ICC World Twenty20 2012: Breaking Down All 12 Teams
As the 2012 ICC World Twenty20 kicks off, we have yet another spectacular cast of countries ready to vie for the title, including England, who won the tournament in 2010.
There are, of course, some challengers, including favorites India and Pakistan, as well as some other prime contenders.
Here's a look at each team from each group in the 2012 ICC World Twenty20.
England, the reigning champion, won by eight wickets in the 2010 ICC World Twenty20 final over Australia.
There has been a rise in England's play since then, as ESPNCricInfo.com points out.
England went 15-15 in Twenty20 internationals through the 2010 ICC World Twenty20, and has gone 10-5 since, leading many to wonder if this is an even better British team.
With a batting lineup including Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina and Mahendra Singh Dhoni, India is largely considered a favorite in the tournament this year.
Irfan Pathan leads India with 24 wickets taken from 2006-2012.
It's very likely that India makes it to the final this year.
Afghanistan is largely counted out of the tournament this year.
The team didn't even participate in the ICC World Twenty20 from 2007-2009, and only made it to the first round of the 2010 competition.
Many are picking Afghanistan to finish at the bottom of the pile.
Australia is another team that hasn't gotten much respect since the 2010 World Twenty20, with a 5-10 record in Twenty20 internationals since then.
On the other hand, that doesn't mean the Australians won't make some noise. They made it to the final in 2010 and beat Ireland in Group B play on Wednesday by seven wickets.
They have a good chance of emerging from the group—and more.
A team that has progressively gotten stronger in the World Twenty20 since 2007, West Indies has a shot at surprising everybody this year.
The great Wasim Akram predicted West Indies to finish in the last four this year, per Bettor.com.
With a world-class squad consisting of Dwayne Brave, Chris Gayle, Darren Sammy, Kieron Pollard, Denesh Ramdin, Darren Bravo, Fidel Edwards and Lendl Simmons, this may be one of the best competitors in the tournament.
Ireland hasn't been given much of a shot this time around, but the team is sky-high after winning all four of their warm-up games in Sri Lanka.
Still, it's a tough group to be in, with Australia playing well on Wednesday and West Indies showing more talent overall (at least on paper).
Ireland didn't make it out of the group stages in 2010, so there is certainly cause for concern.
After placing second in the tournament in 2009 and making it to the semifinals in 2010, there is a lot for Sri Lanka to be confident about.
Sri Lanka has two superstars in Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, which gives the team an advantage.
On the other hand, the middle of the order isn't very strong, which may hurt Sri Lanka in a competition predicated on teamwork.
South Africa is another team that has fans buzzing.
Despite only making it to the Super 8 in 2010, South Africa did make it to the semifinals in 2009 and vaulted to No. 1 in the the official world rankings this year, pushing ahead of England.
Look out for Faf du Plessis, who carries a lot of weight on his shoulders for the team and is expected to do big things in the tournament.
Zimbabwe isn't being counted on to do much this year.
The country only advanced to the first round in 2007 and 2010 and dropped out of the competition in 2009.
Sri Lanka destroyed Zimbabwe on Tuesday for 100 in 17.3 overs.
There are high hopes for Pakistan this year, and it's no wonder.
The country has consistently performed well in the World Twenty20, placing second in 2007, winning it all in 2009 and making it to the semifinals in 2010.
Where India dominates in batting, Pakistan dominates in bowling. The depth of this team is fantastic and it's one of the reasons it could surpass Sri Lanka, which relies heavily on a couple of players.
New Zealand has reached the Super 8 in the last two World Twenty20 competitions, but the team has had trouble converting its prime starts into scoring.
The problem has appeared to be more a lack of concentration than lack of talent for New Zealand, as even the senior players seemed to coast at times instead of finding ways to make a major imprint on the game.
Bangladesh is another team not expected to do much this tournament.
The country hasn't placed better than eighth since the 2007 World Twenty20, and there isn't much to suggest the team will be any better this year.
There is talent on this team, but it has consistently disappointed throughout the years in the tournament. The left-arm spinners are by far the team's strength, but the batting leaves a lot to be desired.
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