Five and a half years after the iconic line "Carlos Brathwaite, remember the name" was delivered, England are among the favourites to banish the memories of their T20 World Cup heartbreak.

Ian Bishop delivered those famous words from an Eden Gardens commentary box after watching Brathwaite win the 2016 T20 World Cup for West Indies in dramatic fashion.

Needing 19 off the final over for the Windies to be crowned champions for a record second time in Kolkata, Brathwaite launched Ben Stokes for four huge sixes in as many balls to leave England shell-shocked.

It remains to be seen who will make a name for themselves in the 2021 showpiece, which could not be staged in Australia last year due to the coronavirus pandemic and was then moved from India to the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

Stats Perform pick out the contenders and key players ahead of a cricketing extravaganza that will finally get under way when Oman face Papua New Guinea on Sunday.

 

Gayle force to put Wind in champions' sails?

It is 22 years since Chris Gayle made his Windies debut, so there will be no need for a "remember the name" if the left-handed opener cuts loose.

Powerhouse Gayle cut short his latest Indian Premier League spell with Punjab Kings due to bubble fatigue to ensure he would be fresh for the T20 World Cup.

Gayle is the highest run-scorer in T20 history with a staggering 14,276 from 440 innings at an average of 36.79, with 22 centuries and a strike rate of 145.71.

The 42-year-old self-proclaimed 'Universe Boss' has proved to be the man for a big occasion time and again and he could produce more fireworks as a talented Windies squad, which does not include Brathwaite, target a hat-trick.

 

England could be Living it up

England won the last major international white-ball tournament on home soil with a dramatic Super Over-defeat of New Zealand in an incredible 2019 World Cup final at Lord's.

Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer were key to that stunning victory, but they will both be absent as Eoin Morgan attempts to lead England to T20 glory.

Top of the rankings and with the number one T20 batsman in the world in the shape of Dawid Malan, they have every chance of lifting the trophy in Dubai on November 14.

Destructive all-rounder Liam Livingstone can play a huge part, while Tymal Mills will be one to watch over three years after the left-arm paceman's last international appearance.

Kohli desperate to end reign on a high note

Virat Kohli will step down as India captain after the tournament, although the prolific right-hander will continue to play for his country in the shortest format.

Kohli has not won a major ICC trophy as skipper, but this competition represents another huge opportunity to put that unwanted record right.

The highest scorer in international T20 cricket, Kohli could take the World Cup by storm and he will lead a squad packed with firepower both with bat and ball.

Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and Rishabh Pant are just a few of the other key men for India.

 

Australia to put on 'Big Show'?

Preparation for some of the Australia players has been anything but ideal, having faced a strict lockdown in their homeland.

Yet captain Aaron Finch says they will be ready to go when they face South Africa in their first match of the Super 12 stage on October 23 as he steps up his recovery from knee surgery.

David Warner has been out of sorts, but Finch has backed his fellow opener and Australia have no shortage of potential match-winners in their squad.

All-rounder Glenn Maxwell may need to live up to his 'Big Show' nickname if Australia are to lift the trophy.

Black Caps and Pakistan can mount a challenge, outside chance for Proteas

New Zealand celebrated winning the first World Test Championship final this year and they have the armoury for T20 success under the inspirational leadership of Kane Williamson.

Kyle Jamieson and Trent Boult can spearhead a strong attack, while Williamson consistently racks up the runs in all formats and Devon Conway can make his mark.

Much rests on the shoulders of skipper Babar Azam in Pakistan's pursuit of glory, while the likes of Quinton de Kock, Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada will be key for South Africa.

Glenn Maxwell starred with bat and ball and Harshal Patel took a hat-trick as Royal Challengers Bangalore defeated Mumbai Indians by 54 runs in Sunday's Indian Premier League clash.

RCB's captain Virat Kohil, who is set to stand down at the end of the season, laid the foundations with 51 before Srikar Bharat (32) and Maxwell (56) led their side to 165 from their 20 overs.

It could have been far more, however, if it was not for death-bowling pair Jasprit Bumrah (3-36) and Trent Boult (1-17), who combined well to limit Kohli's side to what seemed like a par score before Bangalore's bowlers fought back excellently.

Rohit Sharma (43) and Quinton de Kock (24) looked to have continued the momentum by putting on 56 inside the powerplay, but the latter fell to Yuzendra Chahal (3-11) before the India opener was removed by Maxwell.

Ishan Kishan and Krunal Pandya quickly followed to the same spinning pair, leaving Mumbai 93-4 with seven overs to go.

