Sri Lanka is host to the 4th edition of the World Twenty20 Cup. India won the inaugural tournament in South Africa in 2007, Pakistan won the 2009 event held in England while England defeated Australia in the 2010 Carribean tournament. 12 teams. 4 groups of 3. The top 2 from each group progress to the super eights round. Finishing off with semi finals and the final. All at just 3 venues, the R. Premedasa Stadium in Colombo, the Mahinda Rajapaksa Stadium in the Southern coastal city of Hambantota, and the Pallekele Cricket Stadium in Pallekele, right in the middle of Sri Lanka.
GROUP A- ENGLAND, INDIA & AFGHANISTAN
India and England will progress to the super eights from this group. But don’t expect England to go any further. Despite being a very good test and one-day team they are ordinary in this format and without their best T20 player in Kevin Pieterson are no chance to lift the trophy. Expect Afghanistan to be very competitive but fall short in both their games. Their strength is their impressive array of fast bowlers who won’t be suited to the slow, spinning Sri Lankan wickets. India will win both games and top the group.
Players to watch: India- Yuvraj Singh. Great to see this explosive left handed bat back in the team after recovering from treatment for lung cancer. Hit England bowler Stuart Broad for six sixes in an over at the 2007 World Twenty20 Cup. Great story regardless how he performs. England- Eoin Morgan. Another left handed bat, the former Irishman is the best finisher in the world in this format with his unorthodox flicks, hoicks and sweeps. Afghanistan- Hameed Hassan. Flamboyant, bandana wearing, 145km bowling quick.
GROUP B- WEST INDIES, AUSTRALIA & IRELAND
While Australia and the West Indies should progress to the next stage Ireland will be tough to beat and shouldn’t be underestimated. With Chris Gayle back and explosive players like Pollard, Bravo, Smith and Samuels in form, as well as the hard to pick bowling of Sunil Narine, the Windies will top Group B.
Players to watch: West Indies- Sunil Narine. An off-spinner who can spin it the other way with his “carrom ball”. Has dominated recently in this format, including last seasons Indian Premier League. Australia- Glenn Maxwell. The Victorian from the Fitzroy/Doncaster club is an exciting middle order hard hitting batsman who has looked comfortable in his first games in both of our limited over teams. Just don’t expect too much from his off-spinners yet. Ireland- Paul Stirling. The just turned 22 year old is argubly to most exciting young batsman in world cricket. Gives it a thump and I’m sure if he was born down under instead of in the Emerald Isle he would be a fixture in Australia’s ODI and T20 teams. His off-spin is also very good.