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Feature

The A to Z of the 2022 T20 World Cup

Everything you need to know about the tournament, arranged alphabetically. Includes J for jinx and R for running out a non-striker

Sidharth Monga
Sidharth Monga
14-Oct-2022
Bounce bonanza: the conditions in Australia will offer something for both bowlers and batters  •  Will Russell/Cricket Australia/Getty Images

Bounce bonanza: the conditions in Australia will offer something for both bowlers and batters  •  Will Russell/Cricket Australia/Getty Images

A for Australia: Defending champions for the first time, and also staging the T20 World Cup for the first time. Seven Australian grounds will host 45 matches and 16 teams over 28 days. One of the teams that qualifies into Group 2 will play Pakistan in Perth on October 27 and then take a four-and-a-half hour flight to Brisbane to cover the road distance of 4310km (or 3606km as the crow flies) for their next match, against Bangladesh on October 30.
If that makes you worry about jet lag, keep in mind this is a tournament that will be played in four different time zones, but the eastern-most venue, Brisbane, is not the one that is the farthest ahead of UTC because it doesn't take part in daylight savings time. Perth is eight hours ahead of UTC, Brisbane ten, Adelaide ten and a half, and Melbourne and Sydney 11.
B for bounce: It is unmissable, even to the naked eye. It is the first thing you notice. The bounce is steeper in Australia than elsewhere. It is not always bad news for limited-overs batting. The ball can be easier to time if the bounce is good and true, but equally, the really good bowlers can use the bounce to their advantage.
C for captains: Quite a few captains go into the tournament with a big selection headache: do they drop themselves? Kane Williamson and Temba Bavuma are going at under a run a ball in all T20 cricket since the last World Cup. Aaron Finch hasn't been in the best touch, has given up ODIs, and went down the order to let Cameron Green, who is not even in the World Cup squad (yet), open in the same month as the World Cup. Babar Azam will carry the strike-rate cross, and even Jos Buttler might have cause to doubt himself, what with injuries and meagre returns in T20Is leading up to the World Cup.
D for Djilang: The indigenous name of Geelong, the only non-Test venue in the World Cup. Adelaide is Tarndanya, Brisbane is Meeanjin, Hobart is nipaluna, Melbourne is Naarm, Perth is Boorloo, and Sydney Warrane. Australia will be wearing an indigenous-themed kit (see K) for this World Cup. Only four indigenous men and two indigenous women have played international cricket for the country.
E for Eliminator: As in, the one-over eliminator. Or, more colloquially, the Super Over. Ever since the boundary-countback fiasco in the 2019 World Cup final, the provision is that teams will play Super Overs until there is a winner. However, there are time constraints and double headers. Only 30 minutes of extra time is available for all the matches (except for when the reserve day kicks in for the knockouts - an extra two hours are available on reserve days). If the full quota of overs in a match is bowled before the scheduled close, the minutes saved are added to the time provisioned for Super Overs. A minimum of 20 minutes will be made available for Super Overs, even if the actual match goes into overtime. The changeover time of five minutes between the match and the first Super Over is not counted in the time available.
If we don't have a winner in the time available, the match ends in a tie. If there is no winner in a semi-final, the team that finished higher in the Super 12s will progress. A final without a winner even after Super Over(s) will result in joint champions being crowned. Semi-finals and finals have a reserve day, but every attempt will be made to finish the match on the actual day with the match continuing from the point at which it was truncated, should the reserve day be used.
F for first round: Not to be confused with Qualifiers (see Q). Four teams from the two groups in the first round will make it through to the second round. UAE, Netherlands, Sri Lanka and Namibia are in Group A in the first round; Ireland, Zimbabwe, West Indies and Scotland in Group B. The top two teams from each group will go into the two groups in the Super 12s. The top two teams from each of those Super 12 groups will make it to the semi-finals.
G for Gayle: This is the first T20 World Cup without Chris Gayle. And the first without Dwayne Bravo. Also missing for West Indies are Kieron Pollard, Andre Russell and Sunil Narine. That's a massive load of T20 experience and genius they have lost in recent times. Add to it Shimron Hetmyer, who was replaced after he could not make both his original and his rescheduled flights to Australia. It's the first time that West Indies have to qualify for the Super 12s, and there is a realistic chance that the two-time champions might not make it.
