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Commentator, television presenter and writer

The most open World Twenty20 so far

No home advantage, no points for familiarity with the conditions, no guesses for who could win it

Harsha Bhogle

September 14, 2012

Comments: 196 | Text size: A | A

Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels, the two centurions, West Indies v New Zealand, 2nd ODI, Kingston, July 7, 2012
If West Indies win the World Twenty20, it will make many fans happy © WICB
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There was a time when the subcontinent was mystery, assigned dark and exotic shades. It was the land of the unknown, rendered even more so by inventive prose. You got the feeling that visiting teams were waiting for the unexpected, that, peculiarly, they expected it, and were almost ready to succumb to it. Either they weren't aware of how to combat the conditions or, more likely, they were just unwilling to. A tour to this part of the world brought out the best in cricket writers, rarely in cricketers.

A couple of days ago I saw two giant New Zealanders, they of the land that had seemed beyond the unknown to us, understand the subcontinent like it was their own. And it struck me that the mystique had gone. Jacob Oram and James Franklin seemed so at ease that they might have been bowling at Eden Park, indeed that the Feroz Shah Kotla might have been as familiar to them as Eden Park was. The world had shrunk and India was now the playground of the cricket world. Two New Zealanders had beaten India playing an Indian game.

And so, as the World Twenty20 begins across the Palk Strait, I wonder if knowledge of local conditions is a qualification anymore; whether slow bowlers who take the pace off the ball speak only in our accents. Wristy players with exotic shots now hail from Ireland, mystery spinners from Trinidad, and even those from Dunedin and Hobart are increasingly at home in Pallekele and Visakhapatnam.

And so this is as open a World T20 as any you will see. You could argue, and you would argue fairly, that the smaller a match the more open it is anyway, but in earlier editions the format was still unfamiliar and there were times when the slow, low pitches of the subcontinent could negate teams like New Zealand, South Africa and England. Not anymore. The IPL is now five years old, the Big Bash has gathered steam, there is excitement around England's T20, and little leagues have sprung up in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. As cuisines go global, so does short-form cricket.

The groups don't matter anymore, and the rankings still have insufficient data to make for fair and informed assessments. As Australia have shown, the number ten ranking can be made to look both correct and ridiculous in the space of two days. Look at their matches against Pakistan. In the 2010 World Twenty20 semi-final they got 80 in six overs; recently they struggled to make that many in 20 overs, and a couple of days later they bowled Pakistan out for 74. Any of those days could have been a final, so predictions will be foolhardy.

 
 
The news coming out of Sri Lanka is that the pitches have a bit of the spice normally associated with the fish curries there; that the ball is allowed a decent carry in Pallekele, and that spinners of doubtful pedigree will have to do more than just turn a doorknob to get help from the pitches
 

That is especially so because the news coming out of Sri Lanka is that the pitches have a bit of the spice normally associated with the fish curries there; that the ball is allowed a decent carry in Pallekele, and that spinners of doubtful pedigree will have to do more than just turn a door knob to get help from the pitches. I hope that assessment is right because good pitches will favour better cricketers. I also hope that boundary ropes are placed a respectable distance away from the batsman.

The unpredictability makes this edition even more alluring. West Indies, once the home of fast bowling, could play with Samuel Badree, Sunil Narine, Marlon Samuels and Darren Sammy (three of them slow, one just going past that definition); Sri Lanka could throw up another couple of unorthodox sensations to go with Lasith Malinga and Ajantha Mendis (have been told to keep an eye out for Dilshan Munaweera and Akila Dananjaya); and even South Africa, the land of the braai and seam-up bowlers, might play three slow bowlers. With Sohail Tanvir and Umar Gul in form, Pakistan are the one team that need not bother about the surface, having bowlers to suit all kinds.

If the tracks are indeed really good, India will be forced to play with five bowlers, which is how it should be anyway. A team that has six quality batsmen and can play Irfan Pathan, R Ashwin and Harbhajan Singh thereafter shouldn't need the security of another batsman at No. 7. If there is a weakness in this team, it is the absence of a death bowler, and the selection of Zaheer Khan, never the most enthusiastic T20 cricketer, is probably an attempt to fill that position.

For the first time in years the team to watch out for is West Indies. I suggested a couple of years ago that T20 might be the path to the revival of West Indies cricket, and they certainly seem to play it with the joie de vivre that the format encourages. A team of Chris Gayle, Dwayne Smith, Darren Bravo (or Lendl Simmons), Samuels, Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Denesh Ramdin, Sammy, Andre Russell, Narine and Fidel Edwards (with Ravi Rampaul and Samuel Badree around) offers much for the senses. Gayle will still be the talisman, the enforcer, but there are many match-winners down the line. And almost all of them have played a lot on the subcontinent.

To me, this World Twenty20 will be a search for the joy in West Indies cricket. Anyone can win it but West Indies will bring more smiles to faces.

Harsha Bhogle is a commentator, television presenter and writer. His Twitter feed is here

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Posted by jay57870 on (September 17, 2012, 3:11 GMT)

Harsha - Even a broken clock is right twice a day! The NZ-India T20 finale came down to a bat-ball showdown: Rohit Sharma vs James Franklin. Both Mumbai Indians. Two balls, two chances. This time the older MI outfoxed his famous "last-ball 6" team-mate. Just think of the odds: NZ started 2 for 2 on a foreign field, and won by 1 run! Yes, T20 is a crapshoot. An unpredictable game with weird bounces, bizarre deflections, death overs & suspense. And changing day-night playing & weather conditions. It's anybody's game. Rankings don't matter. Nor do home fields. Nor is it a young man's game: 10 of the 22 players were 30 or over in age; and only 3 below 25! Yes, IPL brings many of the best from around the world together. Secrets are left behind in the dressing-room; none to hide on-field. Competition's level. There's parity. Yes, the World T20 race is wide open. Like Disney's "It's a small world after all"! And "flat" too! And full of "broken clocks"! Your guess is as good as mine, Harsha!

Posted by   on (September 16, 2012, 19:17 GMT)

In this World T20 Bangladesh will play better cricket than Australia. India or SA will take the trophy home.

Posted by manisacumen on (September 16, 2012, 11:41 GMT)

I am not entirely happy with the team's selection. Badly miss uthapppa, Yusuf Pathan and Sreesanth. Tiwari's selection is not bad but should not have come ahead of the three i have mentioned. Sehwag has to fire. he has not done much of late be it in the tests or ODIs or T20s, ignoring the IPLs. If India has to win or does win, it will be because of lots of luck like they had in the WC 2011 despite having a mediocre bowling attack then.

