Oman, PNG take center stage as T20 World Cup kicks off – .

Oman, PNG take center stage as T20 World Cup kicks off – .

Mascate (AFP)

Oman and Papua New Guinea kick off the Twenty 20 World Cup on Sunday in the humble environment of Al Amerat.

Originally slated to take place in Australia and then India, before being driven out of the two by Covid-19, the seventh edition of the event begins with a double header at the 3,000-seat site outside Muscat .

Later Sunday, Bangladesh will face Scotland before Ireland, Namibia, the Netherlands and 2010 champions Sri Lanka join the fray on Monday.

The eight teams in the first round of qualifying are aiming for four places in the Super 12 round robin.

England, Australia, South Africa, defending champions West Indies, India, Pakistan, New Zealand and Afghanistan will meet with all matches in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.

The top four will then advance to the semi-finals before the final in Dubai on November 14.

There are big stakes for the teams that have to qualify.

A place in the next round guarantees a place for the 2022 T20 World Cup.

There is also a financial incentive. The teams coming out at the first hurdle win a modest sum of $ 40,000 (34,500 euros) with the same amount awarded for each victory.

The future champions pocket a check for $ 1.6 million.

Oman is playing their second T20 World Cup after shocking Ireland at the 2016 tournament.

Their team is made up almost exclusively of semi-professional South Asian expatriates who combine cricket and full-time work. Many train at 5:30 a.m.

Papua New Guinea make their T20 World Cup debut.

They have already acclimated to Gulf conditions after spending a month in Oman.

“It’s a really proud moment for me and the boys,” said PNG skipper Assad Vala.

Bangladesh have achieved only one tournament victory since 2007, but with a world ranking of six, they will be in a great hurry to qualify for the second round.

They enter the tournament with home wins against Australia, New Zealand and Zimbabwe under their belt.

– England, little favorite? –

The Scots fell at the first hurdle in their three previous T20 World Cup appearances, in 2007, 2009 and 2016.

They scored their first and only tournament victory five years ago – an eight-wicket triumph in a rain-affected match against modest Hong Kong.

Resignation: Virat Kohli to step down as Indian team’s T20 captain after tournament Manjunath KIRAN AFP / Fichier

After qualifying is over, many see Eoin Morgan’s England as a small favorite to become two-time world champions.

Top nations will join the event – played in stadiums 70% filled – on October 23, with Australia and South Africa meeting in the Super 12 stage opener and England against the West Indies.

England beat New Zealand to win the 50th anniversary title at Lord’s in 2019.

Morgan’s side will, however, be without Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer, who played a key role in their one-day World Cup triumph.

England had to defend 19 points in the final final of the 2016 T20 Final in Kolkata, but Carlos Brathwaite of the West Indies hit Stokes for four consecutive sixes, giving the Caribbean their second T20 world title.

Much of that winning team will return, led by Kieron Pollard and old warhorses Dwayne Bravo, 38, and Chris Gayle, 42.

Asian giants India will start their campaign against their big rivals and former champions Pakistan on October 24, with Virat Kohli looking to come out with a bang before stepping down as captain of the T20 squad.

– Eye repeat from India –

Kohli will look to repeat India’s triumph at the inaugural tournament in 2007.

On the stretch: Pakistani captain Babar Azam exercises with his teammates ahead of 2021 T20 World Cup Arif ALI AFP

The Indian Premier League, which ended on Friday, has seen many stars get used to the UAE pitches.

Glenn Maxwell, for example, scored 513 points, including six half centuries, in the world’s most popular cricket league, a performance that will bolster Australia’s hopes of a first T20 title.

Trans-Tasman neighbors New Zealand, led by Kane Williamson, will also be aiming for two successive world crowns after winning the inaugural Test Championship, beating India in the final in June.


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