Virat Kohli and India, can they be stopped? 2016 World T20 cricket predictions

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Below, The National staff make their selections for the upcoming World Twenty20 in India, picking their winners, final four, top bowler and batsman.

Osman Samiuddin


Home advantage, great form, a settled XI and, of course, the manifest destiny that is the career of MS Dhoni. India’s most successful captain made his legend by winning the inaugural World Twenty20. Now as he comes to the end of his career, what better way to cement that legend by winning the tournament that began it all?

Final four – India, South Africa, New Zealand, West Indies

Top batsman – Virat Kohli, India

Can anyone else right be realistically expected to top the run charts? Kohli has nine fifties in his last 14 Twenty20 international innings, and two 40s. He has just five single-figure scores in the 34 innings he has played for India. He averages over 50 in the format, so good that he has turned a redundant metric for the format into a relevant one.

Top bowler – James Faulker, Australia

Very tempted to go with Ravichandran Ashwin but that would mean a sweep of India predictions. Mohammed Amir would be another pick but Pakistan are not likely to go deep enough for him to feature. Setting these two aside, Faulkner might be a handy wildcard prediction. ​

Paul Radley


No prizes for originality here, but India are the best equipped side, the most in form one, and they have home advantage, too. They are in the tougher of the two groups, but that might serve them well, anyway, after they breezed to the final of the Asia Cup without really being tested. It will be a significant feat if anyone beats them.

Final four – India, South Africa, West Indies, New Zealand, West Indies

Top batsman - Virat Kohli, India

Some of the UAE players were sat in a room watching Virat Kohli’s workaday innings of 49 against Pakistan in the Asia Cup. They had to play against this bloke in a few days time, but they were in awe - even just watching the TV. “Those are just normal cricket shots,” they were saying. Straight out of the text book, executed perfectly. There is no obvious weakness. “He is so smart, and so brave at taking on anything,” Aaqib Javed, the UAE coach, says. Unstoppable? Possibly.

Top bowler - Mohammed Amir, Pakistan

This should be a tournament for left-armers. Mustafizur Rahman could make Bangladesh contenders, if he recovers from his sidestrain. Ashish Nehra’s Indian summer could culminate in an Indian success. Pakistan have a couple of good ones, too, in Mohammed Irfan and Mohammed Amir. Its seems written that Amir will be a star in India. Whether his teammates - or the security forces - have read the script, though, is another matter.

Jon Turner

WinnersSouth Africa

Perhaps they enter the tournament undercooked having played limited T20 cricket in recent months compared to their rivals, but this is a South Africa team that triumphed 2-0 against the much-faniced Indians in India in their T20 series in October, before another cleansweep, against England, last month. Packed with explosive batsmen and two of the finest pace bowlers on the planet, the Proteas will take some beating.

Final four – South Africa, England, India, Australia

Top batsman – Rohit Sharma, India

All signs point to Virat Kohli topping this chart given the irrepresible form of the India batsman, but colleague Sharma also enters the tournament in fine form, his dismissal for one in the Asia Cup final aside. Unlike many batsmen entering the World T20, Sharma is in full 20-over mode, with successive half-centuries against Australia in January, and a stunning 55-ball 83 against Bangladesh in the Asia Cup signs of his prowess. Sharma will, at the least, feature near the top of the standings.

Top bowler – Imran Tahir, South Africa

The leading wicket-taker in the 2014 edition with 12, South Africa spinner Tahir is set to play another crucial role in his team’s 2016 campaign. The turn of the Indian wickets will be designed to aid spinners, and Tahir is as well placed as any to take advantage.

Kumar Shyam

WinnersNew Zealand

MS Dhoni is the best finisher. Tempting as it may be, another big winning-hit from the captain on possibly his swansong will be too much of a fairy tale ending for India fans. Even without Brendon McCullum, New Zealand have peaked as a nice bunch and the Kane Williamson-led Trans-tasmanian team are due for an ICC trophy. On the flipside for India, it could prompt Dhoni to prolong his career.

Final four – India, South Africa, New Zealand, England

Top batsman – AB de Villiers, South Africa

More than five months into his new role as an opener with the World Twenty20 in mind specifically, De Villiers has settled down a bit. A batsman of his calibre, who can be devastating in conditions when the ball comes on to the bat, is also a regular at the Indian venues. Not that it has in the past, but he is free from the captaincy burden, too.

