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2024 T20 World Cup ultimate guide: Can Australia reclaim the title?

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The 2024 ICC T20 World Cup is just around the corner. Here’s everything you need to know before a ball’s been bowled.

Twenty20 cricket. At first introduced as a novelty, now the most financially dominant cricket format loved by billions worldwide. It’s short, sharp and entertaining, loaded with sixes launched into carparks and toe-breaking yorkers faster than a lorry tearing down a motorway.

Straying from Test cricket’s traditions: white colours, long, drawn-out days of play, T20 cricket is bright, bubbly, ridiculously fast and, crucially, fun. Where cricket’s longest format is a father informing their child they aren’t allowed sweets at the family barbeque, Twenty20 cricket is the fun uncle feeding them Starbursts under the table.

From Barbados to Brisbane, it’s no wonder the masses sell out stadiums for a few hours at T20 cricket, while Tests are often performed in front of limited audiences, their attendances as much restricted by scheduling issues birthed by their length as anything to do with gameplay and pace.

It’s in India, cricket’s largest global audience, that the T20 format is most prominent. The Indian Premier League is the format’s pre-eminent competition, lasting a handful of weeks but producing a lifetime of memories for millions. Such is its popularity, it’s both one of global sports richest and most viewed domestic sporting competitions.

International T20 cricket is no different. The 2022 T20 World Cup had a social media reach of over 6 billion people, while over a million Australians tuned into that tournament’s final. Will we see a similar level of interest in 2024?

Only time will tell. For now, here’s everything you need to know about the 2024 ICC T20 World Cup.

2024 ICC T20 World Cup ultimate guide

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When is it?

2 June 2024 – 30 June 2024

The T20 World Cup falls smack bang in the middle of the year during the Northern Hemisphere summer.

Where is it?

The West Indies and the United States of America.

For the second time in its history, the tournament will be jointly hosted by two nations. This time, it’s the West Indies and the USA. For the West Indies, this marks the second time they’ve hosted the tournament. In 2010, the World Cup travelled to the region, with England beating Australia in the Barbados-hosted final.

For America, the World Cup is a momentous occasion: the first time a major cricketing tournament will arrive on its shores. 16 of the World Cup’s 55 matches will be hosted across the US, including New York and Dallas. However, the semi-finals and final will be hosted in the West Indies.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) is hopeful that successfully hosting the tournament will increase cricket’s popularity in the sporting-saturated American market.

What does Australia’s draw look like?

Australia have been drawn in Group B alongside England, Scotland, Namibia and Oman. The Green and Gold open their tournament against Oman on 5 June, going on to play England and Namibia before rounding out the group stage against Scotland.

For this Australian side, three of those matches should be a breeze, considering the gulf in star power on offer. Australia will likely call on the likes of Mitch Marsh, Pat Cummins, Travis Head and Adam Zampa, among others.

England will prove the toughest matchup. England possesses arguably the world’s premier T20 side, with power hitters Zak Crawley, Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow balanced by Joe Root’s composure and a fearful fast bowling attack potentially spearheaded by Jofra Archer. There’s every possibility this encounter could decide which nation tops Group B.

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Who are the favourites?

England

As mentioned above, England enters the tournaments as frontrunners. Not only are they reigning champions, they’re also one of T20 cricket’s most dangerous sides, on their day. In recent months, their days have been few and far between, with the West Indies beating them 3-2 in a T20 series in December 2023.

Their chances of reclaiming World Cup glory in cricket’s shortest format took a significant hit with news Ben Stokes would miss the tournament entirely to recover from knee surgery. Fortunately for the English, their batting lineup is world-leading.

Jos Buttler and Johnny Bairstow are two of the greatest short format batsmen ever, while Harry Brooks and Phil Salt have laid down their marker as the next generation of great English T20 batsmen. Salt, the second-best T20 batsman in the world according to the ICC’s rankings at the time of writing, averaged 83 in five twenty over internationals during the 2023-24 season.

With ball in hand, England are also threatening, with their attack potentially boosted by Jorfa Archer’s return when the tournament rolls around.

Australia

One of the strongest short-form cricket sides, Australia will be hoping to replicate their success at the 2021 tournament this year. Much of the side from that one run victory over New Zealand remains in the fold with a few, namely Mitchell Marsh, in greater cricketing form than they were three years ago.

Their recent tour of New Zealand ended in a T20 3-0 whitewash, with Marsh in particularly good batting knick. In isolation, his powerful striking unsettles opposition bowlers and wrestling games into Australian control in a manner of overs. Alongside Travis Head and David Warner, who remains active in T20 cricket, Australia have a striking trio the envy of the world.

When their stroke players aren’t on, Steve Smith is always on hand to clean an innings up, while there isn’t much to say about Australia’s first-choice bowling attack, essentially their Test attack with Adam Zampa replacing Nathan Lyon, that hasn’t already been said.

T20 World Cup
Leg spinner Adam Zampa will be crucial for Australia at the 2024 ICC T20 World Cup

India

Rohit Sharma. Virat Kohli. Ravi Jadeja. Shubman Gill. Yashasvi Jaiswal. It’s fair to say the Indian T20 side has its fair share of talent to call on when they chase their first T20 World Cup title in 17 years.

Despite the IPL being the pre-eminent global T20 competition, the Indian national team have consistently underwhelmed at T20 World Cups, falling short at the semi-finals in 2022 and 2016. There is no excuse for them to underperform at the 2024 World Cup, especially given the talent at their disposal.

No batsman has scored more T20 World Cup runs than Virat Kohli’s 1,141, while Sharma and Gill are envious talents in any format of cricket. Unlike most sides, the West Indies and the USA won’t be too unfamiliar for India, given they toured the nations in 2019, 2022 and 2023.

Pakistan

Another particularly potent short form side, Pakistan seemingly always enter T20 World Cups as contenders, especially in recent years. This has largely been due to the emergence of several multi-format stars, such as Shaheen Afridi and Naseem Shah.

Coinciding with the rise of this pair of promising quicks, Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan cemented themselves as T20 matchwinners, with the former widely regarded as one of his generation’s finest batsmen.

Runners-up in 2022, Pakistan will hope to go one better this time and bring the trophy home. If they are any chance of doing that they’ll need their stars to fire and their form to reverse from their 4-1 T20 series defeat suffered at the hands of New Zealand in January 2024.

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New Zealand

New Zealand’s T20 form has been a mixed bag to begin 2024. They’ve either resoundingly won, as against Pakistan, or resoundingly lost, against Australia. While victory is never guaranteed what is guaranteed is New Zealand’s talent.

Any side with Kane Williamson is always a chance of victory. The Kiwi batsman averages 34 in cricket’s shortest format. Surrounding him is a supporting cast littered with talent. Rachin Ravindra, Devon Conway and Glenn Phillips are highly talented batters capable of taking games into their hands while their bowling attack is reliable.

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Kyle Robbins
Kyle is a senior sports writer and producer at Only Sports who lives and breathes sport, with a particular burning passion for everything soccer, rugby league, and cricket. You’ll most commonly find him getting overly hopeful about the Bulldogs and Chelsea’s prospects. Find Kyle on LinkedIn.

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