H for Hazlewood: Josh Hazlewood is a category unto himself. Previously written off as a Test specialist, he has made a roaring comeback into limited-overs cricket, T20s in particular. He is not the word that Rahul Dravid is too shy to speak in public, but he rarely goes for more than the going rate in the match. He is a banker you can expect to bowl four overs pretty much all the time. In the IPL at least, R Ashwin became that kind of bowler, although in T20Is he might still rely on match-ups. Keshav Maharaj is also getting there.
I for injuries: Jasprit Bumrah, Jonny Bairstow and Jofra Archer are three exciting T20 players out with injuries. South Africa allrounder Dwaine Pretorius too has been withdrawn. Also on the injury watchlist is Shaheen Afridi, who is coming back from a knee injury but has been named in Pakistan's squad.
Thanks to the freak injury to Bairstow, Alex Hales, who last played in a T20 World Cup in 2016, gets to make a comeback. Dinesh Karthik has waited much longer since last appearing in a T20 World Cup, in 2010.
J for jinx: No side has successfully defended its T20 World Cup. No host side has won the title either. Then again, no side has had a chance to defend at home. And Australia are the favourites, with most bases covered. There: we have reverse-jinxed a reverse-jinx.
K for kits: Australia have their indigenous-based jersey, Sri Lanka are drawing attention to climate change, Zimbabwe's yellow top to go with red trousers looks fresh, England are vowing to play with freedom in collarless red, India have managed to find another shade of light blue, and New Zealand again have everybody beat with a mix of grey and black punctuated with white horizontal stripes and the fern.
L for luck: It is not the opposite of skill or strategy or fitness, but the shorter a match of cricket gets, the bigger the role luck plays. Other luck factors are difficult to imagine ahead of the start of the tournament, but not the toss. Matches in the UAE, the hosts of the last World Cup, were heavily loaded in favour of the chasing side, making the toss crucial. The coin is less likely to play a role in Australia. While chasing still remains the way to go in T20 cricket, it is confounding that over the last two years Australia has been the second-worst country for chasing sides, who have won 43% of the time. Still, expect teams to prefer chasing but also expect possible closer contests.
M for MCB: Mini collapse breakers. The discussion around anchors in T20 is quickly moving to those who can arrest a collapse. Dawid Malan and Virat Kohli are examples: they bat high when a wicket falls early, but if the opening partnership has lasted close to or over ten overs, the batting order is reconsidered, to see if bigger hitters need to be promoted. Malan and Kohli are now efficient in this role, a skill Williamson, Bavuma and Steven Smith will aspire to developing.
N for net run rate: It's not uncommon in such tournaments for more than two teams to end up on the same number of points. Then it often comes down to net run rate, though only comes into the reckoning if the teams can't be separated by number of wins. If two teams are tied on net run rates too, the next tiebreaker parameter is the number of wins in matches between them and then the net run rate in those matches. If that still doesn't resolve the tie, the sides higher in the pre-tournament seeding will progress. The pre-tournament seeding order is: England, India, Pakistan, New Zealand, South Africa, Australia, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, West Indies, Scotland, Namibia, Zimbabwe, UAE, Netherlands, Ireland.
O for over rates: Over rates are not overrated anymore. For the first time since 1999, a cricket World Cup will have an in-game over-rate penalty. It means extra work for the third umpire, who will have to pause the clock every time there is a stoppage beyond the control of the fielding side. Any over that begins outside the stipulated time limit of 85 minutes for an innings has to be bowled with at least five fielders inside the ring, as opposed to four at other times. Any wicket after the fifth earns the fielding team one minute of time (there is no such time allowance for wickets one through four). In innings shortened by three or more overs, the fielding side must be ready to bowl the penultimate over inside the proportionately reduced time limit. No such penalties apply to innings of ten overs or shorter.
P for pace: In the 2019 50-over World Cup we had only five men who regularly went over 145kph, which roughly classifies as extreme pace. Archer is not available, but we have Pakistan fast bowlers Haris Rauf, Naseem Shah and Afridi joining Mitchell Starc, Lockie Ferguson, Mark Wood, Kagiso Rabada, and the seriously fast Anrich Nortje.
Extreme pace is one point of difference teams look for, left-arm pace is another. All eight teams that have qualified for the Super 12s already have at least one left-arm quick each.
