Virat Kohli to Mitchell Starc: Players to watch out for in T20 World Cup

New Delhi:  The much-awaited T20 World Cup 2024 is set to begin on Sunday (as per IST) with co-host USA taking on Canada in the tournament opener in Texas. As teams gear up for the T20 showpiece in the West Indies and the USA, here’s a look at some players who can set the stage on fire in the tournament. Virat Kohli (India) Virat Kohli has been the backbone of India’s batting line-up since the last decade. His records at the ICC events are spectacular. In the last ODI World Cup in 2023, he broke legendary Sachin Tendulkar’s famous record after amassing 765 runs in the single edition of the tournament to clinch the Player of the Tournament accolade. The right-handed batter, who is also the highest run-getter in T20Is, will eye to replicate his Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 form in the T20 extravaganza after finishing the cash-rich league as the top run-scorer. The 35-year-old will play a crucial role in India’s campaign in the tournament. Jos Buttler (England) The England captain will head into the tournament as the defending champion after lifting the title in 2022, beating Pakistan in the final at Melbourne Cricket Ground. The wicketkeeper-batter is the highest run-getter for the country in T20Is with 3011 runs in 115 matches. He scored 359 runs for Rajasthan Royals in the recently concluded IPL season including two centuries. In the ongoing home series against Pakistan, Buttler slammed 84 runs in the second T20I in continuation of his stellar form. His fierce batting at the top will play a significant role in England’s campaign in the tournament. Babar Azam (Pakistan) Re-appointed Pakistan’s captain, Babar Azam will arrive at the mega event with a bagful of T20i runs and consistent form. The right-handed batter is set to lead the Men in Green in the hope of his first ICC title in a leadership role after finishing the last edition as runners-up. Babar is the second-highest run-getter in T20I, only behind Kohli with 3987 runs in 118 matches. The right-handed batter will look to steer his to title glory in his second stint as captain. Jasprit Bumrah (India) India’s premier pacer Jasprit Bumrah is raring to play in the T20 pinnacle after missing the last edition of the tournament due to a back injury. The right-arm speedster finished the IPL season with 20 wickets in 13 matches for Mumbai Indians. He is also the third-highest (74 wickets) wicket-taker for the country in the shortest format after Yuzvendra Chahal (94 wickets) and Bhuvaneshwar Kumar (90 wickets). Bumrah will lead India’s pace attack in the T20 World Cup along with Arshdeep Singh and Mohammed Siraj. Shaheen Afridi (Pakistan) Pakistan pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi will spearhead the fast-bowling department. The tall bowler will be a key figure in their bowling line-up with his variations of deliveries in the 20-over match. He finished the last edition with 11 scalps, the joint-highest for Pakistan with Shadab Khan. With 91 scalps, the left-arm-pacer is also the four-highest wicket-taker for Pakistan in the T20Is. Shaheen will look to dismantle the opponent’s batting line-up along with Naseem Shah, Mohammad Amir, and Haris Rauf. Mitchell Starc (Australia) Mitchell Starc will bring in his experience to showcase his bowling prowess for Australia. The experienced pacer will be at the forefront of Aussie’s pace-attack. The lethal speedster had a good outing with Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL-winning season. The pacer will carry that confidence in the T20 World Cup and eye to end the tournament with another ICC title. –IANS ab/bsk/

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