Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Cricket: World Twenty 20 in Sri Lanka --- A Preview

by Sampad Sengupta

After a long summer of sports, the ICC World T20 is knocking at the door once again, this time being played in Sri Lanka. Cricketing nations from all over the globe are gearing up for what promises to be an enticing affair, with many teams with their eyes on the trophy.
The International Cricket Committee, the ICC, first launched T20 cricket on the world stage at the T20 World Cup in South Africa in 2007. Since then the tournament has been played in England in 2009 and West Indies in 2010, with India, Pakistan and England emerging as winners in these editions.
Let’s take a look at the teams and their chances of victory, starting with hosts, Sri Lanka.
SRI LANKA: Hosts Sri Lanka will be one of the major contenders for the title in front of their home crowds with the likes of experienced campaigners, Mahela Jawardene, Kumar Sangakkara and TM Dilshan about, but are plagued by the inconsistence of their young guns. The bowling, apart from Lasith Malinga, also lacks some serious fire power. Let’s see if the hosts can turn things around with some spirited performances.
AUSTRALIA: Cricketing giants for quite some time, Australian cricket had suffered during a transition period after the retirement of some of the cricketing greats. However, Australia do pack a punch with the likes of David Warner, Shane Watson, David and Michael Hussey. Their bowling unit boasts of a nice blend of youth and experience and if it clicks, the Aussies might be on track for their first T20 trophy.
BANGLADESH: Bangladesh have been inconsistent and not performed to their potential. Led by young wicket-keeper Mushfiqur Rahim, Bangladesh have the best all-rounder in world cricket in Shakib Al Hasan. Their bowling has depth and if their batting can click, they could well provide the surprise element in the tournament.
ENGLAND: England are grouped with India and Afghanistan and are expected to ease through this group along with India. Boosted by firing young talents like Craig Kieswetter, Jos Buttler and Alex Hales, England look a settled unit under T20 captain Stuart Broad. Their batting will however revolve a lot around middle-order batsman Eoin Morgan and bowlers Broad and Graeme Swann will hold the key in sub continental conditions.
INDIA: India are as usual a force to reckon with, with MS Dhoni, Virender Sehwag and the in form Virat Kohli in their ranks. However, all eyes will be on Yuvraj Singh who makes his comeback to cricket after recovering from a rare germ cell cancer. India do boast of a strong batting line up but their woes of bowling in the death continue and may just hamper their shot at the title.
NEW ZEALAND: New Zealand could well be the dark horse in the tournament. Coming off some dismal performances in Bangladesh, West Indies and India, they have not done justice to the talent they have in their side. With the likes of Brendan McCullum, Ross Taylor, Martin Guptil and Kane Williamson in batting and the experience of Daniel Vettori in bowling, they have a potent side which could well go under the radar and come out on top.
PAKISTAN: As a cricket expert once said, Pakistan have been “consistently inconsistent”. That has been the story so far for the team. Marred by controversies, Pakistan had won the 2009 edition, but have had their shares of ups and downs since then. Players like Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal, Umar Gul and Abdul Razzaq are match winners along with other talented players in the line-up. However, they have to get their act together and perform as a unit to make an impact.
SOUTH AFRICA: If they can overcome their tag of “chokers” in major tournaments, South Africa promise to be favourites yet again. Their batting boasts of experienced campaigners like Jacques Kallis, Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers and with Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, they have two of the best bowlers in the world right now. Studded with all-rounders, this South African line up is well capable of becoming world beaters.
WEST INDIES: It has clearly been a long time since West Indies dominated world cricket but this tournament just might be their moment to shine once again with the format suiting most of their players’ styles. Explosive batsmen like Chris Gayle and Kieron Pollard, the dependable Dwayne Bravo and mystery spinner Sunil Narine are well established experts in the shortest format, capable of single-handedly turning any game around. The team might just spring a surprise or two this time.
ZIMBABWE: Zimbabwe have failed to impress in other tournaments they have played in and have to play out of their skins to get through a group with Sri Lanka and South Africa. Captained by dynamic batsman Brendan Taylor, they have depth in their bowling with quite a few spin options such as Prosper Utseya, Ray Price and Graeme Cremer.
Associate nations like AFGHANISTAN and IRELAND will have to work very hard to get through their respective groups, but no one knows what to expect from them and that just might play in their favour.
T20 is undoubtedly the most entertaining form of the game and promises several upsets. The lively and dynamic nature of the game is such that it makes it very hard to predict a winner, with every team having a chance to make an impact. We look forward to watching some exciting cricket over the next few days and hope that the best team wins.

1 comment:

  1. Jadeja’s emergence as a package, at the very least makes him an option, giving the captain an opportunity to play three quicks, and two spinners, along with Ashwin. It is a trend the captain will have to buck, given his preference, almost a fetish for three quicks and a lone spinner abroad. But more than his bowling, which on bouncy, fast-paced wickets would be laced with a fair degree of predictability, his batting could again come in handy - to either resist or consolidate, depending on the situation. At least, with this showing, he’s earned that opportunity, that chance to show what he’s about in those conditions. premier fantasy cricket


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