Posted by   on (September 16, 2012, 10:41 GMT)

when dhoni cant hit james franklin for a six than india in my books wont be able to get very far..however all teams have their mad batters at teh top of teh order...which include imran nazir, mcullum, gayle, kohli, warner,tamim,kieswetter etc and even england can play two spinners so it should be the battle of teh slow bowlers...australia can play three and so can westindies and bangladesh...pakistan have a celebrated lot of spinners if afridi is fit...i suppose that in pacemen the south africans and australians might have an advantage even though pakistan have teh men for the t20 in umar gul and tanvir...while teh top of the orders maybe solid teh middle order probably is stronger in teh australian team having more experience...pakistan go in with the weakest middle order...narine and adre russel can take on any team too...so we might have a tournament in which teh aussies and indians have a lot of older guys but teh teams are evenly matched and have the ability to outdo each other

Posted by   on (September 16, 2012, 9:03 GMT)

i have a strange feeling that this time its gonna be the Aussies or Proteas , Aussies because this is the only cup that has eluded them so far and we all know what they can do when determination creeps into them and look to be a determined lot, they have the arsenal to do it, perfect group of bowlers specially McKay who is in my view one of the best limited over bowler in the world and their batting seem to be in place with Hussey's and Warner & watson at the top.. in short i see them going the distance. Proteas on the other hand too has a complete squad with lots of experience and youth as well. AB can be the most destructive batsman in this format. they have Morkel's Styen Kallis Amla and not to forget Botha who is also a brilliant bowler in this format. Since they are in the same group in super eights, so they can both qualify and meet in the finals India can dream about the cup, but can never come close to it, i am sure about it. Dhoni will play politics more then cricket for sure

Posted by Juiceoftheapple on (September 16, 2012, 8:42 GMT)

Slight correction Harsha. English players don't get picked by IPL franchises, except a very small number, and except KP these sit on the benches. Presumably because all franchises consider English players poor players in subcontinent conditions (or just not good enough) and Aus and SA players are considered better. And the England team's record isnt great and supports this. Therefore the theory purported that we are all as competent in these conditions based on experience in the IPL is not quite right. Funny the reigning champions weren't mentioned. So I'll give it a go. English batsman are far better batsman against pace bowling, and these will be targeted, captains will need to rely on good spinners and using their seamers wisely. Variation in flight and pace in the England bowling unit will be ramped up to counter the brutal hitting of some of the batting line ups. Possibly Semi final spot. Looking forward to it.

Posted by cricket_fan_1980 on (September 15, 2012, 21:08 GMT)

My bet is on the Windies too. Gayle is in sublime form and is probably the most destructive T20 batsman around. They will also have a lot of passion and pride riding on this tournament, to try and reclaim their rightful place as one of the cricketing big boys again. Sri Lanka, Australia and England seem to have lost a bit of T20 oomph recently, but no one in their right mind can categorically write off any of these. Too many mercurial players in each of these sides. After the Windies though, the next two best contenders for me would be Pakistan and India. They understand this format better for a variety of reasons, have the firepower, and have enough at stake. India probably wants to cement its place as the true champions of limited overs cricket, whereas Pakistan want to fight the case that they desperately deserve to be back on the international touring schedules, at home. The dark horse, as usual, will be South Africa. If Amla is in form, the tournament can be good to them.

Posted by cheguramana on (September 15, 2012, 18:40 GMT)

Dhoni & Co will surely have high hopes for this tourney. After all this is where Dhoni had his first major success in 2007. After the battering of Test defeats in Eng and Aus, i believe India are mending well, after beating NZ 2-0 in tests. And now comes the format that Dhoni's boys really love, and play with freedom and passion. If Dhoni can whip up some of the 'fearless' cricket magic of a few years ago, they can very well win again this time !

Posted by Neuen on (September 15, 2012, 13:33 GMT)

The "news" coming out of Sri Lanka...... Do not believe they have already finished with the pitches cause a groundsman can go 2 days before a mathc take his hoover collect all the dust and add some water and other ingredients making it completely different. Sounds like a trick played by the home team to fool other teams. Seeing is believing as hearing is no evidence

Posted by menonspeak on (September 15, 2012, 12:42 GMT)

Harsha if 20/20 was an individual game west indies would win it hands down...extremely unpredictable nature of the game is anybody including Bangladesh can play more than spoilsport..so fingers crossed...my heart says India but I see Pakistan going very far...Let's see!!!

Posted by GRVJPR on (September 15, 2012, 11:49 GMT)

@Nrbavi pitiches might have changed in Sri Lanka, but its always the same team INDIA winning handsomely and thrashing SRI Lanka even without full squad at times

Posted by 512fm on (September 15, 2012, 11:48 GMT)

I'm not sure about most open tournament, I mean who on earth would have predicted England to win in 2010? T20 is what it is an absolute gamble, throwing a dice could give you a winner

Posted by   on (September 15, 2012, 11:39 GMT)

@youbasherscreatedme...???...Tamim may have a strike rate of around 100 in overall T20s but it was only just recently where he began to learn how to really play T20 and his 93* in SLPL debut with strike rate well over 150 is proof enough. Actually its hard to predict what sort of T20 score is good because it usually depends on the conditions. If you say the top top teams will able to score 150+ scores against Bangladesh then why were New Zealand bowled out in their 80s today against Australia considering the fact that New Zealand are ranked higher than Australia in T20s? hehe Afghanistan better than Bangladesh? can people actually stop with silly things like this because there's no evidence infact are you even aware that Bangladesh and Afghanistan have just met eachother in the Caribbean just look at what happened for yourself my friend. Bangladesh may have tiny players but they also have tall players like Mashrafe, Mahmudullah, Razzaq etc even Afghan, India etc have tiny players.

Posted by   on (September 15, 2012, 11:38 GMT)

AFGHAN WILL BEAT ENGLAND!! SRILANKA WILL LIFT THE TROPHY IN SHA ALLAH!!

Posted by   on (September 15, 2012, 10:40 GMT)

good comment ! recon good competition is t20 shud maake it to olyympics

Posted by Baundele on (September 15, 2012, 9:57 GMT)

West Indies have capable players; but as a team they do not perform well.

Posted by BoonBoom on (September 15, 2012, 9:53 GMT)

I would love to see India and Pakistan play the final..... no final of any tournament is complete if not played by either India or Pakistan....They are the real crowd puller!!

