The ICC World Twenty 20 or the ICC World T20 starts in Sri Lanka today. The event is held every two years. The inagural event which was held in 2007 in South Africa was won by India. The BCCI never whole heartedly adopted the format in 2007 and the team that was sent for the cup was a young one with a captain who had won nothing significant under him.
Under Dhoni’s captaincy, India won the T20 World cup and the popularity of shortest format of the game simply exploded through the roof. Things have never been the same again. The BCCI floated the Indian Premier League (IPL) which has completed 5 seasons already and is the most expensive and lucrative private cricket league in the world.
Its in this light that the 4th T20 World Cup starts in Sri Lanka today. Its probably the most open of the tournaments in recent times. Previous winners of the tournament are
2007 – India beat Pakistan by 5 runs
2009 – Pakistan beat Sri Lanka by 8 wickets
2010 – England beat Australia by 7 wickets
The tournament starts with the hosts, Sri Lanka taking on Zimbabwe in the first match of the Group C match at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium, Hambantota. Following are the groups and the teams.
Australia, the traditional powerhouse of cricket is now ranked a lowly 10th. They are below even Ireland in the T20 rankings. Though taking them light based on their ranking would be a sheer mistake. England without Kevin Pietersen are not really the power they are. But being the defending champions, they would have something to prove to the world.
West Indies are the proverbial dark horse of this tournament. You ignore a team containing such exciting names as Gayle, Pollard, Bravo, Naraine, Smith etc at your own peril. Each one is a dynamite waiting to explode and as a traditional supporter of the West Indian cricket, i would love to see them come into their own this tournament.
Pakistan are as unpredictable as always. They are a team of individuals who on their day can make or break a match. With the on again off again Shahid Afridi in the team who these days likes to claim that he is more of a bowler today than a batsman (cos his batting is not really firing these days), its a team full of contradictions.
Sri Lanka as the hosts would be having the crowd on their own side. That would make them perform two notches above anyone else. Giving them company would be the perennial chokers South Africa, who really would want to give their chokers tag a rest.
As for India, they are always unpredictable. Good one day, absolutely pathetic the next. With a team that is full of batting power, they would be looking for a few of the batsmen to roll their hands in running through their quota of overs.
New Zealand is unpredictable. Expect them to move into the next round, but anything beyond that is difficult for the team. But its a team full of excellent fielders. So their opponents need to cater at least 20-30 runs more than what they plan to score.
Among the other teams, its Ireland which is the most unpredictable. In the 50 over world cup in 2011, they had given England a bloody nose with Kevin O Brien smashing the fastest ever one day hundred in a World cup. And most importantly, am excited to watch what Afghanistan can do in this tournament.
Let the games begin and may the best team win. The full schedule of the tournament can be found here
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