Patel inflicted further misery as he ran through the middle and lower-order batters, removing Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya and Rahul Chahar to secure a memorable hat-trick as Mumbai were bowled out for just 111 with 11 balls remaining.

Brilliant Bumrah and Boult

Bumrah removed two of Bangalore's dangermen in Maxwell and AB de Villiers in the space of two balls to kick-start a miserly death-bowling spell, which ultimately proved in vain.

The India quick would eventually finish with an economy of nine as he managed dot balls with a third of his deliveries, while Boult produced four more dots and finished impressively with an economy of just over four.

King Kohli's captaincy decisions pay off

Kohli seemed to get every decision right. Mohammed Siraj ran straight to Kohli following his dismissal of Suryakumar Yadav, suggesting a plan between the pair had come off before another bowling change paid off as well.

Dan Christian, despite his first over going for 15, was brought back by Kohli and his following set of six went for just a run a ball as every decision Kohli made seemed to turn to gold, with RCB limiting Mumbai throughout the middle overs to coast to a comfortable win.

Royal Challengers Bangalore continued their unbeaten start to the Indian Premier League as AB de Villiers and Glenn Maxwell powered them to victory over Kolkata Knight Riders.

The sole team yet to taste defeat in this season's competition, RCB surged to 204-4 thanks to an exceptional innings from Maxwell (78) and De Villiers' unbeaten 76.

Their respective displays contributed to three successive partnerships of over 50 runs to help RCB emphatically recover from a shaky start and post an imposing total.

KKR never found the necessary momentum to threaten that target despite a late salvo from Andre Russell (31) as RCB eased to a 38-run win.

Varun Chakravarthy removed both Virat Kohli (5) and Rajat Patidar (1) in the second over to reduce RCB to 9-2.

However, Maxwell and Devdutt Padikkal constructed a stand of 86 for the third wicket, laying the platform for De Villiers to hit the accelerator upon his arrival at the crease.

Maxwell and De Villiers combined for 53 off just 37 deliveries and, after the Australian was bounced out by compatriot Pat Cummins, the South African took command as he contributed 43 runs to a 20-ball, 56-run stand with Kyle Jamieson.

KKR saw a promising start to their reply undone as they slumped from 57-1 to 114-5 when skipper Eoin Morgan sliced Harshal Patel to opposing captain Kohli.

Russell gave them hope of a remarkable turnaround in the 17th over, in which he struck Yuzvendra Chahal for a six and three fours.

He then hit Jamieson for a maximum in the next over but that preceded the exits of Shakib Al Hasan and Cummins at the hands of the New Zealand international.

And the contest was settled by some superb death bowling from Mohammed Siraj in the penultimate over, with Russell then playing Harshal onto his stumps as a seemingly exciting finale gave way to a meek end.

Devastating De Villiers

Having been dismissed for one in RCB's last game with Sunrisers Hyderabad, De Villiers was back to his best with a 34-ball 76. His strike rate of 223.52 is the second-highest of any innings this season where the batsman has scored at least 50, behind Deepak Hooda's 28-ball 64 (228.57) for Punjab Kings against Rajasthan Royals.

Siraj stems the tide

Russell's surge was stopped firmly in its tracks by Siraj, who effectively clinched victory for RCB as his final over went for just one run, producing five successive dot balls as a frustrated Russell kept the strike while unable to find the boundary.

Royal Challengers Bangalore made it two wins from two in the Indian Premier League as Sunrisers Hyderabad's miserable record at M. A. Chidambaram Stadium continued on Wednesday.

Glenn Maxwell hit his first half-century in the tournament since 2016 as the Royal Challengers – who had beaten defending champions Mumbai Indians in their opening fixture – posted 149-8 after being put into bat.

Hyderabad appeared on course to prevail in pursuit of their target when they reached 96-1, only for the departure of captain David Warner – caught in the deep for 54 - to trigger a dramatic collapse.

Shahbaz Ahmed claimed three wickets in an over, including Jonny Bairstow and Manish Pandey with back-to-back deliveries, to completely change the complexion of a run chase that fell apart.

While Rashid Khan made 17 in a hurry the Sunrisers still finished up six runs short on 143-9, meaning they have still yet to win a completed fixture at the venue in Chennai.

Bangalore's innings had been similar too, captain Virat Kohli making 33 before his departure to Jason Holder started a mid-innings wobble, his team slipping from 91-2 to 109-6.

However, Maxwell eventually mastered the tough batting conditions, producing a late onslaught as 39 runs came from the final three overs. He was dismissed off the last delivery of the innings for 59, caught behind to give Holder final figures of 3-30.

