Virat Kohli is ready to put in the "hard yards" with the bat as he returns to India duty for the series-deciding second Test against New Zealand.

Captain Kohli elected to sit out the T20I series and the first Test against the Black Caps and has been working with former India batting coach Sanjay Bangar during his time away from the team.

He has made 41 centuries across all formats as captain of India, which puts him level with Ricky Ponting for the most while serving as an international skipper, and Kohli declared he feels ready to stay at the crease for a long time in Mumbai. Kohli's last international century came over two years ago, in November 2019 against Bangladesh.

Ahead of Friday's start to the match, rain impeded the teams and meant practice sessions at the Wankhede Stadium could not go ahead as planned on the eve of the Test.

Both sides were toying with selection options as a result of the weather, and it remained to be seen who would make way for Kohli's return, with Ajinkya Rahane perhaps the batter most vulnerable despite captaining India in the first Test.

Kohli said: "I really enjoy playing at the Wankhede. That's a ground that I've always had happy memories in. More than that, I think it's the impact you leave on the team that matters to me more. That was the focus in the past and that's precisely my focus every time I take the field.

"If the situation demands me to bat for longer periods and get the amount of runs that puts the team in a pole position or a dominant position or gets the team out of trouble, I take a lot of pride in doing that.

"Not all the time will you have phases where you bat the same way, and you have to understand and accept that in a long career span, so it's all about putting in the hard yards, working hard on your game, staying very balanced, staying in a space where you understand you are progressing in the right direction, and you walk on the field knowing you're prepared fully and you're ready to give your best, and after that it's all about execution.

"You have to be professional and understand when there is lack of execution or there is a lack of good decision-making. That's always been my point of analysis on my personal game, whether I've committed a mistake, what the situation was like, how can I improve, how can I get better, and that is something I will continue to strive to do and try to put in the performances that help the team in any way that I can."

It will be Kohli's first match under new coach Rahul Dravid, and follows on from the drawn opening Test in Kanpur that saw New Zealand's 10th-wicket pairing of Rachin Ravindra and Ajaz Patel defy India, clinging on for the draw late on the fifth day.


Spin or extra speed? The choice facing both teams

With plenty of moisture in the air, and the suspicion the Mumbai pitch will serve the quicks well, there could well be changes to the bowling line-ups on both teams. India would consider bringing in Mohammed Siraj, while New Zealand have Neil Wagner waiting to come in, with William Somerville potentially vulnerable.

India chasing hat-trick of Wankhede wins

The hosts last played a Test at this ground in 2016, when Kohli made a double century in an innings win over England. They also won at the ground in the match before that, also by an innings but this time against West Indies. Victory by any means would be welcomed by India this time, given this is the second and last match in the series. They have won four of nine Tests at the ground since 2000, with South Africa, Australia and England (twice) having also enjoyed victories at the Wankhede.

Virat Kohli hailed AB de Villiers as "the best player of our times" after the South Africa legend announced his retirement on Friday.

De Villers called time on his illustrious career at the age of 37 after establishing himself as one of the best players in the world.

A mercurial batsman, brilliant fielder and fine wicketkeeper when called upon to don the gloves, De Villers made 114 Test appearances, playing in 228 ODIs and featured in 78 T20Is.

De Villiers scored an astonishing 20,014 runs at international level and made 47 centuries to go down as a Proteas great.

He was also outstanding for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League and Kohli paid a glowing tribute to his former team-mate.

The India Test and ODI captain tweeted: "To the best player of our times and the most inspirational person I've met, you can be very proud of what you've done and what you've given to RCB my brother. Our bond is beyond the game and will always be.

"This hurts my heart but I know you've made the best decision for yourself and your family like you've always done. I love you."

Former Proteas captain Faf du Plessis tweeted: "Well done @ABdeVilliers17 on a special career. I've been extremely lucky to be on the same cricket field as you.

"The game will not be the same without you. The greatest player I have played with."

Cricket South Africa posted: "Thank you for the memories, the records broken and the entertainment @ABdeVilliers17. We salute your contribution to the game and wish you everything of the best for the future."

RCB expressed their gratitude to De Villiers for the impact he made at the IPL franchise. 

