Preview: T20 World Cup – predictions, favourites, how the tournament works

A total of 16 teams will compete in 45 matches across five weeks for the privilege to be crowned the 2022 T20 World Cup champions.

Just 12 months have passed since Australia won the 2021 T20 World Cup, beating New Zealand in a tense final, with the reigning champions hosting this year’s edition.

While the tournament may officially kick off on Sunday, October 16, cricket’s ‘big guns’ will not enter the fold until Saturday, October 22.

Prior to the likes of England, South Africa and Australia entering the Super 12 stage, eight teams will fight it out in first round qualification.

Split between two groups of four, each side involved in qualification will play each other once, with the group winners and runners-up progressing to the Super 12, where the eight highest-ranked teams from the 2021 competition will enter.

At that point, the 12 teams will be once again separated into two sections, this time with six sides in either group.

Only the top two teams from either side of the draw will advance to the semi-final stage, where a straight knockout tournament will determine this year’s T20 World Cup winners.

Who is taking place in qualifying?

Often seen as a curtain raiser to the actual event, T20 World Cup qualifying can sometimes be considered a drab affair, yet last year’s tournament proved entertainment can be found in the early stages.

Relative outsiders Namibia shocked the world when they progressed to the Super 12 stage ahead of more established nations Ireland and the Netherlands.

Namibia will once again share a group with the Netherlands, alongside the United Arab Emirates, and favourites to progress into the Super 12, Sri Lanka.

It is just eight years since a Kumar Sangakkara half-century helped Sri Lanka to the 2014 T20 World Cup title and on the back of victory in this summer’s Asia Cup, the island nation will be hoping to compete once more.

Sri Lanka are the biggest name in Group A of qualifying, with two-time champions West Indies the standout side from Group B.

Following dramatic victory in the 2016 edition, the West Indies did not threaten at the World Cup last year, finishing fifth in their Super 12 group, and they now must navigate a tricky-looking qualification phase in order to progress this time around.

Ireland and Scotland will offer stern tests for the West Indies, as will Zimbabwe, who make a return to the international stage, having been suspended from last year’s tournament.

The International Cricket Council suspended Zimbabwe from all competition in 2019, citing political interventions in the Cricket Board of Zimbabwe, but with those issues now behind them, the Chevrons will be keen to do their talking on the pitch.

Who are the favourites?

Eight teams have already made it through to the Super 12 stage, with fixtures and a path to the final already determined for those nations.

Hosts Australia head the billing in Group A, with the current world champions joined by England, New Zealand and Afghanistan in an already competitive section.

As for Group B, a tasty tie between Pakistan and India is shaping up to be one of the games of the tournament, with South Africa and Bangladesh making up the other two nations.

Each group will have another two teams added before the Super 12 stage kicks off, but of the nations already qualified, who are the likely favourites?


Reigning champions, tournament hosts and bookies favourites to lift the trophy once again, Australia will be eyeing up another triumphant World Cup campaign this autumn.

Since its inception in 2007, no nation has ever lifted back-to-back T20 World Cups, with only the West Indies having won the tournament more than once.

With expectations high heading into a home tournament, Australia’s hopes could hinge on the performances of their explosive middle order, with big-hitters like Mitchell MarshMarcus Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell all set to feature.

The big talking point from the Australia camp has been the decision to give Tim David the nod ahead of stalwart Steve Smith, who has dropped out of the T20 side.

As favourites, the pressure will be on the hosts from the off, but with the experience of last year’s triumph, it is hard to look beyond Australia for victory next month.


Having taken over from the departing Eoin Morgan in the summer, Jos Buttler will captain England in their first white-ball tournament of a new era.

Injuries have devastated England’s preparation for this tournament, with key talents like Jonny Bairstow and Jofra Archer both missing out on a place in the squad.

In light of that, Buttler has had to rebuild a side looking for their first T20 World Cup win since 2010, with the previously estranged Alex Hales brought back in from the wilderness for this autumn’s tournament.