Taking it to the Max

Maxwell endured a lean 2020 IPL campaign in the United Arab Emirates, averaging 15.42 for Kings XI Punjab as he made only 108 runs. Having been released ahead of the auction, Bangalore already appear to be getting plenty for their money.

The Australian has now scored 98 runs in his two innings for the Royal Challengers, who sit on top of the table in the embryonic stages of the season.

Chennai trouble for chasing teams

After Kolkata Knight Riders had faltered in pursuit of a 153-run target to lose narrowly against Mumbai at the ground 24 hours earlier, Sunrisers let the same situation happen when seemingly well on top.

Shahbaz (3-7) bowled only two overs, yet the second from the left-arm spinner saw Bairstow, Pandey - who struggled to up the pace as he made 38 from 39 balls - and Abdul Samad all caught off top-edged attempts to go big to the leg side.

Harshal Patel hit the winning run off the last ball after claiming a five-wicket haul as Royal Challengers Bangalore beat Mumbai Indians in a thrilling first game of the Indian Premier League.

Defending champions Mumbai collapsed from 94-1 after 11 overs to 159-9 after being put in by Virat Kohli, all-rounder Harshal taking 5-27 in Chennai on Friday and Chris Lynn top-scoring with 49.

Four wickets fell in the final over of the holders' innings at M.A. Chidambaram Stadium, with Harshal claiming his maiden five-wicket T20 haul in the first match of his second spell with RCB following his Delhi Capitals exit.

Bangalore were cruising with Kohli (33) and new signing Glenn Maxwell (39) at the crease, but it was game on when they were 122-6 in the 17th over after losing four wickets for 24 runs.

AB de Villiers looked set to see them home, but RCB were left needing two off as many balls for victory when the maverick wicketkeeper-batsman was run out for 48.

Harshal held his nerve to take a single off the final delivery from IPL debutant Marco Jansen (2-28), sealing a dramatic two-wicket win for big-spending RCB.

Five-time champions Mumbai, bidding to become the first team to win the tournament three times in a row, were ultimately made to pay for scoring only 25 runs in the last four overs of their innings.

Late Harshal burst rocks Mumbai

The holders appeared set to post a challenging total with Indians debutant Lynn and Suryakumar Yadav at the crease after Rohit Sharma was run out for 19, but they capitulated in spectacular fashion.

Powerful new recruit Lynn struck three sixes as the Australian and Suryakumar (31) put on 70 for the second wicket before they were removed by Washington Sundar and big-money signing Kyle Jamieson (1-27) respectively.

Paceman Harshal then took centre stage, trapping Ishan Kishan lbw before dismissing Krunal Pandya, Kieron Pollard and Jansen in an incredible final over that ended with Rahul Chahar being run out. 

 

De Villiers delivers, Harshal the hero

Maxwell put on a show along with Kohli after Sundar and Rajat Patidar fell cheaply, clearing the rope twice.

The Australia all-rounder was on his way when he ramped Jansen to Lynn at short fine leg and the South African paceman struck for a second time in the 15th over to send Shahbaz Ahmed packing.

De Villiers made it advantage RCB as 15 runs came off the 18th over from Trent Boult and although he was run out by Krunal after hitting a couple of sixes in a brilliant 27-ball knock, Harshal ensured his innings was not in vain.

Australia will be counting on the stars of the Big Bash to step up when they attempt to stop the rot in a five-match Twenty20 International series against in-form New Zealand.

Aaron Finch's side go into the first match of the series at Hagley Oval on Monday looking to avoid a third consecutive series defeat following losses to England and India.

The Black Caps, on the other hand, have won their last two against West Indies and Pakistan as they build momentum ahead of the T20 World Cup, which starts in October.

Australia will be without the likes of Steve Smith, David Warner and Mitchell Starc, with 19-year-old spinner Tanveer Sangha set to make his debut and Jhye Richardson back in the squad.

Richardson, Glenn Maxwell and New Zealand paceman Kyle Jamieson should have a spring in their step after landing lucrative Indian Premier League deals this week.

Paceman Richardson has not played a T20 for his country for two years, but gets the chance to put shoulder injury woes behind him after an impressive Big Bash campaign.

There were doubts over Martin Guptill's fitness for the opening game in Christchurch, with the promising Finn Allen on standby, but the dangerous New Zealand opener is expected to be available.