"End of an era! There's nobody like you, AB. We'll miss you dearly at RCB. For all that you've done and given to the team, to the fans, and to cricket lovers in general, #ThankYouAB. Happy retirement, legend!" RCB posted.

Rohit Sharma has been named captain for India's upcoming T20I series against New Zealand.

The three-match home series, which begins on November 17, will be the first since Virat Kohli's decision to step down after the T20 World Cup.

Kohli, who will stay on as ODI and Test captain, led India in the short format for the final time on Monday, as the pre-tournament favourites bowed out of the World Cup with victory over Namibia.

The 33-year-old captained his nation in 50 T20Is – winning 30 and losing 16 – while scoring 1,570 runs, including 114 boundaries and 59 sixes.

 

Kohli is one of several notable absentees from the squad to face the Black Caps next week along with Jasprit Bumrah, Ravindra Jadeja and Mohammed Shami.

Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer, Venkatesh Iyer, Harshal Patel and Avesh Khan are among the players to come into the squad.

Rohit will take over as skipper – with KL Rahul as his deputy – although it is yet to be confirmed whether he will be given the role on a permanent basis.

Following his knock of 56 against Namibia, Rohit became one of only three players – along with Kohli – to reach 3,000 T20I runs, while he has averaged 32.66 in 108 innings.

 

India T20I squad: Rohit Sharma (captain), KL Rahul, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Ishan Kishan, Venkatesh Iyer, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Avesh Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Harshal Patel, Mohammed Siraj.

Virat Kohli insists he still has full motivation to continue playing for India in the T20 format, after his tenure as captaincy came to an end. 

India beat Namibia by nine wickets on Monday, in what was Kohli's last match as skipper in the shortest format of the game.

Their hopes of reaching the T20 World Cup semi-finals had already been ended on Sunday, when New Zealand beat Afghanistan to secure the last available place in the next round.

Kohli, who turned 33 last week, announced before the tournament that he would be stepping down from leading India in T20Is, though he will stay on as ODI and Test captain. 

While still eager to play a vital role for the team in T20Is, Kohli believes he has made the right decision for his career.

"Relief, firstly! It's been an honour, but things have to be kept in the right perspective and I thought that this was the right time for me to manage my workload," Kohli said at the post-match presentation.

"Six, seven years of intense cricket, every time you take the field, it takes a lot out of you. It's been amazing, so much fun, a great bunch of guys who played together for so long, we really performed well as a team.

"I know we haven't gone further in this tournament but we have played some really good cricket as a team. It's something we've all enjoyed, so many years playing together, it's absolutely made my job much easier.

"The way we played the last three games, it's a game of margins in T20 cricket. We were not brave enough in the first two games, we suffered because of that and we knew that it was going to be complicated for us to go through."

Asked if he would still retain the same hunger as he has shown as captain, Kohli replied: "For me if I can't do that, I will not play this game anymore.

"That's been my goal from day one, even when I wasn't captain, I was always keen to learn, keen to know where the game is going.

"I'm always going to be around with my point of view and anything I can do for the team, I'm not a guy who's just going to stand around and do nothing, I'll always want to give 120 per cent on the field.

With India chasing a target of 133, Kohli chose not to come out and bat after Rohit Sharma - who surpassed 3,000 runs in T20Is - was dismissed for 56, instead sending out Suryakumar Yadav, whose 25 off 19 deliveries paved the way for the excellent KL Rahul (54) to seal victory.

"Surya didn't get too much game time in this World Cup, it's a T20 World Cup at the end of the day, I thought it would be a nice memory for him to take back as well," Kohli explained.

 

Kohli's T20 tenure in numbers

Kohli has been captain of India in all formats since 2017, having taken over the limited-overs responsibilities from the great MS Dhoni.

In total, he won 30 of his 50 T20Is as skipper (60 per cent), suffering 16 defeats, while two games were tied and two matches did not finish.

India's highest score of 240-3 during his spell as captain came against the West Indies at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium in December 2019, while a low point for Kohli's team came earlier in this World Cup, when they were limited to 110-7 by New Zealand.

Pakistan, led by the supreme Babar Azam, thrashed India by 10 wickets in the Super 12s opener, and they are the only nation Kohli failed to beat in the format while captain.

Indeed, Kohli is the only Indian captain to lose a World Cup game in any format against Pakistan.

Kohli's won seven games against England, out of 11 meetings, while he also managed an impressive four wins against Australia. 

Across his 11 innings against Eoin Morgan's side, he scored 393 runs. Incredibly, he has not yet managed to score a century in the format, with his 94 not out against West Indies in 2019 his highest tally.

As T20 captain, Kohli has scored 1,570 runs from 46 innings, averaging 47.6 at a strike rate of 141. He surpassed 50 on 13 occasions, striking 114 boundaries and 59 sixes.

Virat Kohli's tenure as India captain in the shortest format came to an end with a nine-wicket victory over Namibia as his team bowed out of the T20 World Cup.

India's slim hopes of securing a semi-final place were dashed on Sunday when New Zealand beat Afghanistan, meaning Monday's match in Dubai, the final game of the Super 12s stage, was Kohli's last as T20 skipper.

Kohli, who turned 33 last week, is stepping down from leading India in T20Is, though he will stay on as ODI and Test captain. Coach Ravi Shastri is also leaving his role.

Having won the toss and elected to field first, Kohli decided not to come out ahead of Suryakumar Yadav after Rohit Sharma was caught behind on 56, with the opener having surpassed 3,000 runs in T20Is as India chased down a target of 133.

It was a decent effort from tournament debutants Namibia, who batted for their 20 allotted overs and lost eight wickets, with Stephan Baard (21) and David Wiese (26) the pick of their batsmen.

Ravindra Jadeja (3-16) led India's bowling attack – Ravichandran Ashwin (3-20) and Jasprit Bumrah (2-19) providing support – though Mohammed Shami (0-39) was unusually vulnerable.

KL Rahul (54) and Rohit swiftly set about knocking into Namibia's total, however, with the latter joining Kohli as just one of three players to reach 3,000 T20I runs when he moved onto 18.

Rohit's dismissal might have meant Kohli got in for a final flourish with the bat as skipper, but it was Suryakumar who instead came to the crease, scoring 25 off 19 balls before the excellent Rahul sealed victory with a wonderful shot down the ground.

 

Fifty and out for Kohli, a new era for India

"It's been an honour for me. I was given the opportunity and I've tried to do my best. It's time for me to try and create some space and prioritise things and move forward," said Kohli at the toss.

Monday's match was his 50th T20I as captain. India have won 30 of those and lost 16. The highest total India scored under his leadership was 240-3 against the West Indies in 2019, while ahead of the Namibia game, they had averaged 164 runs across 47 innings.

History for Rohit

It had been coming, but Rohit finally joined the exclusive 3,000-run club in T20Is. Across 108 innings, he has averaged 32.66, struck four centuries and 24 half-centuries.

Rohit has been mooted as Kohli's potential successor as captain. There cannot be too many better candidates.

Virat Kohli lauded India's performance in an eight-wicket win over Scotland, though they will need luck on their side to reach the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup.

India skittled Scotland for 85 in Dubai before KL Rahul (50) and Rohit Sharma (30) set them well on their way to a resounding, but crucial, victory.

Kohli, playing on his 33rd birthday, nosed two singles, with Suryakumar Yadav hitting the winning six as India sealed the triumph in 6.3 overs.

India moved up to third in Group 2 and have a superior net run rate when compared to second-placed New Zealand, who are two points to the good.

It means India need a favour from Afghanistan, who take on New Zealand in their last outing, while also having to get the job done themselves against Namibia.

While Kohli regrets the mistakes that have put India in such a perilous position – his side having lost to Pakistan and New Zealand in their opening two games – he was thrilled with the display on Friday.

"A dominating performance. It was something we were striving to do again," he said at the post-match presentation.

"I don't want to say too much about today because we know how we can play. These little things in T20 cricket... the toss, conditions matter, and we're glad to be back in our mojo. We spoke about [limiting Scotland to] 100, 120 maximum, but we restricted them to a total that allowed us to leapfrog everyone else.

"We spoke about finishing in the eight to 10 over bracket. You don't want to go in with six-and-a-half or a seven-and-a-half run [per over] mark because then you're doing too much.

"If you look at our practice games as well, the guys have been batting like that. Two overs of cricket like that [earlier in the competition] and the momentum of the tournament could have been completely different."

Kohli's counterpart Kyle Coetzer reflected on his side having learned a stern lesson.

"A tough day in the office, we were outclassed in every department," the Scotland captain said.

"But the only way we'll improve is going through games like that and seeing it head on."

While India are battling for the last four, Scotland remain winless and sit bottom of Group 2, with Pakistan to come in their final game.

India kept their hopes of progressing to the T20 World Cup semi-finals alive with an eight-wicket win over Scotland in Dubai.

Virat Kohli turned 33 on Friday, and his team handed the captain a birthday gift with a brilliant display against the minnows.

With New Zealand having beaten Namibia to move onto six points in Group 2, India needed a big win to maintain their slim semi-final hopes.

Kohli won the toss and chose to field, and though George Munsey – who hit a six off the first over – started brightly, his knock of 24 from 19 deliveries was the highest score any Scotland batsman managed.

Scotland were skittled out for just 85, Mohammed Shami finishing with figures of 3-15, identical to those of Ravindra Jadeja, while Jasprit Bumrah took 2-10. Shami began the 17th over with wickets from the first three balls, including a run out.

The bowling performance paved the way for a swift India success, led by the magnificent KL Rahul, who hit 50 from 19 balls before looping a shot down the ground to Calum MacLeod from Mark Watt's enticing delivery.

Rahul's fellow opener Rohit Sharma – aiming to become just the third player to reach 3,000 T20I runs – reached 30 before succumbing lbw to Brad Wheal.

Kohli ticked over two singles before a huge six from Suryakumar Yadav sealed India's success after just 6.3 overs.

Rahul and Rohit sparkle

India's openers raced to the fastest team 50 in the tournament, taking just 23 balls to reach that mark.

Rohit is now just 18 runs short of joining team-mate Kohli and New Zealand's Martin Guptill in the 3,000-runs club, though he may well only have one more shot at that this tournament. His partner Rahul dazzled, hitting three sixes and a further six boundaries in a sensational show of quality.

India need a New Zealand slip-up

There is real jeopardy in Group 2, and a big team will miss out on going any further. Pakistan top the standings with eight points from their four games, so are assured of their place in the semi-finals.

India, who round off their Super 12 campaign against Namibia, are now on four points, two behind New Zealand, but they have a much better run rate of 1.62 compared to 1.28 for the Black Caps, who face Afghanistan (another side on fourth points) in their last game. It is all to play for.

Virat Kohli accused his India team-mates of a lack of courage after defeat to New Zealand left them on the brink of elimination from the T20 World Cup.

India went down by eight wickets against the Black Caps on Sunday as they produced another meek display following the 10-wicket thrashing by Pakistan in their opening game.

The pre-tournament favourites posted a modest 110-7 from their 20 overs and the Kiwis knocked it off with 33 balls to spare at the Dubai International Stadium.

Kohli's side now need to beat Afghanistan, Scotland and Namibia, and hope results elsewhere go their way to become one of the two teams in their group to progress to the semi-finals.

"I don't think we were brave enough with bat or ball," India captain Kohli said in the post-match presentation.

"With the ball, I mean, obviously we didn't have much to play with, but we were just not brave enough with our body language when we entered the field. 

"New Zealand had better intensity, better body language, and they created pressure on us from the first over onwards, really, and continued that through the innings.

"Every time we felt like we wanted to take a chance [while batting], we lost a wicket. That happens in T20 cricket, but that's most probably or most often the result of that little bit of hesitation with the bat, when you feel like should you go for the shot or not."

New Zealand recorded a third straight victory over India at T20 World Cups, having previously prevailed when they met in 2007 and 2016, as the Men in Blue lost successive T20Is outside India for the first time.

Kohli claimed India's players have been affected by the burden of expectation on them from millions of fans back home and failed to cope with the pressure that brings.

"When you play for the Indian cricket team, you obviously have a lot of expectations, everyone knows that – not only from the fans but from the players themselves," he explained.

"Wherever we play, we are watched, people come to the stadiums to support us, so there's always going to be more with our games, that's always been the case. 

"We've embraced it over the years, and everyone who plays for the Indian team obviously has to embrace that as well, and learn how to cope with it.

"And when you cope with that as a team, you tend to overcome that pressure and those tough situations. And we haven't, in these two games, and that's why we haven't won.

"There's only one way to play T20 cricket – you have to be optimistic, you have to be positive, take calculated risks, and that's what this format is all about.

