2016 ICC World Twenty20

The ICC World Twenty20 in India in March is certain to be one of the highlights of the year in cricket.

Of course, many aficionados of the game are impatiently waiting for the T20 bubble to burst. It’s killing cricket, they say. Cricket is a gentleman’s game and the frenetic nature of the short form is eroding the patience and techniques of batsmen, and forcing bowlers to abandon all pretence at guile and trickery.

Well, to some extent we at World Gambling List agree. (Yes, yes, I know, we are dinosaurs and need to get with the program).

However, fans worldwide have voted with their backsides; they love the big hitting and the excitement, so Twenty20 is here to stay. Exhibit A: a T20 match at the MCG in January between Melbourne teams the Stars and the Renegades attracted more than 80,000 fans.

The shortest form of the game has also proved a smash hit with gamblers, with astronomical amounts turned over on events such as Australia’s Big Bash, India’s IPL and England’s T20 Blast, for starters.

And so to India, where the ICC World Twenty20 seems certain to attract massive crowds, television audiences and betting turnover.

Quick guide to the 2016 ICC World Twenty20 in India

Dates: March 8-April 3

First matches: Double-header: Hong Kong v Zimbabwe, Scotland v Afghanistan, Tuesday, March 8, Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium, Nagpur.

Defending champions: Sri Lanka, defeated India by six wickets in the 2014 final. India 4-130 (20 overs) v Sri Lanka 4-134 (17.5 overs) at Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur, Bangladesh. Attendance: 25,334.

The draw: Sixteen teams will compete for the title, but the top eight in the ICC rankings advance straight to the second round (Super 10s). The other eight teams contest round one in which they are split into two groups of four, with the top team from each group advancing. The top two teams from each group of five in the Super 10s advance to the semi-finals.

Round 1
GROUP A: Bangladesh, Netherlands, Ireland, Oman.
GROUP B: Scotland, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, Hong Kong.

Round 2
GROUP 1: Sri Lanka, South Africa, West Indies, England, Group B winner.
GROUP 2: India, New Zealand, Pakistan, Australia, Group A winner.

Semi-final 1: TBC v TBC, Wednesday, March 30, Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi.

Semi-final 2: TBC v TBC, Thursday, March 31, Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai.

Final: winner semi-final 1 v winner semi-final 2, Sunday, April 3, Eden Gardens, Kolkata.

Results of past ICC World Twenty20s

Year Winners Runners-up Host nation/s
2007 India Pakistan South Africa
2009 Pakistan Sri Lanka England
2010 England Australia West Indies
2012 West Indies Sri Lanka Sri Lanka
2014 Sri Lanka India Bangladesh
2016 West Indies England India
2020 ?? ?? Australia

World Twenty20 rankings

(As at January 4, 2016)

1 Sri Lanka
2 West Indies
3 Australia
4 England
5 South Africa
6 Pakistan
7 India
8 New Zealand
9 Afghanistan
10 Bangladesh

Betting on the 2016 ICC World Twenty20

In early markets, bookmakers have installed home team India as strong favorites to land their second title.

Several betting agencies, including Bet365, are offering prices on the winners of Group A and Group B in the Supers 10s stage.

In Group A, as you would expect, India are favoured to come out on top, though odds setters expect Australia to provide stiff competition, with a fair gap back to Pakistan and New Zealand.

In Group B, analysts expect a much tighter battle, with South Africa favoured narrowly from England, West Indies and defending champions Sri Lanka.

You can also wager on which teams will qualify for the knockout stages.

As the tournament approaches and squads are finalised, there will be many more markets on offer.

Most of the action will take place on individual match bets but there will also be a string of interesting player bets such as top run scorer and top wicket taker (both overall and for individual teams), most sixes, head-to-head match-ups and so on.

Who will win the 2016 ICC World Twenty20?

We would like to be able to declare that we know who will win, so our followers can place their bets and clean up.

But T20 is unpredictable and games can be won and lost with the toss of the coin or a dropped catch here and there. The five previous editions of the tournament have thrown up five different winners, and it will be no surprise if Australia, New Zealand or South Africa continue that trend.

What we do expect though, is for spin to play a major role on the turning decks of India. So the team with the best couple of tweakers might well go all the way.

Here’s our rundown of what to expect from the big eight:

India (Best finish: champions, 2007): As always a star-studded line-up and will be hard to beat on home turf. But then again, the pressure of playing at home and the expectations of 1.25 billion people can weigh heavily. They are the deserved favourites given the emotion surrounding the likes of likely retiree M.S. Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh, who has fought back from cancer, and the fact they just missed out last time. But we are not keen on taking the short odds available to date.

Australia (Best finish: runners-up, 2010): A powerhouse team, with dashing openers in Aaron Finch and David Warner. Nathan Lyon will be their go-to spinner and the dry tracks may not suit the likes of Mitchell Starc, who was superb in the limited-over equivalent to this tournament won by Australia so emphatically last year.

South Africa (Best finish: semi-finals 2009, 2014): Any team which can call on the firepower of AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla, Francois du Plessis and JP Duminy will take some stopping. Throw in quality spinner Imran Tahir and veteran speed king Dale Steyn and it’s not a bad package. Definitely a big threat.

West Indies (Best finish: champions, 2012): Possibly the most explosive and least predictable team in this event. Many of their best players specialise in the shortest form of the game: the likes of Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels, Dwayne Bravo, etc. Their hopes were dealt a huge blow last year with the ban for a questionable action for Sunil Narine, who had established himself as the game’s premier T20 bowler.

Sri Lanka (Best finish: champions, 2014): Have had a changing of the guard since their famous win two years ago, but have always excelled in the limited-over forms of the game. Will be sweating on having sling-bowling superstar Lasith Malinga fit for the tournament. But have enough talent in their batting especially to beat anyone on their day.

Pakistan (Best finish: champions, 2009): Have often surprised in the shorter forms of the game and again can’t be entirely ruled out. They would love nothing better than to lift the trophy on Indian soil. Led by a crafty old master in Shahid Afridi.

England (Best finish: champions, 2010): They seem to again be building up to something special in the shortest form and maybe it’s their turn again. Have a stack of real dashers, including the likes of Alex Hales and Eoin Morgan. Have they got the T20 bowlers, and spinners in particular, though to go all the way?

New Zealand (Best finish: semi-finals, 2007): The Black Caps will be without trailblazing batsman Brendon McCullum, who retires from international cricket after the Test series against Australia. But that’s not to say they are not loaded with power-hitters. Martin Guptill, Ross Taylor, plus incoming skipper Kane Williamson, arguably the world’s best batsman, are just three who can certainly score at a rate of knots. The question mark is their bowling attack but they should not be underestimated.