The Financial Express

Dark horses of this World Cup

(From Left) In the photo - Mulder, McCoy, Afif, Shardul and Theekshana (From Left) In the photo - Mulder, McCoy, Afif, Shardul and Theekshana

The T20 World Cup 2021 features some legendary names like Virat Kohli, Kieron Pollard and David Warner. There are other cricketers like Varun Chakravarthy, Tabraiz Shamsi and Shimron Hetmyer who are expected to deliver big for their teams. 

Among all the players, there are a few who do not have the hype but have the ability to play a significant role in their teams. 

Five cricketers who have the potential to surprise this year, according to our analysis, are Wiaan Mulder, Obed McCoy, Afif Hossain, Shardul Thakur and Maheesh Theekshana.

Wiaan Mulder

Wiaan Mulder is one of the cricketers from South Africa who is not that highly rated for the shortest format. Overshadowed by the likes of Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada, the fast-medium pace bowling all-rounder has the ability to pitch it in the good areas and hit the deck hard which can be effective in the UAE conditions. 

In his short T20I career of 5 matches, he has picked up 5 wickets with an economy rate of 8.18. He is someone who can play a good cameo down the order with a 125 strike rate.

Obed McCoy

Obed McCoy, the Caribbean left-arm seamer has shown his potential against Australia in 2021. He played just 2 matches in the T20 series and picked up 5 wickets. 

In his 4-26 spell against the Aussies, he has controlled the back-of-the-hand slower delivery exceptionally while bowling the death overs. He has picked up 19 wickets in just 12 matches with an economy rate of 7.17.

Afif Hossain

Afif, the Bangladeshi middle-order batsman has performed well against Australia in 2021 as well. He ended the 5 match series dominated by the bowlers having the highest strike rate (122.47) and 109 runs. 

The youngster has played an effective role in the home series against New Zealand as well. His 37 off 31 and 49* off 33 against Australia and New Zealand respectively are highly appreciated because of the odd conditions.

Shardul Thakur

Shardul Thakur has had a brilliant IPL season this year. In the title-winning campaign, he has picked up 21 wickets in 16 matches. Though Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami have more hype, Shardul is a man in form. His T20I strike rate is 197.14 and he has shown his big-hitting abilities in other formats too. 

Maheesh Theekshana

Although the T20I career of Maheesh Theekshana, the Sri Lankan spinner is short, he has been remarkable in the domestic T20 matches. The off-break bowler is often compared with Ajantha Mendis for his carrom balls, wrong-uns and ability to disguise the direction of movement of the ball. 

Theekshana has all it takes to be a mystery spinner. In 25 T20 innings, he has 22 wickets and an economy rate of 5.68.

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