The T20 format has benefited the Cricket world immensely with its higher entertainment quotient.
The shorter duration of the game has also attracted various non cricket playing countries. The upcoming T20 world cup in the Sri Lanka is a step towards the promotion of the game in front of world audience.
The fourth edition of the T20 world cup featuring the twelve top teams will be held from 18 September to 7 October. The format will have four groups of three in a preliminary round.
India, England and Afghanistan are in Group A. The Champions of the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier; Ireland are in group B with West Indies and Australia. Group C consists of Sri Lanka, South Africa and Zimbabwe while Pakistan, New Zealand and Bangladesh are in group D. The top two teams from each group will proceed to the Super eight round.
With the advent of new T20 leagues in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in recent months, many foreign players outside of subcontinent have had their fair share of practice.
The conditions of the Indian subcontinent—which were considered a mystery to the outsiders—have now started to open up a little bit. The World Cup has come a long way forward since its first edition when India lifted the cup. Almost all the countries have become much more the familiar with the rules, regulations, scenarios and tactics related to the format. It automatically becomes very difficult to predict who will be winner of this edition of the cup.
Teams like West Indies, South Africa and Pakistan are pitched as favorites by some pundits. West Indies possess many T20 specialists like Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo, Darren Bravo, Darren Sammy, Sunil Narine and Dwayne Smith.
They have a very shrewd captain who likes to take fight to the opposition. If they can bowl and field according to the plans throughout the tournament—they can definitely take home the ultimate prize.
South Africa has a golden chance to win a major ICC tournament this time around. They are officially the second best team in the format. With the likes of fantastic players such as Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers, Albie Morkel, Johan Botha, Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, they boost of a world class T20 side. Fielding and bowling have always been their strength hence they would be a very tough team to beat.
Pakistan has always been a dominant force in this format of the game. Their squad includes some of the best T20 players in the world like Saeed Ajmal, Shahid Afridi, Mohammad Hafeez, Umar Gul, Sohail Tanvir, Abdul Razzaq, Kamran Akmal, Umar Akmal.
They have suitable players for every position and can upset any world class team. Their new young captain is one of the best all rounder of game and likes to lead by example. Though they have not included experience players like Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq in their squad but T20 has been always a game for the youngsters.
Australia, England, India, Sri Lanka and New Zealand—though not pinned favorites—can easily prove the critics wrong by playing up to their full potential as they also boost of some of the best T20 minds in the game.
All in all, this world cup would surely prove to be a thrilling, exciting and breathtaking event.