Top bowler – Trent Boult, New Zealand

Predicting a bowler on wickets in this format is unfair. Having said that, left-arm fast bowlers who can swing the ball in the air will have an advantage on flat wickets. That still leaves with a tricky situation of choices in plenty. Trent Boult should edge out Mohammed Amir (Pakistan), Reece Topley (England) and Ashish Nehra (India) if New Zealand go all the way.

Thomas Woods


Aaron Finch, Shane Watson, Steve Smith, David Warner, Glenn Maxwell, James Faulkner. That’s the most explosive top six in the tournament and if they can adapt well to the Indian pitches they have enough firepower to blow most teams away. India will of course be tough to beat, but the two teams could be kept apart until the final, if results go to plan.

Final four – India, Australia, South Africa, England

Top batsman – AB de Villiers, South Africa

The South African has every shot in the book and it looks like he is going to open with Hashim Amla in a group that includes an out-of-sorts Sri Lanka, always-in-turmoil West Indies, England’s often generous bowling and probably Afghanistan. He could easily pass 300 runs just in the group stage.

Top bowler – Ravichandran Ashwin, India

India will likely reach at least the semi-finals, Ashwin is their top spinner and MS Dhoni will often be bringing him on at a time when the opposition is looking to let loose. It’s hard not to see him picking up at least three wickets a game.

Jonathan Raymond

WinnersSouth Africa

The Proteas first and foremost have the path of least resistance going for them. While India, Australia, Pakistan, New Zealand and likely Bangladesh (all sides who could conceivably reach the semi-finals) will slug it out in Group 2, South Africa get shambles sides West Indies and Sri Lanka, one of Scotland/Zimbabwe/Afghanistan/Hong Kong and England in their group.

On top of that they have won three of their last four T20Is (against Australia and England) and beat India in India twice in October.

Between the skyrocketing Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn and Imran Tahir, they have maybe the most formidable front-end bowling in the world. Between AB de Villiers, Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis, JP Duminy and David Miller, they might also have the most formidable first five in their batting order in the world.

Their one weakness may be their tailend, but in Twenty20 if that’s where the difference lies, things have already gone far too wrong.

Final four – South Africa, England, India, Bangladesh

Top batsman – Shikhar Dhawan, India

Really, it’s probably Virat Kohli. But he was the top run-scorer at the last World Twenty20 and the best batsman at the just-completed Asia Cup and, well, surely nobody can be that good all the time, right? (...right?)

In lieu of Kohli, a nod to Dhawan, who produced 97 runs in two wins against Sri Lanka last month and another 42 in one of the January wins over Australia. The opener is prone to some dud innings, but let’s venture that his match-best, T20I career-best, 60 in the Asia Cup final against Bangladesh was a sign of things to come.

Top bowler – Kagiso Rabada, South Africa

There will be some truly class young bowling on display – from Bangladesh’s Mustafizur Rahman (20), to India’s Hardik Pandya (22) to England’s Reece Topley (22) to Pakistan’s Mohammed Amir (23) to Rabada (20) – but the guess is that with his side practically destined for the final and pace for days, Rabada is the pick of the litter and the lead wicket-taker.


Amith Passela

WinnersSouth Africa

Apart from winning the ICC Champions Trophy in 1988, South Africa have disappointed on the big stage. Led by Faf du Plessis and with one of the most destructive batsmen in the limited-over format, AB de Villiers, the time has come for the Proteas to prove their mettle in the 2016 World Twenty20 Cup.

Final four – South Africa, Australia, West Indies, India

Top batsman – Glen Maxwell would have been the choice, but he bats too low down the order in the T20 format, so David Warner would be the front-runner. The diminutive left-hander averages just under 30 in 56 innings in the T20 format, but has a strike rate of over 140, which means the runs will start to flow from his bat with more time at the crease.

Top bowler – T20 is not about taking wickets, but how many runs a bowler concedes. Kagizo Rabada fits that bill. He seems to have a cool head on his young shoulders. At 20 years old and with little experience, the South Africa paceman still would be the man who can deliver hen it matters, both for his team and in the competition.