T20 cricket has garnered a reputation over the years as being the format for the batsmen. The boundary ropes being peppered ball-after-ball has become the sight that fans love seeing more than anything else with the world of T20, and having a wealth of attacking players capable of smacking quick runs from ball one is so often the difference-maker for those looking to bet on cricket matches.
So, with the 2021 T20 Cricket World Cup looming large on the horizon, here are 5 picks for who you should be looking to back as the tournament’s highest runscorer.
Rohit Sharma (India)
T20 Strike Rate: 138.96
T20 Average: 32.54
Rohit Sharma is one of the world’s most destructive opening batsmen and has built up a reputation as one of the game’s great T20 specialists over the last few years. Since making his T20 debut in September 2007 against England, Rohit Sharma has been a near ever-present at the top of India’s batting lineup and has been a vocal presence under the leadership of both MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli.
As one of the most experienced openers in T20 cricket right now, Rohit Sharma’s right-handed batting style is far more traditional and less fluent than other players at the World Cup. What the five-time IPL winning captain lacks in reverse sweeps and other flamboyant types of shots, he more than makes up for in power and timing, being especially potent on the off side of the field.
Rohit has so far enjoyed an extremely lucrative 2021 with the bat, top-scoring for India in their recent Test series against England, and enjoying another solid campaign with the Mumbai Indians at this year’s IPL.
Jonny Bairstow (England)
T20 Strike Rate: 137.05
T20 Average: 27.87
Much like a number of individuals in the current England T20 squad, Jonny Bairstow has been a divisive figure in terms of what formats he should play and what positions he should play them in.
A fine wicket-keeper and fielder, he has consistently rotated the gloves behind the sticks with Jos Buttler, been deployed as a slip fielder, gone out to the covers, and even found himself in the outfield at times.
In terms of batting, things have been just as murky for Bairstow and England. Beginning as a middle-order finisher, Bairstow has been moved further up the order in more recent times and has been opening the batting for the T20 side since the removal of Alex Hales. Bairstow is now perhaps the most dangerous English white-ball batsman, having a wealth of T20 experience behind him, over 50 T20 appearances for his country, and a remarkable batting strike rate of 137.05.
His form over the year has also been impressive, lighting up the inaugural season of The Hundred with the Welsh Fire and averaging over 40.00 in this year’s IPL.
Babar Azam (Pakistan)
T20 Strike Rate: 130.65
T20 Average: 48.69
Babar Azam is undoubtedly one of the world’s most talented batsmen across all three formats, currently ranked 7th in the world for Tests, 1st for ODIs, and only behind England’s Dawid Malan in the T20 ICC power rankings.
Azam is one of the most fluent batsmen arriving at this year’s T20 World Cup, a modern player with the ability to play the ball to all four corners of the pitch. He opens the batting for the team and can stay embedded at the crease and carry the bat throughout an entire innings, often leading to the kinds of high scores one might associate with an average of 48.69 in the shortest form of the game.
Pakistan might not be amongst the heavy favourites in the cricket betting odds for going all the way at the 2021 T20 World Cup, nevertheless, they are always a side capable of pulling out some outlandish results and shouldn’t be overlooked as a potential darkhorse. In Babar Azam, they have one of the world’s finest players of spin, and the team’s reliance on his abilities at the top of the order should provide ample opportunities to ramp up the runs.
Aaron Finch (Australia)
T20 Strike Rate: 150.24
T20 Average: 37.46
Like with Rohit Sharma, Aaron Finch is a traditional and experienced batsman still plying his trade at the very top level of the shortest format of the game.
Having made his debut in 2011 against England, Finch is another professional that has made a name for himself as a T20 specialist. Unlike a player like Rohit, Finch has never enjoyed the same sorts of heights in red-ball cricket as he has in the ODI side of the game, but his immense power and timing for the ball has made him one of the deadliest T20 openers in the game for nearly a decade now.
A T20 Cricketer of the Decade nominee as recently as December 2020, Aaron Finch will lead Australia at the 2021 T20 World Cup as his country’s captain, as well as its highest-ever run-scorer in the shortest form of the game, with a whopping 2,473 runs scored with a stunning strike-rate of 150.24.
Australia are amongst the favourites for the T20 World Cup in the cricket betting markets, but their reliance on their opening duo at the top of the innings is once again a make or break point for the Baggie Greens.
Virat Kohli (India)
T20 Strike Rate: 139.04
T20 Average: 52.65
Virat Kohli is, without a doubt, an absolute titan in the cricket world. A figure who has been able to transcend into almost god-like status, he is a character that a nation of over a billion people absolutely worship.
Only a handful of players in the entire history of the sport have been able to hold an average of over 50.00 across different formats, and Virat Kohli is set to enter the 2021 T20 World Cup with a 52.65 average behind him. Kohli might not be the biggest six-hitter in the world, but what he lacks in muscle power, he more than makes up for in-game awareness and a silky technique that helps make him one of the most attractive players to watch in the world.
However, what sets Kohli above the rest and makes him such a popular pick in the T20 World Cup betting markets, is the astronomical amount of self-confidence he has in his abilities. How he strides to the crease, takes guard, and commands the respect of the opposition before even hitting a ball is something only he has in the world of cricket, and the biggest stages like the upcoming World Cup is what brings out the best in India’s ‘King Kohli’.
Red Bulls, James Anderson and Christian Pulisic enthusiast. Still unsure how Wes Brown wrangled himself a Champions League medal – Premier League, Cricket and Major League Soccer contributor at SinkorSwimSports.