the teams. Dale Steyn, interestingly, is more of a restrictive bowler and has a poor wicket-taking propensity in this format (he has struggled to make inroads in the top/middle order but has been good against the tail).

This team has the potential to cause an upset given the batting firepower in their side but the lack of a genuine all-rounder and another finisher might upset their chances in the tournament.

Highest Impact batsman: Hashim Amla
Highest Impact bowler: Imran Tahir
Highest Impact player: Quinton de Kock

High impact omission: Jon-Jon Smuts

ENGLAND

If they play to potential: Will struggle to make it past the group stage.
Strengths: New found confidence in the limited overs format.
Weaknesses:
Ability to score at a high rate, non-restrictive bowling unit, inconsistency.

Like in the last T20 World Cup, England find themselves placed as the bottom-most team again although the gap between them and the next placed team has reduced considerably.

England’s renewed vigor in the limited overs format saw them shaking their entire setup in favor for more ‘horses for courses’ players and even though they have fielded a much better team this around, it is simply not good enough.

England’s batting is their strength but their bowling lineup is a huge letdown. The likes of Reece Topley, Chris Jordan and Liam Plunkett aren’t high impact T20 bowlers, especially in Indian conditions. It is no surprise then that England also have the poorest ability to restrict runs amongst all the teams in the tournament. How the English bowlers fare in the death overs also remains to be seen. England’s only saving grace on the bowling front is Adil Rashid who has been a very high impact T20 bowler in the last two years and was also a very high impact bowler in the BBL.

Overall, England are expected to display a good brand of cricket but the lack of bowling resources should mean that turning dominant batting performances into wins will be a hard task.

Highest Impact batsman: Jos Buttler
Highest Impact bowler: David Willey
Highest Impact player: Jos Buttler

High impact omission: Ravi Bopara

 

TWENTY PROJECTIONS FOR WORLD T20 2016 here.

 

Soham Sarkhel
Illustrations- Vasim Maner