The fifth edition of the ICC World T20 will be held in Bangladesh from March 16th to April 6th. Defending Champions West Indies will enter the tournament once again as Underdogs, while usual suspects India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan begin as favorites.
The qualifiers will be held for 2 spots in the main draw from March 16th, with teams like Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Hong Kong, Nepal, Netherlands, UAE, Zimbabwe and Ireland divided into two groups- with the top team from both qualifying for the main tournament that starts from March 21st.
The first match- India v/s Pakistan at Mirpur.
Here is a short summary of the favorites and predictions in a tournament that is going to end up as a ‘warm up’ event for IPL 2014:
Will begin as one of 3 favorites in sub continental conditions. T20 specialists like Raina, Binny and Vinay Kumar could be back in the reckoning, but could also cause their team to plummet to another disappointing World T20 tournament.
In my book, favorites. They have reached the final of 2 of the last 3 World T20 tournaments, losing to Pakistan and West Indies. They should have won in 2012, and will be aching to win their first big ICC tournament since the 1996 World Cup, not counting the shared 2002 Champions Trophy with India. In Angelo Mathews, they have an able leader looking to innovate and lead by example.
Unpredictable as ever, but never to be written off with new blood streaming through their veins like always. Afridi remains their best bet, with players like Umar Akmal, Hafeez and Misbah crucial to their fortunes. Experience must be blended with hot-headedness if they want to emulate their ’09 win.
The only non-subcontinental with a real chance of winning this tournament, they are filled with an array of individual talent- stars that light up the IPL every year. Guys like Samuels, Bravo (both), Gayle and Narine must put their sorry NZ tour behind and show the world why cricket loves them.
The dark horses, this time. They come into this tournament on an almighty high- with new guys like Finch and Maxwell looking lethal, as well as veterans like White, Hogg and Haddin looking to round up the team. Warner and Watson will remain the backbone, with captain Bailey the main player as always. They look the most well-rounded and strongest team on paper.
The lesser said, the better. Except Morgan and Broad, there is nobody with a fixed spot in the team. Players like Hales, Bopara and Buttler will miss the experience of KP, whether they admit it or not. England, World Champions in 2010, will struggle to make it past the group stages.
They haven’t really taken to this format yet, but they can never be counted out simply because of specialists like the Morkels, De Kock, David Miller. Levi has disappeared from the scene after a storming debut, dismantled in IPL.
Their ODI performance against India makes them a threat, but we all know about their dismal record in Bangladesh. Sub continental conditions make them a different team, not in a good way, and they end up being the worst of the lot. It will be interesting to see how big pick Anderson goes about it though.
Australia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India/South Africa will make the final 4.
From here on, it is anybody’s tournament, as demonstrated by England and West Indies in the previous 2 editions.