Posted by alihaider4053414 on (September 15, 2012, 9:44 GMT)

afghanistan and ireland can make it to super 8. asian teams are strong contendors south Africa can make it to the finals

Posted by   on (September 15, 2012, 8:56 GMT)

hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Posted by TheWayCrciketShouldBePlayed on (September 15, 2012, 8:32 GMT)

Harsha, Citing example of recent Kiwis victory over BCCI Team is irrelevant as the victory margin was just 1 run.Also, except Yuvraj, there is no single player who can hit 4s/6s when is matter the most/required the most, so India is not a great T20 Team. I am hoping the BCCI team will reach atleast Semis and after it's anybody's Game!

Posted by MMA1983 on (September 15, 2012, 8:18 GMT)

rightly said every team has good chance in this WT20 edition, still India has slight edge as its batsmen game, if it bats first can post huge total which can mentally demoralize opposition and it bats second opposition knows Indian capability to chase down total of any number,,,,,

Posted by AshrafGul_FU on (September 15, 2012, 8:11 GMT)

I was following Bangladesh-Zimbabwe practice match commentary. Tamim again showed he is an ordinary T-20 batsman. I think, his SR in T-20s is also very pathetic..100 something. After Shakib and Ashraful, who played well, got out, BD batsmen kept losing wickets. Since the target was not Big, they somehow managed to win. But if a team like Zim scored 130 odd runs against BD bowlers then just imagine how easy it would be for other nations to score at least 150-160 every time, they play BD. On the other hand, AFGHANISTAN is a way better team than BD. If BD have Shakib, Afghans have Nabi. Afghan players are tall, strongly built and look positive on ground unlike BD players. Also, Afghanistan is progressing with much better speed than that of BD. I put my money on WI for this WC though. If Not WI, then I would be happy to see Kallis holding trophy with a BIG smile on his face.

Posted by Electric_loco_class_WAP5-6000HP on (September 15, 2012, 8:10 GMT)

The aussies have another great chance to add the only piece of silverware missing from their trophy cabinet.This time they have a well balanced outfit,the most young pace pack in the world atm backed up by an outstanding fielding setup.The batting can have its issues with consistency although the opening pair of warner n watto will have a huge role to set big and damaging partnerships up top.the middle order,especially hussy*2,whiteand bailer gotta step up and stabilize on occasions where the top order fails.If the batting fires consistently, with the potency in bowling and fielding,the aussies are gonna be tough to over come for any other top teams. Watch out for the WIndies and Pak especially with their excellent record in world t20s overall.

Posted by   on (September 15, 2012, 8:10 GMT)

How about Ireland or Afghanistan winning the title.It would be great and surprising.......................................

Posted by QingdaoXI on (September 15, 2012, 8:10 GMT)

Sorry to say But Sri Lanka will nowhere in semi finalist spot Its India vs England and Pakistan vs West Indies and than Final between India and Pakistan, the team who will play best under the pressure will win. Best of Luck for India and Pakistan.

Posted by rickyvoncanterbury on (September 15, 2012, 7:34 GMT)

I apologise to the people of Bangladesh and Afghanistan for spelling misstakes.

Posted by Third_Gear on (September 15, 2012, 7:31 GMT)

All the teams has a chance to win the WC including INDIA,AFG and IRE. In the sub continent pitch over rated team like IND might try to take a chance.

Posted by   on (September 15, 2012, 7:24 GMT)

Pakistan has got some firepower in top order after inclusion of Imran Nazir and the best spin fast bowling combination of the world, but the only thing is unpredictability. I think all the four Asian sides (excluding Afghanistan) will be in semis.

Posted by veerakannadiga on (September 15, 2012, 6:41 GMT)

WI all the way. WI should win this WC with the firepower they have.As for the other teams, all are equally balanced (incl.BD,Ireland,Afghanistan,Zim).Any of the other teams could end runners up to WI.

Posted by crikcool on (September 15, 2012, 5:59 GMT)

All teams are evenly poised and every team has got their on chances but i do feel that as this is being held at sub continent even if the pitch have changed its normal flavor, sub-continent teams had got an edge over others. They all know the territory well and weather too being quite familiar. But moreover its a 20/20, whole scenario just changes in a whisker, so just keep your fingers crossed...............

Posted by arunmp3 on (September 15, 2012, 5:59 GMT)

india shud have selected one more quality fast bowler ( umesh yadav ) along with zaheer khan, when india won the t20 trophy sreesanth n rp singh were in red hot form and one f the stand out features of tournament was hw they defended a lowish total against south africa..........

india now has one f d best or infact the best batting line ups hope they expect bouncers this time around n smash it ...........

btw i m most exited abt grp of death

nz , pak ( both teams suited only fr t20), n bangladesh ( with exciting tamim n shakib)

Posted by   on (September 15, 2012, 5:21 GMT)

i m from pakistan and feel proud and happy to see the comments about pakistan and their chances in this world cup.. i think the average prediction from all these comments shows that pakistan india sri lanka and west indies will be semi finalist..

Posted by   on (September 15, 2012, 5:02 GMT)

Srilanka hav a all basic covered and they are the well unit as far as T20 is concern....srilanka sud win this WT20.....''' Best Of Luck'' ... "SRILANKA"""

Posted by sachinisawesome on (September 15, 2012, 5:00 GMT)

@ TeamblueRocks Awesome comments man. Please spare Srilankans anyway we are tired of defeating them. @ AhmedHussain Why r u so scared of India. I hope India wins as I support them but even if any other team wins it means they played better cricket than other teams. In the first t20 world cup, We showed the world how to play t20. In the history it will always be India who won the first worldcup.

Posted by Narbavi on (September 15, 2012, 4:51 GMT)

@tommytucker: That's total disrespect i am telling u, its not that these are meaningless t20 games, this is the world cup, and times have changed where u have to enjoy the essence of all 3 formats!!

Posted by SamRoy on (September 15, 2012, 4:46 GMT)

Oh by the way, even though I am an Indian I would rather support WI as long as Dhoni keeps playing luminaries like Ravindra Jadeja, Yusuf Pathan, Vinay Kumar , Ashok Dinda and Raina (in tests) and never give a chance to talented cricketers like Abu Nechim Ahmed, Parvinder Awana, Dhawal Kulkarni and Shami Ahmed (in tests) beside Rohit and Rahane in tests. I used to think national selection was based on ability not on captain's preference. Dhoni though, has proven me wrong.

Posted by landl47 on (September 15, 2012, 4:21 GMT)

Oops! I guess Harsha forgot to mention the reigning T20 champions in his assessment. You know, the side that beat Pakistan in the UAE and India in India the last time they played.

Posted by   on (September 15, 2012, 4:10 GMT)

india should be able to win this trophy considering the fact they have more than double the amount of people than any other test playing nation. But then again they might not win because you know what they say it quality not quantity.