"Just because you're the Indian cricket team and there's expectations, doesn't mean that you start playing the format differently."

Virat Kohli will not press the panic button after Pakistan defeated his India side in a 10-wicket thumping at the T20 World Cup.

India had lost just one of their last eight T20I meetings with Pakistan while they had collected five successive T20 World Cup wins but Azam's side prevailed in their Super 12 Group 2 opener.

Kohli's 57 – his 29th half-century in the format in which he is the leading run scorer in history (3,216) – guided India to 151-7.

However, India had lost all eight games defending 160 or lower and that trend continued Sunday.

Babar Azam and Mohammed Rizwan combined for a 152-run opening stand, the highest opening partnership against India and the second-highest in the history of the competition, to see Pakistan to a maiden victory over India in the competition.

Yet despite conceding Pakistan outclassed his side, Kohli insisted India would not begin to worry in the early stages of the tournament.

"We did not execute the things that we wanted to but credit is certainly due – they outplayed us today," Kohli said at the post-match presentation.

"When you lose three early it's very difficult to come back, especially when you know the dew is coming. They were very professional with the bat as well. 

"Hitting through the line was not as easy in the first half as it seemed in the Pakistan innings, so when you know the conditions can change, you need 10-20 extra runs. 

"But some quality bowling from Pakistan didn't let us get off the blocks. We're certainly not a team that presses the panic button, it's the start of the tournament, not the end."

Meanwhile, Azam – who is the leading scorer in the last three years of T20I cricket with 1,241 runs – credited Shaheen Afridi's excellent opening bowling spell in which he managed 3-31, while also praising his opening partner Rizwan.

"We executed our plans well and the early wickets were very helpful," Azam said after Kohli had spoken. 

"Shaheen's wickets gave us a lot of confidence and the spinners dominated as well. The plan with Rizwan is always to keep it simple. We tried to get deep in the crease and from about the 8th over the dew came in and the ball came on nicely. 

"This is just the start, we have the confidence to build on now. It will remain match by match for us. 

"The pressure on us wasn't that much - we weren't thinking of the record against India at all. I only wanted to back all our players who've been preparing well. 

"When you play tournaments before a big World Cup, it helps and our players came in with a lot of confidence because of that."

Babar Azam and Mohammed Rizwan both scored half-centuries as Pakistan recorded their first ever T20 World Cup win over India with a 10-wicket triumph.

India had lost just one of their last eight T20I meetings with Pakistan while they had collected five successive T20 World Cup wins – the joint longest streak in the competition.

But Shaheen Afridi (3-31) gave his country early hope as he struck twice to remove both Rohit Sharma for a first-ball duck and KL Rahul (three), with Hasan Ali (2-44) dismissing Suryakumar Yadav (11) to leave India 36-3 at the end of the powerplay.

However, captain Virat Kohli (57) – who has scored the most runs in men's T20I history (3,216) - responded emphatically as he registered his 29th half-century in the format to lift his side to 151-7 at the end of their 20-over allocation.

Kohli's side had lost all eight T20Is in which they posted a first-innings total under 160 since 2018 and that trend looked set to continue as Azam (68 not out) and Rizwan (79 not out) enjoyed a century opening stand inside 13 overs.

The openers motored on as they managed the highest opening partnership ever against India, Azam taking 40 balls to reach his half-century and Rizwan taking one delivery more before the former sealed victory with 13 balls to spare in their first Super 12 Group 2 game.

India's openers struggle

Rohit, who has hit the second-most sixes in the history of the competition (133), offered India experience at the top of the order but his tournament got off to the worst start as he was removed lbw for a golden duck.

His opening partner, Rahul, did not last much longer as the Punjab Kings captain disappointed following warm-up scores of 51 and 39 after his blistering 98 not out in his final IPL 2021 game.

Magical Azam continues remarkable form

In the last three years, no one has scored more T20I runs than Azam's 1,241. Kohli is second on the list, with 1,050.

The Pakistan leader produced a captain's knock to see his side over the line in a famous victory, perfectly kick-starting their World Cup campaign as he smashed six fours and two maximums for his 68.

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.

After a COVID-19 enforced postponement, the T20 World Cup will finally get underway on Sunday.

