Exclusive: Martin Guptill picks his favorites for T20 World Cup 2024 semi-finals; Undecided between England and Pakistan

New Zealand legend Martin Guptill, who last played for the national team in 2022, is currently representing Sharjah Warriors in the ILT20.

New Delhi: New Zealand cricketer Martin Guptill has picked India, New Zealand and Australia as semi-final contenders for the upcoming T20 World Cup 2024, which is scheduled to be held in the USA and West Indies from June 1. However, they were left undecided between England and Pakistan. Fourth place. Notably, England and Pakistan were finalists in the previous edition held in Australia. England won the title by defeating Pakistan by five wickets.

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Although the grand event is still five months away, the buzz has already started as soon as ticket sales have gone live. A total of 55 matches will be played in nine cities – three in the United States and six in the Caribbean. This is also the first time that the United States has been awarded the hosting rights to organize such a major tournament.

“It is tough but I would choose Australia, India and New Zealand. I can't decide between England and Pakistan (laughs) between the two of them,'' Guptill, who is currently representing Sharjah Warriors in the ongoing ILT20, told india.com In an exclusive interview from Sharjah on Thursday.

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New Zealand cricket legend Guptill has played in a record seven T20 World Cups for the Blackcaps, the last in 2022. Overall, the right-handed batsman played 28 T20 World Cup matches, scoring 617 runs with a highest score of 93. Came against Scotland.

Compared to a fifth-place finish in the inaugural edition in 2023, Sharjah Warriors have made a great start to the current season with three wins so far in their first five matches. Under the leadership of Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Sharjah Warriors are currently second behind table-toppers MI Emirates. Guptill seemed confident of Sharjah Warriors reaching the last four.

“So far it's been really positive. We have won three out of five matches so far and it is a really good start for us. We feel like we're tracking in the right direction. Come the latter part of the tournament, hopefully we can finish in the top four and make the finals,” he said.

ILT20 is going on the right track

Talking about the competitiveness of the tournament in its second year, Guptill said that the ILT20 will be a good showcase for cricket in the region. “It is very competitive. There are a lot of world class players playing here and some great locals (players) too who are great to watch. I think it is good for UAE cricket. With and against these players from around the world, the supply of local players gets better and better.

Hopefully the trend is going in a positive direction. As I see it, it can only be good, I mean this kind of tournament where people are rubbing shoulders with people who have a lot of international experience and who play T20 cricket all over the world. Hopefully the track is in the right direction,” said Guptill, who is yet to be included in the playing XI for Sharjah Warriors. Instead, he has been used as a super sub in four of their five games.

When asked about comparing the ILT20 with Australia's Big Bash League and the Indian Premier League, Guptill decided not to do so. “It is very difficult to answer this. I mean, they're all different in their own places and it wouldn't be fair to give them a rating,'' he said.

Speaking about the hospitality shown towards the players, Guptill was full of praise for the organisers. “We have been very well looked after. They made us feel really welcome, including our families,” he concluded.

Published Date: February 1, 2024 10:02 PM IST

Updated date: February 1, 2024 11:52 PM IST

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