Posted by cooljack_143 on (September 15, 2012, 4:06 GMT)

All the teams have loopholes..I think the team which has a balanced attack and GOOD FIELDING, gonna win this.Its UNFORTUNATE that SL is not producing SPIN friendly tracks this time being a subcontinent nation and I am sure its gonna regret for this.Likes of Eng,SA r gonna thrash subcontinent sides if bouncy pitches are on plate.But I see atleast 2 subcontinent sides going into semis with SL/IND(if MSDi doesn't do crazy stuff,like what he did against NZ) & PAK(well if they dont fall like they did against Aus).For PAK batting should click or else its gonna be abysmal for them,since we have already seen how poor their fielding is.Afridi cant save them every time.Moreover he isnt captain now, so he don't need much to prove to Pak,he was outstanding captain in WC last year. I sure like IND VS PAK finals..God bless these two teams,matter of fact CRICKET. MY all time favorites INDO-PAK anyday anywhere.

Posted by Marcian on (September 15, 2012, 4:02 GMT)

Draw lots and pick a winner, thats how fickle T20 cricket is; any of the top 6 to 7 teams have a realistic chance to win the world cup. Sub-continent teams no longer have a clear advantage because the wickets have changed. I wont be surprised if New Zealand go deep into the tournament. South Africa, Australia and England have a great opportunity to win as well. My heart says SL but my mind says a surprise winner.

Posted by   on (September 15, 2012, 3:47 GMT)

Excellent Article Harsha. The best I have read on any sporting article ever if I may say. Well done and keep up the good work!

Posted by   on (September 15, 2012, 3:34 GMT)

Pakistan are looking dangerous.. with best bowling unit in the world currently. They have Ajmal, Hafeez, Gul, Afridi... and dangerous batting line with Imran Nazir,K Akmal, U Akmal, A Razzaq, Nasir Jamshed, Boom Boom Afridi.. wow definitely they are the favouritses..

Posted by   on (September 15, 2012, 3:23 GMT)

As long as Bangladesh can play consistently and as a team then I see them going a long way. But this is gonna be a tournament to remember...gonna be close as hell matches and champions gonna probably be WI.

Posted by   on (September 15, 2012, 3:10 GMT)

lol indians, u r the most whitewashed team, everyone knows that, this time sri lankan side is more dangerous than yours, actually india is not a thing for sri lanka.

Posted by BravoBravo on (September 15, 2012, 2:49 GMT)

When writer make the comment "Two New Zealanders had beaten India playing an Indian game." It says all about his knowledge and ignorance about the game CRICKET. Which game you talking about Harsha B. Did monnows like IND or NZ invented the T20 game?

Posted by Sinhaya on (September 15, 2012, 2:44 GMT)

@sidh78, Sri Lanka have won a test series in NZ. We have drawn a test series in England too in 2006 1-1. Check your facts before

Posted by   on (September 15, 2012, 2:37 GMT)

I'll root for Bangladesh all the way. T20 is not as much a hit or miss as it used to be but anyone can have a great day or vice versa. On form, WI, SA, Pak and Eng hold the edge, which really means nothing as Ind, AUS, SL are pretty close to the other four. BD and NZ will have to rely on the "hit or miss" more then the others. That's 9 teams that could possibly win this. As for QFs, Afg, Ire, and Zim may sneak in thanks to "hit or miss" being 50-50, atleast once.

Posted by rickyvoncanterbury on (September 15, 2012, 2:31 GMT)

Bangledesh, Ireland, Afganistan, England semi finals

Posted by Andrabi10 on (September 15, 2012, 2:14 GMT)

very intresting tournament this id love to see pak win it but here is wat i think: Group a england and india will qualify but u never know with afghan they got better maybe they could surprise us. Group b west indies and ireland, dont think australia have much confidence after pak series.group c sri lanka and south africa will qualify and group d pakistan and bangladesh will qualify new zealand not in form nowadays but still like them. In super 8,Pakistan will qualify,south africa will qualify,sri lanka will qualify and i think india but WI have a chance. in semi i dont know the games but if pak face sa pak win as t20 records show but if pakface sri lanka then its 50 50 but if its pak vs india pak will def win trust me (sorry indian fans no offence:d) but if its sa vs sl then sl will win prob. and if its ind vs sl i think sl cause they can beat anyone from their back yard.But if its sa vs india sa might clinch it. final indvspak=pk sl vs sa=sl pkvsa=pk sl v ind=sl so pak or sl win paki

Posted by amdcr7 on (September 15, 2012, 1:37 GMT)

only one of the sub continent nation will come as a winner ..... No chance of any other could do it ...probably west indies may come nearer but they are not the team players ....

Posted by MejorRana on (September 15, 2012, 1:28 GMT)

Pakistan is all time favorite in T20. I think Pakistan will win this time if one from Sohel/Gul can perform parallel to Ajmal . Also batsman needs to step up a little bit from current stage. What is "Bore Mia" for!!!

Posted by   on (September 15, 2012, 1:11 GMT)

@samincolumbia Thats a bit harsh. England are the number one ODI team still, number one test team until they lost to SA and 20:20 champions. A good team though not likely to win again this time. Anyhow I will let the English pump their own team. WIndies might well go all the way or Aus ... but they will have to get past Ireland first. The restricted nature of the group games is designed to eliminate the associates but its a double edged sword and Ireland are no walk overs. Anyone who gets out of that group will have had to be on top of their game ...a bad day or even a bad few overs and Ireland will pounce. Ask Zim - Ireland just beat them (a test team) by 50+ runs scoring over 180. Not a bad day at the office - a test team hammered by a team with 6 county players in the top rankings of bowling and batting in 20:20 this year. The ICC would be happy for Ireland to lose both games and have the big boys move on but the may be disappointed - ask Pakistan or England - watch out!

Posted by   on (September 15, 2012, 0:59 GMT)

The warm up game was just rustiness. West Indies will make the semi at least!

Posted by Neuen on (September 15, 2012, 0:20 GMT)

The news coming out of Sri Lanka is that the pitches have a bit of the spice normally associated with the fish curries there; that the ball is allowed a decent carry in Pallekele, and that spinners of doubtful pedigree will have to do more than just turn a doorknob to get help from the pitches

So that means they haven't seen the wickets and you go on rumors? A spicey pitch in Sri Lanka is a gravel road which got hit by a sandstorm.

Posted by KFRITZ on (September 15, 2012, 0:14 GMT)

If you look at match winners the teams have, Aussies have Warner and Watson,, sa have ab ,kallis and steyn... Sl have mahela, Mathews and malingering, NZ have brendon,Taylor and oram, Windies have gayle, bravo and pollard , pak have afridi, Ajmal and hafeez... India have viru,virat ,yuvi ,Raina and Gg.. I feel India have one too many impact batsmen and that makes them favs anyday....England I feel will sorly miss kp and he was their real match winner...