Q for Qualifiers: Two qualifying tournaments featuring eight teams each took place to decide who the final four teams in the World Cup would be. All four finalists - UAE and Ireland from Qualifier A, and Zimbabwe and Netherlands from Qualifier B - made it to Australia.
R for running-out a non-striker: The practice is being normalised, though some sections still think of it as being underhanded. The MCC has moved its ruling on such run outs from the law on unfair play to the one on run outs, so watch out for more non-strikers being caught outside their crease before the ball is bowled.
S for sixes: Since the start of 2020, a six in Australia has been hit every 22 balls. Only in South Africa has six-hitting been less frequent. The South African pitches probably make it difficult to hit sixes, but in Australia, it's more likely a case of #mcgsobig.
The boundaries for this World Cup can't be bigger than 82.29 metres, but in order to maximise the use of available field of play, they can't be pulled in more than ten metres in from the perimeter fence. The threshold for the shortest boundary has been reduced from 59.43 m to 52.12 m, in all likelihood to accommodate Geelong, which is primarily a footie ground and is quite narrow. The pitch is dropped in at an angle to get around the size limitation, but since the ground hosts six matches in five days, it might need a bit of elbow room when the game is not played on the centre pitch.
T for triple-headers: There are three days in the tournament on which three matches will be played, to go with 14 double headers, but no match will be played simultaneously with another. That makes for another multi-team tournament where the teams playing the last match get the advantage of knowing what to do if their prospects of progressing come down to net run rate (see N). Namibia, UAE, Scotland, Zimbabwe, India and England stand to benefit from this schedule.
U for umpires: Remember, they know the laws better than us and know how to judge and apply them better than us. But they also make mistakes, a lot of which are corrected these days. The same 16 umpires who stood in the last World Cup will stand this time around. With this tournament, Aleem Dar, Marais Erasmus and Rod Tucker will have officiated in six of seven men's T20 World Cups. This will be second World Cup of the year for Langton Rusere of Zimbabwe, after the women's World Cup. The four match referees will be Ranjan Madugalle, David Boon, Chris Broad and Andy Pycroft.
V for venues: If Australia make it to the semi-finals, they will play their match in Sydney no matter where they finish on the table. If they don't, the winners of Group 1 and runners-up of Group 2 will play the first semi-final in Sydney; the winners of Group 2 and runners-up of Group 1 will play in Adelaide.
W for weather: Climate change is upon us, and this World Cup could be affected directly. Victoria this week braced for the "worst weather event" of the year in the form of very heavy untimely rain in what normally would have been spring, the season of sunny days, cool nights, colourful jacarandas and wildflowers. There was flooding in South Melbourne and flash-flood warnings in Victoria the week before the event, and there is already talk of rain-affected games.
X for cross(over): Finally, we can put the confusion to rest. T20 leagues adopted a regulation saying that the incoming batter would be on strike irrespective of whether the batters had crossed during a dismissal (except if the dismissal was off the last ball of the over) before international cricket did on October 1, but now, at long last, the not-out batter will stay at the end they were at even if the two batters cross each other while a catch is taken. It is a crucial little bit of help for bowlers, especially when they are up against lower-order batters.
Y for youngest: Aayan Afzal Khan of UAE, born in Goa, brought up in Sharjah, is 16 years old, comfortably younger than any other player in the tournament. In the Under-19 World Cup earlier this year, Ayaan starred in what was possibly UAE's biggest triumph on the world stage. He scored 93, taking his side from 26 for 4 to a total that was enough to beat West Indies by 82 runs. He is actually a left-arm spinner first and then a batter. UAE went on to win the Plate final. Mohammad Amir, who started the 2009 World Cup at 17 years and 55 days, remains the youngest player in all T20 World Cups.
At 38 years and 230 days on the day Netherlands play their first match, opener Stephan Myburgh will be the oldest in the tournament. Hong Kong's Ryan Campbell played in the 2016 World Cup when he was 44 years and 33 days old.
Z for Zampa: And other wristspinners who are no longer part of XIs by right. Fingerspinners are making a comeback, especially if they can be as good as Maharaj and Ashwin, or if they have match-ups working for them. Apart from Rashid Khan and Adil Rashid, Zampa is the one non-allrounder wristspinner who gets picked no matter what. If the Australian pitches have the bounce they are famous for, this tournament could signal a comeback for his breed.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo