Who will win the ICC World Twenty20 is quite difficult to guess it seems. The first winners of the tournament were India in 2007-08 when the venue was South Africa and the team was under some pressure after losing the 50-over World Cup earlier in the year. (All AFP Photos)
Among top teams, India has played the least number of T20 matches and have just about managed to keep the victory column ahead of the losses. Even in the World T20s, India have a 8-7-1-1 record in 17 matches. India did not perform up to expectations in both the last World T20s and since this one is in the sub-continent, the Men in Blue would want to make a mark. What is even more of an inspiration is the fact that they could become double World champions after winning the 50-over WC in 2011.
Pakistan have played the most number of T20s - 56, won 33 and lost 21. In World T20, their record is 12-7-1 in 20 matches - 1 tied was against India in the first edition of the Twenty20 World Cup, which eventually India won on a bowl-out. Even when Pakistan won the World T20 in 2009, hardly anyone would have fancied them after their thumping loss to England in the first game. This time too nothing has changed and they remain the flamboyant side of always - brilliant one day, ordinary another.
England are the reigning champions of the ICC World T20 tournament. In fact that was the team's first ever World Cup trophy across both the formats that the event is played in. Just like Pakistan in 2009, England too suffered a first match setback against West Indies, albeit a rain-curtailed unlucky one. The 'Barmy Army' beat the Kangaroos in a lopsided final at Bridgetown, Barbados by 7 wickets. With a strong bowling line-up, a lot is expected from the side this time too.
Sri Lanka have been the most consistent of all sides, in all World Cups, apart from Australia. They have been into the previous two 50-over World Cup finals. They reached the final of the World T20 in 2009 while in 2010 they made it to the semis. Despite looking good to win the 2009 edition, Pakistan came to the party on just the right or wrong day (depends on the perspective) to knock the Islanders down. This edition being on their home turf, will definitely instill that little bit extra in them to cross the final hurdle.
Australia have still not tamed this format to their liking and the Sri Lanka edition might just be the perfect time for them to do so. The Kangaroos reached the finals in the last World T20 that was played in the West Indies but ran into a spirited English side. This time with a new-look side and a new captain in George Bailey, the Aussies would want to prove detractors wrong and go all the way.
West Indies is one side that just can't be taken lightly, especially in the T20 format. They shocked the Aussies in the 2009 edition in the group phase and eventually went on to make the semi-finals where Sri Lanka took care of them. Still, with the return of Chris Gayle and players like Dwayne Bravo, Dwayne Smith, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine and Darren Bravo among others, a strong performance is the least that is expected.
South Africa have not performed up to the expected levels in the ICC World T20s but they managed a semi-final show in the 2009 event where they lost to the eventual champions, Pakistan. Since the last T20 World Cup though, South Africa has improved upon their record and now are the top T20 side as per ICC rankings. They are the there and thereabouts team and consistency is their mantra. Taking the final step and crossing the mental hurdle by winning a major tournament would be their immediate target.
New Zealand qualified for the semi-final in the first edition of the ICC World T20 in 2007 where they lost to Pakistan. Their record in the T20s is nothing to write home about as the losses exceed the wins but Black Caps would want to revert all that.
Bangladesh is on the rise and they have proven so on more than one occasion. The Tigers beat India and Sri Lanka en route Asia Cup finals, albeit in the one-day internationals but the shorter format does instill an energy in them. With a battery of left-arm tweakers, they definitely can hurt a lot of sides. Placed in the group of death with Pakistan and New Zealand, could inspire them to greater heights.
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