T20 World Cup 2021: Expert Analysis

The Cricket Analyst will provide selections and analysis on the best games of the T20 World Cup 2021. Get these plus a full tournament preview, including team profiles and betting strategies, exclusive to the Betfair Hub.

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Monday 15th November | 1:00am AEDT | Dubai International Cricket Stadium


A new winner will be crowned when fierce rivals New Zealand and Australia face off for the 2021 T20 World Cup title in Dubai on Monday.

The Blacks Caps continued their remarkable run across all formats when they outgunned England by five wickets in the first semi-final at Abu Dhabi on Wednesday. Having won the toss and sent The Three Lions into bat, the Kiwis kept England’s dangerous batting unit relatively in check, restricting them to 4/166 with experienced seamer Tim Southee claiming 1/24 off four overs.

New Zealand’s chase got off to an ordinary start when they were reduced to 2/13 in the third over, however left-handers Devon Conway (46 off 38 balls) and Jimmy Neesham (27 off 11 balls) got the pursuit back on track with valuable cameos, before it was left to opener Daryl Mitchell to explode at the death as he finished unbeaten on 72 off 47 balls, piloting his side home with an over to spare.

In the second semi-final at Dubai on Thursday, Australia qualified for just their second T20 World Cup final after storming home against Pakistan, who posted a formidable 4/176 batting first despite another superb spell from leg-spinner Adam Zampa (1/22 off four overs).

Notwithstanding the best efforts of opener David Warner (49 off 30 balls), the Aussies looked up against it, needing 62 from the last five overs, however just as they did in the opening fixture against South Africa, the lower-order pair of Marcus Stoinis (40 not out off 31 balls) and Matthew Wade (41 not out off 17 balls) combined for a match-winning partnership of 81 off 40 deliveries to stun the Pakistanis and lead their side home by five wickets with six balls remaining.


Once again the toss will be crucial, but after navigating their way through the tournament in more convincing style than their opponents, I cannot resist taking a pre-match position on the Black Caps.

However given the loss of Conway to injury and the fact that the Kiwis have a habit of fluffing their lines in important matches against their big brother, I will be looking to trade out and secure a profit regardless of who lifts the trophy.


  • New Zealand have won their last five T20Is.
  • Australia have won seven of their past 17 T20Is.
  • In T20 and ODI tournament finals matches, New Zealand have lost their last 16 games against Australia.


BACK-TO-LAY — New Zealand at $2.50+ for 1 unit (trade out at up to $1.70)

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The intended hosts and tournament favourites will be looking to claim a long-awaited second crown after they triumphed in the inaugural competition back in 2007, when they beat fierce rivals Pakistan by five runs in a dramatic final. Much has changed since the early days of the shortest format, but India remains a force, seated only behind England in the ICC rankings.

Overall, India look well-balanced and have a number of proven match-winners, so they should certainly feature in the latter stages, however their price is very short and with some question marks over the quality and depth of their pace bowling, I’ll be letting them through to the keeper at this stage.


The 2010 winners and reigning 50-over champions will be hoping to add another trophy to the cabinet – and they’re certainly not without a chance, boasting a typically power-packed squad that is brimming with talent, particularly in the batting department.

It’s hard to knock England’s recent record, having lost only one of their past 11 T20I series’, which sees them comfortably perched at the top of the ICC rankings. There’s no doubt that a lot rests on the performance of Rashid as England’s only premium spin-bowling option, however in his last two years in the T20I format he has returned 26 wickets at an average of 22.27 and economy rate of just 7.42. Therefore if the leggie can maintain that sort of form to supplement the muscular batting line-up, then there’s every chance that England could become the first team to simultaneously hold the 20-over and 50-over crowns – and I think there’s some value in their price.

Betting Strategy

BACK — England at $4.50 or bigger for 2 units


Despite all their success in test and ODI cricket over the past 30 years, Australia have largely struggled in the T20 arena, with their best result at this tournament a runners-up spot in 2010. More recently, they have lost their past five T20I series’, which has seen them slip down to number seven on the ICC rankings. Granted, their latest struggles against Bangladesh and the West Indies came without many of their first-choice players, but there are still significant issues within their squad as they look to claim a maiden title.

