The Dark horses of the 2022 ICC T20 World Cup
Before the start of any ICC event, fans predict the teams which are going to win the tournament and these teams usually end up being India, Australia, and England. However, there are a few teams that are left under the radar. Teams that no one expects them to win, but they exceed everyone's expectations. Teams that are labeled "dark horses" of the tournament.
Let us look at the dark horses in the upcoming T20 World Cup.
Afghanistan have come a long way in international cricket. Cricket has been played in Afghanistan since the mid-19th century, but it was only in the early 21st century that the national team began to enjoy success. The Afghanistan Cricket Board was formed in 1995 and became an affiliate of ICC in 2001 and a member of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) in 2003. After nearly a decade of playing international cricket, on 22 June 2017, full ICC Membership (and therefore Test status) was granted to Afghanistan.
Afghanistan are a powerhouse in T20 cricket. Players like Rashid Khan, Mujeeb-Ur-Rahman, Hazratullah Zazai, and Mohammad Nabi are a few contributors to the rise of Afghanistan in T20 Cricket. Afghanistan had a successful campaign in the 2022 Asia Cup and fans once felt that Afghanistan might reach the finals and even win the Asia Cup!
Afghanistan are placed in group A with cricketing giants like Australia, England, and New Zealand. But fans should not write them off as Afghanistan can upset any team on their day.
2) Sri Lanka
After the retirement of legends like Kumar Sangakkara, T Dilshan, Nuwan Kulasekara, and Muttiah Muralitharan, Sri Lankan Cricket had a decline. They weren't a threat to be feared anymore and were kept on the sidelines. But in the 2021 World Cup, the cricketing world noticed a spark in Sri Lankan cricket with the rise of players like Wanindu Hasaranga, Dhananjaya de Silva, and Dushmantha Chameera.
In 2022 Sri Lanka showed signs of their glory years when they beat Australia at home in an ODI series and shocked the world when they won the 2022 Asia Cup, beating Pakistan in the finals. Unfortunately, Sri Lanka have to play the qualifiers in order to qualify for the World Cup but they have a chance to create history to be the first team to win an ICC event while playing the Qualifiers.
3) South Africa
South Africa have been in a slight decline in international cricket after a disappointing campaign at the 2019 World Cup finishing 7th after the league stage. The South African board quota system and disrespect to players like Faf Du Plessis kept them in a negative light under the eyes of fans.
The 2021 World Cup after Du Plessis's shocking retirement and Quinton De Kock's controversy kept South Africa backed against the wall. However, they had a spirited World Cup campaign, finishing third in the Group stage.
In 2022, they had a successful campaign in T20Is when they drew a series against India in India, beat England at their home, and whitewashed Ireland 2-0.
With players like Quinton De Kock, Rilee Rossouw, David Miller, and Kagiso Rabada in form, South Africa have a chance to go all the way in the World Cup.
Do you agree with our list? Is there any team you felt should have been added to the list? Let us know in the comment section and don't forget to subscribe to Sportco for more content!