Initially scheduled to take place in Australia last year, and then India following the postponement, the competition will now take place in the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

A first round featuring eight teams, including debutants Namibia and Papua New Guinea as well as 2014 champions Sri Lanka (who have reached three T20 World Cup finals, more than any other side), gets the tournament up and running, with four teams progressing into the Super 12 stage.

The West Indies are aiming to defend their title, having edged out England in the 2016 edition. Eoin Morgan's team, who have the world's top T20 batsman in their ranks, are sure to be one of the main challengers for the Windies' crown.

Virat Kohli's India are among the favourites, while Pakistan will be hoping captain Babar Azam delivers. Australia and New Zealand (the most economic side when it came to bowling in 2016) cannot be discounted either, with South Africa also improving in recent years.

It promises to be a thrilling tournament and, with the help of Opta, Stats Perform looks at some of the key data points heading into the tournament.

 

Gayle on the record trail

The Windies have won two of the last three T20 World Cups, triumphing in 2016 and 2012 either side of Sri Lanka's success, and they remain the only team to have won the tournament on multiple occasions. Key to their sustained success has been Chris Gayle, who at 42, is still the face of the sport in the Caribbean.

He is just 80 runs away from becoming the second player to score 1,000 runs at the T20 World Cup. In fact, he needs only 97 runs to surpass Mahela Jayawardene's record tally of 1,016. Gayle already holds one competition record, for the number of sixes (60), while he averages 40 across 26 innings at the tournament, with a brilliant strike rate of 146.7.

New Zealand great Brendon McCullum (123) is the only player to have a higher T20 World Cup score than Gayle's 117, and you would not bet against the Windies talisman claiming that record either.

Gayle will have able support from the likes of Kieron Pollard (1,378 T20 runs), Dwayne Bravo (1,229) and Lendl Simmons (1,508), not to mention Nicholas Pooran.

Despite batting in the middle order, Pooran hit the second-highest number of sixes in this year's Caribbean Premier League (25). He also has form in the middle east, having struck 350 runs at a rate of 170 in the most recent edition of the Indian Premier League.

 

Malan and Livingstone to lead England

The Windies' first opponents in the Super 12 phase will be England, who will be out for revenge. They had a batting strike rate of 148 in 2016, the best of any team, but still fell short. Yet while the West Indies are now ninth in the ICC's T20I rankings, Morgan's men sit top of the pile.

Dawid Malan is the star batsman. He is ranked number one in the world in T20Is, with a rating of 841, way clear of second-placed Babar (819). Over 30 innings, he has amassed 1,123 runs at an average of 43.2 and a strike rate of 139.3.

Morgan, not shy of a big innings himself, is also able to call on Liam Livingstone, who has made a fantastic start to his T20I career. 

From seven innings, Livingstone has hit 206 runs with a strike rate of 167.5. His high score of 103 is the joint-highest in England's squad, level with Malan (103 not out).

As was the case at the 2019 World Cup, England's batting depth is exceptional, though they are shorn of Ben Stokes, who always seems to deliver when it matters most.

 

Kohli's last shot

Not too far behind Malan in the ICC's T20I batsman rankings is India star Kohli, who is stepping down as the captain in the shortest format of the game following the World Cup.

Winners of the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007, India have only reached one other final, back in 2014. Kohli was named player of the tournament, top-scoring with 319 runs, and as he prepares to bow out as captain, he will be determined to cap off his tenure on a high.

No player has made more half-centuries in the competition than the 32-year-old (level with Gayle on nine), though Kohli is yet to log a century.

Kohli's hopes may well rest on the shoulders of Rohit Sharma. The opener debuted with an unbeaten half-century back in 2007 and has made 111 T20I appearances, behind only Shoaib Malik (116) and Mohammed Hafeez (113).

Only Martin Guptill (147) has struck more sixes than Sharma (133) in the format, while over the last five years, India have won every time the batsman has scored 50+ runs.

 

Captain fantastic

Shahid Afridi has taken the most wickets of any player in T20 World Cup history (39). Indeed, Bangladesh's Shakib Al Hasan has taken the most wickets at the tournament of any player set to participate in this edition (30), which shows the void Pakistan are having to fill following Afridi's retirement.

They do, however, possess a supreme batsman in the form of captain Babar. 