Jhye on a high after striking it rich

Richardson was the leading wicket-taker in the Big Bash with 29 for Perth Scorchers, prompting Punjab Kings to fork out 14 crore (£1.4m) for his services.

He said after going for such big money in Thursday's auction: "It felt like I wasn't watching it. After everything that's happened you are obviously really excited then you hit this massive wall, it was pretty late, I had all this emotion, all the adrenaline, a load of messages coming through on my phone and then completely crashed and felt exhausted.

"I feel like I played a game, mentally exhausted myself. Still sinking in, that's for sure. I think it's an amazing result. It's life-changing to be honest.

Maxwell went to Royal Challengers Bangalore for the same fee, while Riley Meredith will face Australia's trans-Tasman rivals on the back of also being picked up by Punjab. Jamieson will be out to show why RCB paid 14.25cr (£1.5m) to land him.

 

Guptill backed to show class is permanent

Guptill has been struggling with a hamstring injury, but the 34-year-old appears to be ready to start the series.

Although Guptill is comfortably New Zealand's leading run scorer in the shortest format, he is in a poor run of form, but head coach Gary Stead has backed the explosive right-hander to come good.

"Gups is a class player and has been a class player for a long time. Form and what people do while in form can change perceptions so quickly," said Stead.

"But we have a number of people who are capable of playing international cricket and that's exciting for us."

 

Key series facts

- This will be the sixth meeting between the Black Caps and Australia in New Zealand in T20Is and their first at Hagley Oval. New Zealand have won only once against Australia in this format on home soil.

- New Zealand have lost only one of their last five completed T20Is at home (W4). Their only previous match at Hagley Oval ended in a seven-wicket loss to England (November 2019).

- Australia have the highest catching success rate of any Test-playing nation in the shortest format since the start of last year (91.8 per cent); New Zealand have taken 75 per cent of their catching opportunities in that time.

- Sangha took 21 wickets at an average of 18.3 in the recent Big Bash, the most by a teenager in a single edition of the competition.

- Guptill has scored 217 runs in T20 matches between the trans-Tasman rivals. He is just 12 runs shy of eclipsing Brendon McCullum’s record as the highest run-scorer in this fixture (228).

Chris Morris became the most expensive signing in the history of the Indian Premier League as franchises filled out their rosters during Thursday's auction in Chennai. 

Morris was eventually signed by Rajasthan Royals - who he played for in 2015 - following a bidding war that saw four teams battling it out to secure the services of the South African all-rounder. 

His final price finished up at 16.25crore, which equates to around £1.6million, putting him ahead of Yuvraj Singh (16cr) on the list of biggest auction purchases in the global Twenty20 tournament.

"I'm super-stoked, super-humbled to be joining Rajasthan again," Morris said in a video message posted by his new team on Twitter.

"I had an unbelievably good time, and a good season, one of the better times in my cricket career, with Rajasthan in 2015, so I'm unbelievably happy, unbelievably excited.

"We have a very good squad, so joining up with Rajasthan is a very cool experience."

Royal Challengers Bangalore were big spenders in their bid to secure a maiden title this year, getting New Zealand paceman Kyle Jamieson for 14.25cr (£1.5m) having already signed Australia all-rounder Glenn Maxwell (14cr - £1.4m) for a fraction less than that earlier in proceedings. 

Jhye Richardson also collected a huge deal, snapped up for the same price as compatriot Maxwell by Punjab Kings, who added another Australian paceman to their roster in Riley Meredith, who has yet to play international cricket in any format. 

Having been released by Rajasthan Royals at the start of this year, Steve Smith is now a member of the Delhi Capitals, along with India fast bowler Umesh Yadav and Englishman Sam Billings. 

Moeen Ali saw a considerable rise from his base price, the England all-rounder eventually going for a final sum of £700,000 to Chennai Super Kings. 

While a premium was paid for pace bowling during the auction, the market was a little less frantic for batsmen. 

Dawid Malan – who sits top of the International Cricket Council's batting rankings in the shortest format – will play for Punjab Kings, but English openers Alex Hales and Jason Roy both went unsold. 

Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan is heading back to the Kolkata Knight Riders for 3.2crore (£315,000), while Krishnappa Gowtham went for 9.25crore (£900,000) to the Super Kings, making him the most expensive uncapped India player ever.

As for Mumbai Indians, the main additions by the two-time defending champions came to their bowling attack as they added Adam Milne, Nathan Coulter-Nile and leg-spinner Piyush Chawla. 

The 14th edition of the IPL is scheduled to begin during April and run into May. Last year's delayed tournament was staged in the United Arab Emirates due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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