He will open the batting with Buttler, whereas at the opposite end of the scorecard, the returning Mark Wood has provided England with a major boost and the fast bowler could be key to their hopes in Australia.

Series wins over Pakistan and Australia in the build-up to the World Cup haVE provided the perfect preparation for England, and they enter the competition as second-favourites behind the host nation.


Once the crown jewels of cricket’s shorter format, India failed to inspire during the previous T20 World Cup, failing to make it beyond the Super 12 stage, and they are once again expected to struggle in Australia.

Winners of the first-ever T20 World Cup in 2007, a second title is not likely to arrive this year, given the problems India have faced in their build-up.

An injury to star pace bowler Jasprit Bumrah is a major blow for the Indian side, not least because the flat track pitches in Australia are expected to favour fast bowlers.

Preparations on the pitch for this tournament have been mixed, as series wins over England, West Indies and South Africa have helped breed confidence in the Indian side, whereas a disappointing performance at the recent Asia Cup has done the opposite.

Keep an eye out for India’s clash with Pakistan in the first round of fixtures at the Super 12 stage, with the fierce rivals often playing out a classic whenever they meet at the World Cup.


Dark horses for the tournament, a South African side packed with youthful talent will be keen to perform in Australia and challenge for the World Cup title.

Rather surprisingly, South Africa have never won the T20 World Cup; in fact, they are yet to even compete in the final, having reached the last-four stage on two unsuccessful occasions.

Watch out for breakthrough star Tristan Stubbs, with the 22-year-old having broken onto the scene this summer, shining in the men’s Hundred competition for runners-up Manchester Originals.

Stubbs was part of the South Africa side that triumphed 2-1 in a three-match T20 series with England over the summer, but the Proteas will still be reliant on experienced heads like Quinton de Kock and Kagiso Rabada if they are to be successful.

Is this the year South Africa finally lift the World Cup? Well, probably not, but if there is ever a competition that throws up unlikely results, it is the T20 World Cup.


If the World Cup was to be decided on the quality of a side’s opening pair, Pakistan would waltz to victory, given the firepower Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan possess at the top of the order.

However, the perennial problem for this Pakistan side has been finding a bowling attack with enough depth to compete consistently.

Shaheen Afridi‘s return will act as a big boost to Pakistan’s hopes, with the pacer having missed out on the recent seven-match series against England.

Couple Azam and Rizwan’s batting abilities with the quality of Afridi’s bowling and suddenly Pakistan look like a competitive threat.

Yet, as was seen in the Asia Cup final against Sri Lanka, consistency has plagued Pakistan in recent years, with more woes expected in Australia.


Another nation that has never won the T20 World Cup, New Zealand came close to ending their drought last year, but ultimately fell short against a well-oiled Australian side in the United Arab Emirates.

There has often been a sense of ‘always the bridesmaid, never the bride’ with New Zealand cricket, not least because last year’s final defeat marked their third consecutive World Cup final loss across both T20 and 50-over formats.

Should New Zealand replicate their run to the final from last year, the performances of their bowling attack will be crucial.

Seasoned professionals like Trent Boult and Tim Southee are amongst the best multi-format bowlers, whereas powerful all-rounder Michael Bracewell has shone with bat and ball in hand.

A difficult Super 12 section already has New Zealand on the back foot, with England and Australia heavy favourites to progress from the group.

We say: Australia to win

Winners: Australia

Runners-up: England

Player of the Tournament: Marcus Stoinis (AUS)

Most runs scored: Jos Buttler (ENG)

Most wickets: Rashid Khan (AFG)

Everything is gearing up for an Australia victory, given their status as reigning champions, host nation and tournament favourites.

Opposition will be stern for Australia, but it is difficult to look beyond them becoming the first-ever nation to win back-to-back T20 World Cups.

Related articles



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Share article

Latest articles


Subscribe to stay updated.