India was then supposed to stage the event earlier this year, but it was delayed again after surge in the COVID-19 cases. Cricket authorities finally decided it would be played in United Arab Emirates and Oman, with India remaining as official host.
Here is a SWOT analysis of Pakistan, New Zealand and Afghanistan:
STRENGTH: Robust batting and a fiery pace attack. Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali and Babar Azam will aim to fire at the top while the experienced Mohammed Hafeez and Shoaib Malik will add stability to the middle. Pace trio of Shaheen Afridi, Hasan Ali and Haris Rauf offer a lot.
WEAKNESS: Unpredictability. The players need to hold their nerve in crunch situations. Spinners Imad Wasim and Shadab Khan have not lived up to expectations.
OPPORTUNITY: Babar Azam has been compared to several batting greats and this will be a chance for him to deliver on the big stage. Pak have been playing their home matches in UAE in the last decade and know the conditions well.
THREAT: Following New Zealand and England’s withdrawal from their tours of Pakistan, the players haven’t got much game time.
STRENGTH: Devon Conway’s swashbuckling form with the bat. Lockie Ferguson‘s ability to take wickets at crucial stages. Kane Williamson‘s calm presence and ability to steer the side home. Plenty of allrounders in Jimmy Neesham, Kyle Jamieson and Daryl Mitchell will give Kiwis an edge.
WEAKNESS: Spinners like Ish Sodhi and Mitchell Santner have flattered to deceive and will face a tough test. Unstable middle-order could be a cause for concern.
OPPORTUNITY: Close runners-up in the ODI World Cup in 2019, the Kiwis made amends by winning the World Test Championship. Now the challenge is to prove their T20 nous.
THREAT: Inexperience in batting order means they may fail to fire in crucial situations. Lack of proven match-winners apart from captain Williamson. Their attack could also crumble under pressure if their strike bowlers Boult and Southee get hit for runs at the start.
STRENGTH: Spinners Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi could prove a handful for the opposition batters on the low and slow UAE pitches. Wrist spinner Rashid can fox batsmen with his guile and bagful of tricks, while Mujeeb has many variations.
WEAKNESS: Inconsistent batting. The instability back home could affect their performance. Rashid Khan’s resignation as T20I captain in the lead-up could unsettle the team.
OPPORTUNITY: The emergence of youngsters like power-hitter Rahmanullah Gurbaz and pacer Naveen-ul-Haq, who can bowl yorkers at the death, have added new dimension to the team.
THREAT: Barring a few, Afghanistan players haven’t played much T20I cricket due to the pandemic in the lead up to the tournament. Turmoil within the Afghanistan Cricket Board has not made things easy and could affect players mentally.