GROUP C – SRI LANKA, SOUTH AFRICA & ZIMBABWE
Sri Lanka and South Africa are two of the favourites and will go through ahead of an ordinary Zimbabwean team. The home team should be too good for the Proteas to top the group.
Players to watch: Sri Lanka- Ajantha Mendis. The mystery spinner is at his most dangerous in this format. Once took 6 wickets in a T20 international against Australia. South Africa- Johan Botha. His performance with his off-spinners will be crucial in a team that is full of quality fast bowlers. His last tournament for the Proteas before he joins South Australia as the Redbacks new skipper. Zimbabwe- Brendan Taylor. One of his country’s few world class batsmen who must make runs if Zimbabwe are to be competitive.
GROUP D- PAKISTAN, NEW ZEALAND & BANGLADESH
Pakistan will easily top this group. Not much in it between New Zealand and Bangladesh but the Kiwis should just go through with their slightly stronger batting line-up.
Players to watch: Pakistan- Saeed Ajmal. Australia really struggled against Ajmal’s off-spinners in the recent series in the UAE and he will be a real handful on Sri Lanka’s turning wickets. New Zealand- Brendon McCullum. Now ranked the worlds number one Twenty20 batsman after his innings of 91 off 55 balls against India last week. Bangladesh- Shakib al Hasan. The star all-rounder is his teams best batsman and spin bowler and will need to play a huge role if Bangladesh are to beat New Zealand to progress to the super eights.
Predictions: Sri Lanka, West Indies, Pakistan and South Africa will be the semi finalists. Sri Lanka to win the World Twenty20 for the first time. Playing at home in conditions they know and thrive in will be a huge factor. As will their star batsmen in Jayawardene, Sangakkara and Dilshan who are very experienced, successful T20 players. Add to that hard hitting all-rounder Angelo Mathews, spin genius Mendis and the world’s best T20 fast bowler in Lasith Malinga and they will be very hard to beat. The West Indies will surprise many throughout the tournament and will make the final and the back of their explosive batting line-up. Pakistan’s inconsistent batting line-up will see them fall short in the semi-finals and South Africa will once again fall short of a final appearance in a major tournament. Australia will be competitive throughout but will fall short of the better teams and finish near the bottom of the super eights table. Get on the $5.50 on offer for Sri Lanka while you still can.