The Australians are the sort of outfit who can suddenly click for a big tournament despite largely struggling beforehand – which is arguably what happened at the 2019 50-over World Cup – and within their squad they do have premium T20 operators in Maxwell, Starc and Zampa. However, when you dig even deeper beyond their latest setbacks, you find a lopsided squad beset by injury concerns and confused role definition, so I’m happily going to take the Aussies on in the Middle East and back that they will remain without a T20 title.

Betting Strategy

LAY — Australia up to $8.50 for 3 units


The two-time champions and current holders will be looking to cause another surprise, though they may not fly under the radar quite like they have in previous editions of this tournament. The Windies’ squad is packed with several experienced T20 specialists, led by all-rounder Kieron Pollard and also featuring the likes of Chris Gayle, Andre Russell and Dwayne Bravo, with the four of those players alone headed for 2000 combined T20 appearances.

The Windies’ form has been strong enough, winning eight of 14 T20Is that they’ve played this year, including a comfortable 4-1 disposal of Australia at home. There are some question marks over their bowling attack, with plenty resting on the shoulders of the relatively inexperienced Walsh. But no other side can boast such a powerful and deep batting line-up, plus a bucketload of T20 experience to call on, and I think the West Indies are every chance of defending their title. I’ll be backing them to do so.

Betting Strategy

BACK — West Indies at $7.60 or bigger for 1 unit


The inaugural World Test champions will be looking to add a T20 title to their resume. This is a tournament in which they’ve often flattered to deceive, reaching the semi-finals only twice in six attempts and never progressing beyond that point. Five years ago they remained unbeaten during the group stages, but were then overpowered by a more robust English side in the semis.

The Black Caps certainly have a strong enough squad with plenty of players featuring in the premier domestic T20 competition, so I am loathe to take them on. However, with such an ordinary record away from home, it’s hard to get too excited about their price to claim a maiden T20 crown.


The 2009 champions will be looking to cause another surprise here. If they are to come from the back of the field to claim a shock victory, there’s no doubt that captain and talisman Babar Azam will need to make a significant impact on the tournament.

Pakistan’s recent form is promising enough, losing only two of their past nine bilateral T20I series’, but notably they have struggled to beat the bigger sides, winning just three of their past ten matches against England, Australia and New Zealand. Overall, the Pakistanis appear to have one of the better balanced bowling attacks. If they play solely on pitches that generate low-scoring matches, then they could well be in with a chance. But there are just too many question marks over their batting line-up with a potential over-reliance on Babar and not enough power hitting in the middle-order. I’ll be leaving them alone for now.


Perhaps a lack of expectation can play into South Africa’s hands as they try to end the long wait for a major ICC trophy. However, whether they have the sufficient quality to make a mark in the Middle East remains to be seen. The likes of Faf du Plessis, Chris Morris, Imran Tahir and the mercurial AB de Villiers are all currently plying their trade in the IPL. But for various reasons none will represent the Proteas in this tournament.

There’s no doubting that despite all the talent on the sidelines, South Africa have the individuals within their squad to exceed expectations. However, they face a tough task in the stronger group and without a proven all-rounder at this level, I can’t quite bring myself to be with them.


The achievement by Afghanistan to qualify directly for the tournament – ahead of Sri Lanka and Bangladesh – has been overshadowed by instability on all fronts. There were doubts raised over their participation due to the country coming under the control of the Taliban. Then further consternation was caused by star leg-spinner Rashid Khan stepping down from the captaincy shortly after the Afghans named their squad, citing a lack of consultation in the selection process. Instead it appears that they will be led by seasoned all-rounder Mohammad Nabi, though former skipper Asghar Afghan could also come under consideration.

If the Afghans find themselves on a turning pitch, then they are capable of springing a surprise, but a lack of experience against top-quality opposition and recent turmoil makes it very difficult to see them getting out of the group stage.


Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Ireland, Namibia, Scotland and Oman will all compete in the qualifying stage. They are split into two groups, with the top two progressing to the competition proper.

Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have not just the greatest pedigree, but the strongest group of players available. Both should have no issues advancing. While both sides can expect to take on the competition favourites, I don’t believe there is any value to be had in backing them to take out the trophy.


BACK — England at $4.50 or bigger for 2 units

LAY — Australia up to $8.50 for 3 units

BACK — West Indies at $7.60 or bigger for 1 unit

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