Since his T20I bow in 2016, Babar has tallied up 2,204 runs. His average of 46.9 puts him third on the all-time T20I list (20+ innings), behind Kohli (52.7) and his fellow opener Mohammad Rizwan (48.4), who provides another string to Pakistan's bow.

Babar, who has only managed one century to date (122 from 59 balls against South Africa earlier this year) was the fastest player to 2,000 T20I runs (52 innings) beating Kohli's previous best of 56, and an enticing encounter between the sub-continental rivals takes place on October 24.

Jason Roy led the way as Sunrisers Hyderabad claimed a shock four-run victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore in Abu Dhabi.

Roy hit 44 as the Sunrisers, who sit bottom of the table with their play-off hopes already over, earned only their third win of a torrid Indian Premier League season at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium.

Already assured of a play-off berth, RCB were aiming for a fourth successive victory that would strengthen their hopes of finishing in the top two.

Virat Kohli's side were set a target of 142 and headed into the final over needing 13, following knocks of 41 and 40 from Devdutt Padikkal and Glenn Maxwell respectively.

AB de Villiers, who finished on 19 not out, edged RCB closer to the total with a huge six off Bhuvneshwar Kumar's fourth ball of the final over to leave six required from the last two deliveries.

However, Kumar showed all of his experience to wrap up the victory, conceding just one run off his final two balls, as RCB fell narrowly short on 137-6.

Joy for Roy

The England opener made a top-scoring contribution for the Sunrisers, with a knock of 44 from 38 balls.

He and skipper Kane Williamson hit combined in a 70-run partnership in 9.4 overs to provide the platform for their side to build upon.


History for Patel

Despite the defeat, it was a historic day for Harshal Patel, who set a new record of most wickets by an Indian bowler in an IPL season as he surpassed Jasprit Bumrah's tally from the previous season (27).

The right-arm bowler claimed an impressive 3-33 as he dismissed Williamson, Wriddhiman Saha and Jason Holder.

That took Patel's tally in this season's IPL to 29; seven clear of nearest challenger Avesh Khan, who has impressed for the Delhi Capitals this term.

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.

Virat Kohli has announced he will step down as captain of Indian Premier League side Royal Challengers Bangalore after the 2021 season is finished.

After a coronavirus-enforced suspension, the IPL restarted on Sunday, with Chennai Super Kings taking on Mumbai Indians in the United Arab Emirates.

However, ahead of Bangalore's clash with Kolkata Knight Riders on Monday, Kohli confirmed he will soon be bringing his time as captain to an end.

Kohli's announcement comes just three days after he confirmed he will step down as India's T20I captain after the upcoming T20 World Cup.

The highest scorer in T20Is, Kohli revealed the news in a video shared to RCB's official Twitter account.

"To the whole RCB family, the fans, the amazing fans of Bangalore and to everyone who has been a supporter of RCB for so many years, I have an announcement to make," he said.

"Before the second leg of the tournament starts, to inform everyone that this is going to be my last leg in the IPL as captain of RCB.

"I've spoken to the management, it's something that has been on my mind for a while, as I recently announced stepping down from T20 captaincy as well to manage my workload, which has been immense over the past few years.

"I want to continue to be committed to the responsibilities fully, and I felt I needed the space to refresh, regroup and be absolutely clear in how I want to move forward."

However, Kohli – who was signed by RCB in 2008 and was made captain in 2013 – insisted he has no plans to cut his time with the franchise short, despite his step back from leadership duties.

"Also understanding that RCB is going to go through a transitional phase, with a big auction coming next year, I made it clear to the management that I can't think of me being at any other team than RCB," Kohli continued.

"That has been my commitment since day one. I will continue to be an RCB player until my last game in the IPL.

"It's been a great journey of joy, frustration, moments of happiness and sadness, and I just want to thank all of you for believing in me and supporting me, relentlessly and unconditionally.

"I will continue to be committed to playing for this franchise until the last day of IPL, for you guys, the fans, because of what you have done for me and made me feel over the past so many years. It has meant so much.

"So, thank you so much; this is just a little halt, it is not the end of the journey, the journey will continue and it will continue the same way that it has for so many years."

Kohli accumulated 198 runs across the first seven games of the 2021 IPL season. In total, he has played 199 matches in the competition, averaging 37.97 with a high score of 113.

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