Posted by MattyP1979 on (September 15, 2012, 0:04 GMT)

The fewer the overs the more luck is involved. Any team could win this and it should be a great WC. I still fancy the defending champs because im English. We seem to have most bases covered. But any team could do this including Ban/NZ/Aus. Lokking foward to a bit of hit and hope.

Posted by dulabhai on (September 14, 2012, 23:53 GMT)

As long as I can see Sri Lanka has a very good chance. India will probably be out after the first round with New Zealand. Australia will follow. Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan and West Indies will be in semis.

Posted by FadeToBlack on (September 14, 2012, 23:46 GMT)

As a Sri Lankan I think my team has a balanced squad and is one of the top contenders for the title. However the one team i am worried about is india as there batting line up is tremendous and the bowling line up not as bad as people make it out to be especially with the performances of Irfan and Ashwin over the recent past. Good luck to all teams and lets hope we have a good tournament.

Posted by KFRITZ on (September 14, 2012, 23:08 GMT)

Mark my words.... India,sa and Windies are the favs this time and this will be a very exciting world cup...especially the top 8 teams in the second round...

Posted by torsha on (September 14, 2012, 21:53 GMT)

LOL lots of people wishing that India shouldn't win this world T20 and that's the fear that India has produced. I'm sure WI, SA or India will win.

Posted by   on (September 14, 2012, 21:31 GMT)

As long as India don't win it then I'll be happy but I have a funny feeling that Sri Lanka or England will somehow do it.

Posted by FOTO on (September 14, 2012, 20:55 GMT)

I am a Bangladeshi and I will be happy if WI or SL win the t20 world cup :D

Posted by samincolumbia on (September 14, 2012, 20:37 GMT)

T20 is pure hit and miss...The very fact that this is the only trophy in England's cupboard that they have won in the last 50 years in a multi national tournament speaks volumes about the nature of the game.

Posted by Quddus-Mamu on (September 14, 2012, 20:23 GMT)

Bangladesh is in death group. If they can qualify for super8, they will do their best to make the semi. Bangladesh has the most balanced team ever.

Posted by   on (September 14, 2012, 20:19 GMT)

as a sri lankan fan i have a guard felling that we have a big chance to lift the trophy this time also west indies, pakistan and australi also have a good chance these team are the my favorite

Posted by MunafAhmed811 on (September 14, 2012, 19:42 GMT)

For all SL fans claiming to thrash India for decades - here are stats to support your theory. India has beaten Srilanka in ODI series as follows : In India in 1982/83 (3-0),1986-87(4-1),1990-91(2-1), 1993/94(2-1),2005/2006(6-1),2006/2007(2-1),2009/10(3-1). ...... India has also defeated SL in SL in1993 (2-1),2008(3-2),2008/09(4-1),2012(4-1).SL has beaten India only once 1997 (3-0) in SL only .

SL did kick out India out of world cup in 2007 ,1996 but in return India thrashed SL in 2003 and 1999 and defeated SL in final of 2011 Worldcup. I think these stats should be enough to send you guys into shell for next few decades till you guys catch up. Lets not even discuss test matches just because I am nice person and dont want you guys go :(.

Posted by Neuen on (September 14, 2012, 19:30 GMT)

I am going to say this. T20 is school yard hit and hope cricket. The one with the most luck will win it. All you do is cram 11 guys who can hit a ball far into a team and hope they can come off. The one winning this whole tournamnent will not be a world champion but the luckiest team on the field. On another day they might have lost. Cricket is already a game where one batsman or bowler can win a game for a poor team. With T20 they really should have played each other in the best of 2 legs and a third 10 over decider as tie break if they are 1 all at knock out time.

Only thing that is good about T20 these days is that it gives has beens longer time to play cricket before retiring

Posted by horzzz on (September 14, 2012, 18:57 GMT)

hope india,pakistan,westindies,southafrica reaches semi's and a dream final...

Posted by kc69 on (September 14, 2012, 18:50 GMT)

I would still say Mr.bhogle one of the subcontinental teams might just do it.

Posted by WTEH on (September 14, 2012, 18:23 GMT)

It is nice to see all these comments before a start of the tournament. But remember, this is in Sri Lanka. Not sure who'll be the champs but for sure Sri Lanka will be in the finals!!!

Posted by uablgmw on (September 14, 2012, 17:58 GMT)

lolz pak will won its favourite

Posted by UK_Chap on (September 14, 2012, 17:47 GMT)

abdulashikkhan.m : There is no need to get upset, The match your referring to when he smashed Bresnan was an ODi match not T20, West Indies went on to lose the match. Gayle was hitting the sixes off a medium pacer, Swann the spinner came on and within two overs Gayle was gone. I am not being rude about the West Indies, I like them too, it would be good for world cricket in general if they won. I am also a realistic person, they simply do not have the batting to take on the quality and class of world spinners that will be in Sri Lanka for the World T20. They also lack world class bowlers, Narine and Bishoo excluded. In the three previous world T20 tournaments , they only managed the semi final once in England. Even when they were playing at home they failed to reach the semi `s . my previous comment was a little harsh in tone but it was not meant to upset you. If i did, Please accept my apology.

Posted by tommytucker on (September 14, 2012, 17:22 GMT)

Wake me up when its over, the real cricket will begin with SA vs Oz in the test match series. That separates the boys from the ladies. Have a nice slog!!

Posted by   on (September 14, 2012, 17:08 GMT)

no home advantage??? lol You seriously haven't seen RPS when Sri Lankans are playing

Posted by sidh78 on (September 14, 2012, 16:57 GMT)

@siri12345 sl team just won few matches in aus eng team that also at recent time.but sl never won a major tournament or series there. u r just happy to reach in second stage or final,but never won there.sl not won a single test in aus till date.sl never won a test series in aus eng nz.but india won 3 wc on fast and bouncy pitches.50-1983-eng,t20-2007-SA,u-19-2012-Aus.cb series -2008-aus.nest west series-2001-eng(chased record 326 runs).test series in eng-2007.in nz 2010.testS in aus.draw series in SA-2011.and FAMOUS HOBART run chase of 321 runs in just 36 over agaist so called good bowling attack.(malinga so called worlds best bowler thrashed by virat by econo. 13 word record for bowler)

Posted by Badgerofdoom on (September 14, 2012, 16:54 GMT)

Indian game? Who invented T20?

Posted by   on (September 14, 2012, 16:48 GMT)

The West Indies have the batting and fielding but still have a few weak links in the bowling. The last 4 ? Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and South Afrixa.

Posted by denessa on (September 14, 2012, 16:45 GMT)

I WOULD BE VERY HAPPY IF THE WINDIES CAN WIN THIS WORLD 20 20 .......I MUST WISH THE TEAM ALL THE BEST ......

Posted by cyberstudent on (September 14, 2012, 16:44 GMT)

@ProdigyA I wish SA do better this time in world level tournament, but the history is in front of you.

Posted by bMike on (September 14, 2012, 16:39 GMT)

Of course it's open not only for mighty teams like South Africa, England , Australia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan , New Zealand , West Indians but also teams like Bangladesh and Afghanistan can be dangerous. Even India might get a chance here.

Posted by fr600 on (September 14, 2012, 16:36 GMT)

Pak, SA, ENG are the likeliest winner of this tournament. Others are equally weak.

Posted by JimDavis on (September 14, 2012, 16:26 GMT)

It's T20 - It's always open. If you looked at all the T20 world cups, does any team come out with consistent results. England and Australia made the final in the West Indies, yet in the World Cup before it, Australia didn't get out of their group and England lost to the Netherland....at home!

Posted by superstar100 on (September 14, 2012, 15:54 GMT)

i think diffrent zim, afgan, Ire, Bangla will be in semi's Lol !!!

Posted by   on (September 14, 2012, 15:41 GMT)

Best Bat : India Best bowl :Pakistan Best allround : Sri Lanka all west indies hopes are depend on GAYLE.. SL is a not favourite for him.. i think this time surely IND, SL or PAK ...not WI

Posted by Syed_imran_abbas on (September 14, 2012, 15:39 GMT)

Its true that this is going to be an very open WC. first because all the teams look quite balance and second the nature of format which can change game in anyones favour. SL to me is going to be fav. Pakistan must play less bowlers and more batmans and allrounders. they also need to arrange their batting order. Kamran must open with Nazir or Jamshed.

Posted by   on (September 14, 2012, 15:29 GMT)

India and West Indies look much better side than Australia and other teams who are contesting. For India, the middle order is packed with fire-house till Ashwin. So, there's no question of scoring more than 180 runs. The interesting thing is, hwo Dhoni will marshal his resources and also, it's going to be interesting to see whether Bhajji would find a place in the squad. If the wickets that are prepared are slow, then chances are bright for Dhoni and his men to win the title with the same XI which played against NZ. Or else, he has to bring Harbhajan instead of Rohit, to have some experience in the spin department, to bowl under crisis.

Posted by   on (September 14, 2012, 15:28 GMT)

let me predict the result of t20 wc 2012 , gonna be tough competition, pakistan will win the cup 3 probables are paksitan-west indies-england

Posted by andrew27994 on (September 14, 2012, 15:27 GMT)

My guesses on who is going to win this World Cup would be either: England (plenty of T20 specialists who have had some exposure recently in Sri Lanka) or India(because they have Yuvraj and an unstoppable Kohli, and quite a lot of Indian supporters are criticising the team and have less expectations on them which usually lets the players play without pressure) As for West Indies, they may look the most strongest and most consistent team but if they have a bad day during the crunch stages, which is bound to happen, they will be eliminated. In my opinion, I don't think South Africa's squad is strong enough to win mainly because of the batting order and especially due to the reason South Africa always seem to rely on Amla and de Villiers to score their runs.

Posted by   on (September 14, 2012, 15:24 GMT)

@cricfala:This is a very balanced article and if there is any negativity involved its in ur comments.harsha clearly said pakisthan team has the most balanced bowling attack which is the key to winning this T20.whats wrong in mentioning about the recent pak debacle as their batting lineup is indeed very brittle against quality bowling attack.Still i believe pakisthan,South Africa and West indies clearly look more dangerous than the rest.All the best to India though!!

Posted by   on (September 14, 2012, 15:24 GMT)

Harsha Bhogle... Umm, "Indian Game"??? I didn't even bother reading the rest of the article once I saw THAT!

Posted by Jawed_Saleem on (September 14, 2012, 15:21 GMT)

As usual, you are spot on. Uncertainty ( in cricket ) in inversely proportional to duration of the game - shorter the game, higher the uncertainty ! It would be naïve to read too much into the past and/or recent performances/stats/results. This T20 is going to be "fiercely competitive" affair and "all" the major teams hold valid chances. Even the Irish cannot be ruled out. Agree with you wrt India's bowling probs. in "crunch overs ( 15-20 )" -BUT "KOHLI" CAN WIN ALL THE MATCHES & The Cup for India ! Mind tells me in order of preference : 1) England 2) West Indies 3) South Africa 4) India *** whereas heart firmly remains with Pakistan to repeat the dose ( remember - the uncertainty factor ) !

Posted by NaniIndCri on (September 14, 2012, 15:20 GMT)

@ProdigyA I think SA will always have a chance, but their batting is a real worry. Just Amla alone cannot win the matches single handed all the time. Even though we cannot take much from the England T20's the batting order is not yet settled, Players like Duplesis, Ontong, Parnell, Levi and ABD are all out of form. ABD is not a full time keeper and that might hurt SA, like in last match where he missed Kieswetter stumping. They have a very good bowling attack, but that does not ensure wins all the time especially in a T20. I hope they use Kallis well, he will be the key for SA who can hold one end and on slow pitches that is very important. But sending him down the order like they did in England will not be of any help.

Posted by mndm on (September 14, 2012, 15:17 GMT)

@ ProdigyA : S.A might have the best bowling attack but the potency of this attach is constrained by geographical limitations. they perform well in bowler friendly conditions such as in their home country, new zealand, england etc..but they will struggle in subcontitent because among all the top sides, S.A has the least threatning spinners..even bangladesh spin attack is far better than south africa's...thats why nobody is mentioning S.A

Posted by   on (September 14, 2012, 15:14 GMT)

I definitely think that Pakistan are favourites

Posted by NaniIndCri on (September 14, 2012, 15:12 GMT)

@cricfala He was actually discussing about Australia rather than Pakistan, there is nothing negative about Pakistan actually. He was just mentioning how unpredictable T20 games are.

Posted by   on (September 14, 2012, 15:05 GMT)

Whoever predicts with certainty any team taking the cup is either extremely naive to the unpredictability of the nature of the game or blindly patriotic. The lottery that is t20 has only one certainty, and that is to give prominence to ignorant hip-shooters. The winner as mentioned earlier, would be dependant on luck during the course of the tournament and in no way could justify being the best in the world.

Posted by rock.rockyin on (September 14, 2012, 15:02 GMT)

India and SA are favourites.

Posted by khurramsch on (September 14, 2012, 14:57 GMT)

yes agree very much open tournment and also its the format which can be won by any one on day . i hope there will be no rains to make matches worse.

Posted by rock.rockyin on (September 14, 2012, 14:44 GMT)

I dont believe Harsha's predictions. OMG when India started it trip to Aus for 4 tests he said similarly that he cannot choose who is favourite. Both are equally placed etc etc etc .Harsha pls dont guess the future. Pls analyze/comment on what you see.

Posted by perl57 on (September 14, 2012, 14:44 GMT)

Let us hope 75% of the matches go to the wire.

Posted by Faizan_Bahadur on (September 14, 2012, 14:42 GMT)

@ Ravinder Singh: its strange that you are sending me the commentary link but didnt bother to check it yourself first.

Posted by   on (September 14, 2012, 14:36 GMT)

I will be the happiest person on earth if windies win the t20 world cup

Posted by abdulashikkhan.m on (September 14, 2012, 14:33 GMT)

@UK_Chap... I have watched each and every team playing t20 cricket more than u do i hope.. I dint come to a conclusion using ipl alone boss. how many matches have happened for west indies since gayle return? and how many did they win? with narine in their side they have a mystery spinner apt for t20 cricket in srilanka. did u see gayle hitting sixes against ur very own bresnan boss? we all saw.. we even saw england struggling against robin peterson a good spinner but not world class. so please say, wat u know more than wat i said..!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Rahulbose on (September 14, 2012, 14:30 GMT)

The field is open not because of team skills or familiarity with sub-continent. It is open because they are playing T20. Harsha obviously can't bring himself to admit the truth about T20s so can only hint at it with the Aus vs Pak recent results.

Posted by   on (September 14, 2012, 14:23 GMT)

This is article makes sense, but T20 is a funny format of cricket. Its almost similar to american football. You think the N.Y giants will murder the Dallas cowboys in New York, but they lost. T20 is similar. Their is chance that Bangladesh can beat the World Champion's India. But in saying that this is still the sub-continent. The pitches might have little bit of juice to offer but it will still turn for the most part of time. Innovation and unorthodox is the mantra to win in Sri Lanka. Power hitting and star studded line ups wont get you anywhere. We saw that in the warm up between S.L & W.I, 9 wicket win to S.L. Boundaries are long and weather conditions are harsh. Concentration can be lost quickly. Sri Lanka and India are the favorites to win. India with the perfect batting balance and satisfying bowling. Sri Lanka looks the unit with 3 genuine all rounders. W.I , PAK & S.A have a fair chance but these teams haven't played to their potential in big tournaments, but you never know.

Posted by Selassie-I on (September 14, 2012, 14:22 GMT)

Again another article of Harsha's that I disagree with many commnets, he points out the the IPL is in it's 5th year, the UK's T20 tourney is actually in it's 10th! The reason that the rankings are of little significance is that it's t20 we're playing here where 30 miutes of brilliance wins a match, or one team has to domingate for the same length of time as a session or a test match, not 3 or 4 full days so any match is wide open. WI are cetainly not to be underestimated, my pick for the tourney.

Posted by rahulcricket007 on (September 14, 2012, 14:12 GMT)

HARSHA IT WAS BECAUSE OF DHONI INDIA LOST THE MATCH IF DHONI WOULD NOT HAVE COME ON NO.5 THEN INDIAN WOULD HAVE EASILY WON .

Posted by   on (September 14, 2012, 13:59 GMT)

i dont know why subcontinent fans are afraid of harsha being right...if harsha is right then it is very good because A)Competition is good for cricket as that's what every fan want to see.good and entertaining cricket. B)If the conditions are universal and even then either of india,SL or pak wins then no one will say that a flat track bully team has won. But the thing i am afraid of is that if and when one of these three teams wins ,the overseas fans will have some useless excuse ready anyway,trying to prove desperately that champion didn't deserve to win just because they don't simply don't know how to except their defeats.

Posted by Badgerofdoom on (September 14, 2012, 13:58 GMT)

Anyone can win, I'm picking SL, PAK, SA and Eng in the semis with England to win. A lot of people are backing WI and Eng beat them 2-0 without KP. Also their problems playing in slow and low conditions didn't seem so bad when they beat Pak 2-1 in UAE and India 1-0 in India. Also I think Ireland might cause a shock.

Posted by   on (September 14, 2012, 13:55 GMT)

I will be extremely happy if West Indies win. I will be happier if they dominate T20. West Indies need to dominate something to get back on track

Posted by cricfala on (September 14, 2012, 13:53 GMT)

Harsha: you are a nice analyst and writer but I found most of the time in your articles showing some negative picture of Pakistan Cricket e.g. Pak vs Aus last T20 as an example you mentioned which was not neccassry for this article.

Posted by ProdigyA on (September 14, 2012, 13:45 GMT)

Isnt it funny that nobody here is talking about SA. No.1 team in both Test and ODI's (almost), best bowling attack, Hash in the form of his life and yet nobody talks about SA. What a pity.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (September 14, 2012, 13:39 GMT)

I'm afraid that this WT20 could turn out to be a debacle, with scattered thunderstorms the forecast right through the tournament. It might turn into the WF5 or perhaps every game should just be a super over. It would be a shame if all the preparation ended up being all but for nothing.

Posted by   on (September 14, 2012, 13:39 GMT)

Still, the matches are being played in the Sub-Continent, where South Asians still rules with magical wrists - batting and bowling. Of-course, this is WI best chance of winning a major tournament since - mmmmm , I don't known when ! All in all, India and Pakistan will be very hard to beat. Bowling is king. Bowling will win this tournament, and WI only have a dangerous 4 overs in their matches, those of Narine. The other 16 will get a lot of stick.

Posted by SamRoy on (September 14, 2012, 13:35 GMT)

@Harsha nobody in their right minds will pick Fidel Edwards ahead of Roach or Rampaul. That guy has been a perennial failure. Simply put an overrated cricketer. But I think SL is slight favourites ahead of WI as it is played in SL. India (can't bowl) and Pakistan (can't bat) round off the other favourites. Australia will be the next in line but the lack of a quality spinner is their biggest hindrance as well as their ability against spin bowling. England, SA and NZ might do well but won't win.

Posted by kkk999 on (September 14, 2012, 13:33 GMT)

totally agree with harsha.... even ireland and afganistan have a chance 2 qualify... hope so this world cup produces some nail bitting finishes......

