Two-time World Cup-winning captain Ricky Ponting has revealed the two teams he thinks will reach the final of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup in Australia later this year and which one he expects to win the trophy.
Ponting has watched plenty of T20 cricket in recent times, with the former Australia skipper having spent time as an assistant of the Australian team under Justin Langer, been head coach of Delhi Capitals in the IPL for the last five years and commentating on Big Bash League matches.
Having seen and analysed the best players from around the world up close and personal he has now shared his views on the upcoming T20 World Cup with host Sanjana Ganesan on the latest episode of The ICC Review.
Who wins the coveted trophy?
While Ponting admits some luck is required to win a major ICC trophy, the 47-year-old was strong on the teams he thought were most likely to taste success in Australia.
"I think India and Australia will be the two playing in the final and I will just have to say that Australia will beat them in the final," Ponting declared.
"The reigning champions have got home conditions and that was one thing that made Australia’s win in the last World Cup, not remarkable, but that little bit sweeter for them.
"The fact that a lot of people, me included, thought when they went to UAE, the conditions that they were going to have to face on the back of the IPL, I thought the conditions might have been the thing that might not have allowed them to win it.
"But they found a way."
Who is the main danger to Australia and India then?
Ponting has been a long-time fan of Brendon McCullum and has been supremely impressed with what the brash Kiwi has produced so far during his tenure during recent Test series'.
He also knows how capable new England white-ball coach Matthew Mott is given his superb record with Australia's women's team.
"I actually think England are an outstanding white-ball team and they have an outstanding white-ball setup," Ponting said.
"I just think the three teams on paper that look to have most class and the most match-winners are India, Australia and England."
What about Pakistan?
Pakistan legend Waqar Younis recently said his former team had an excellent chance of claiming a second T20 World Cup title in Australia, but Ponting isn't so sure.
While Ponting acknowledges the class of star pacer Shaheen Afridi and the guile of Mohammad Rizwan at the top of the order, he said their batting line-up is too reliant on captain and No.1 ranked batter Babar Azam.
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"If Babar doesn’t have a great tournament, I don’t think they can win," Ponting said.
"I saw him up close and personal a couple of years ago out here in a Test series against Australia and I said it then, I thought the sky was the limit for this guy as far as Test match batting (was concerned) and, if anything, he’s probably got better and better in the last couple of years.
"Their openers are very important and their new-ball bowlers are very important, but that role of the spin bowler in Australia might be a little bit more difficult with wickets that probably won’t give them assistance."
What about the rest of the teams?
Ponting gives a few other sides an outside chance of riding their luck all the way and at least making it to the title decider at the MCG on November 13.
"I know the game too well and any of New Zealand, Pakistan or West Indies even – we know how they tend to love playing this game and they’re probably most suited to the T20 format.
"It wouldn’t surprise me if any of those sides find their way through to the final."
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