Posted by ravi_hari on (September 14, 2012, 13:31 GMT)

If cricket is a game of glorious uncertainities, T20 is ridiculously unpredictable. In that sense Harsha's point on anybody's cup is valid. What we have seen in IPL and CL20 one cannot bank on form or trends to predict a T20 result. A team can fail to score 42 runs in 49 balls with 7 batsmen in hand, like India did against NZ at Chennai. A team can be shot out for 74 like Pak was. A team can score over 200 and can still loose the game. So, picking a winner is the most difficult thing. All the competing teams have a chance to win. Only inexperience might halt an Ireland or Zimbabwe from winning it. It also does not matter who is in the team. Gayle might just flop and someone unknown can be the match winner. I feel not much to write about the T20 world cup. A team can win with just 15 mins of good cricket. It is masala cricket and let us just enjoy it. Whoever wins do not necessarily make the cut in Tests or ODIs. Though England achieved it last year and SA are on the verge of doing it!

Posted by Numerouno9 on (September 14, 2012, 13:27 GMT)

I think India, Pakistan, WI and England will reach the semis.

Posted by Nampally on (September 14, 2012, 13:23 GMT)

Yes, this is a wide open field for any of the teams to grab the title. Unlike other formats, T-20 requires a few swings over the fence to make a relatively ordinary team the Champions. On the other hand if these shots end up as catches on the fence the same team looks like huge Losers too. But a team which has most of the organized hitters who can place the ball in gaps rather than swing wildly will be the winners. Alternately a team with most organized bowlers who do not let these big hitters have their way wins the match. Every team has such guys but WI with Gayle & Narine pose the biggest threat. Pakistan's spinners are great but their batting is poor.England has great pace bowlers + some young hitters. But if they are without KP, they have no chance. India has Kohli, Raina & Dhoni but with poor bowling they will find it tough- with just batting! SL has the home advantage but lack the punch. Aussies are average. The team with the most consistent form & grit will win the "lottery".

Posted by Herath-UK on (September 14, 2012, 13:21 GMT)

Kudos to Sri Lanka for preparing such spicy wickets where there is an equal battle between bat and ball.They have dismissed the narrow aim of winning the cup with spinning wickets. Ranil Herath - Kent

Posted by   on (September 14, 2012, 13:19 GMT)

Many are posting Harsha Bhogle got his stats wrong. They are looking at first 35 balls. What Harsha Bhogle meant was at the end of 13th over Australia needed 80 runs in 36 balls. They have made it 35 balls. Hussy was amazing in that match.

Posted by Marcio on (September 14, 2012, 13:15 GMT)

And the WI couldn't beat AUS in their home conditions (1-1 - then they lost the tests), so yet another reason to throw away the idea that outcomes will favour only teams who play at home on dry, flat spinner-friendly pitches.

Posted by Marcio on (September 14, 2012, 13:12 GMT)

I'm afraid Harsha is correct. Some fans from the sub-contiment are reading from an outdated map. So many saying that PAK, IND and SL are certain to make the semis, with other teams making up the numbers. This is parochial at best, silly at worst. AUS, SA and NZ all have many players with lots of experience and success in the sub-continent. Hell, IND has never beaten NZ in 4 T20 internationals, so why should we believe IND is a shoe-in and NZ a write-off? ENG is the only one of the major 'outside' teams without too much experience in the sub-continent, so they will be at a disadvantage. Yes, there will be an advantage to sub-continenet teams, but it will only be small advantage. Remember, PAK just lost an ODI series to AUS in super spin-friendly conditions the UAE, and pipped them by the smallest possible margin in the T20s (1 run in a super over). It's an open field.

Posted by manisacumen on (September 14, 2012, 13:04 GMT)

Yes, this is the most open world cup; but wait - not for Harsha's reasons. But because, any team can win this, even Ireland and Aghanistan. Though the last two may winning is a little far fetched, I won't be surprised if Bongs or Zims lift the WC. T20 is a great leveller. And the teams that are on display are no minnows. India and Australia will do well to belittle the minnows Afg and Ireland onlAy at their own peril. And if by complacency these two lose even one match against the minnows, they can crash out. Then the super six or qfinals will be easy for other giants and for these two so called minnows too, if they clear the first hurdle. I am at wits end to decide the champion. But I would go with West Indies. They seem to have all the answers. Gayle should and will come to the party in crucial matches. But he can't do it every match. The others have to chip in too when he fails. As for India, I am not confident of their bowling. And Dhoni's self doubting methods ....

Posted by   on (September 14, 2012, 13:01 GMT)

My Semifinal prediction - Zimbabwe - Bangladesh - Afghanistan - Ireland. the final? ....far too close to call!

Posted by   on (September 14, 2012, 12:50 GMT)

Assuming no upsets are there in group stage- super eight groups are - IND,SA,PAK,AUS. and SL,WI,ENG,NZ. I see only 2 upsets happening- Ireland replacing aus or ban replacing pak/nz

Posted by bilalqureshi7232 on (September 14, 2012, 12:50 GMT)

Hmmmm if its the most open T20 WC ever than it has to be good

Posted by   on (September 14, 2012, 12:45 GMT)

Simple equation is that because its in Srilanka.. Srilankan team is the most favourite one in this WC 2012. But saying that, it is important to mention that they will only survive on Sanga, Mahela and Malinga and the only team that can survive these 3 blows is Pakistan. Pak has ajmal and everyone knows he is the only match winner every one can put their money on. So he can easily dismantle Sanga and Mahela. Regarding Malinga, Nazir, Hafeez, Jamshed and Akmal bros can hit him a long way so no problem with that. India cud be a good team bcz they can hit malinga but they dont have bowling power to dismiss sanga and mahela so a little tough in those conditions. No chance for WI, Eng, Aus, SA or NZ as there bowling and batting seems not striking on those conditions with bowlers like, Gul, Ajmal, Malinga, hafeez, afridi or even Ashwin (he is actually terrible). All in all, if Pak donot self-destruct themselves, they are going to rule this tournament for sure. My money on them. Cheers

Posted by amit180171 on (September 14, 2012, 12:43 GMT)

indeed totally agree with harsha ..this world cup belongs to west indies and it will also help revive cricket in the once all mighty all conquering west indies...

Posted by Charlie101 on (September 14, 2012, 12:34 GMT)

but for the IPL I would agree with a number of posts that a subcontinent team would win . The stars of the IPL will be the stars of the World Cup and both SA and WI have plenty of game changers in the shape of both batsmen and bowlers who are comfortable with the conditions and give a great balance to the teams. There is a weakness in the Indian bowling and the Pakistani batting and really only Sri Lanka has the balance of WI or SA but are dependant on a fit Malinga. I have to back England , more in hope than expectation but if we lose I am certain we will not use KP as an excuse as we have played well all season without him.

Posted by Narbavi on (September 14, 2012, 12:33 GMT)

@ GRVJPR: you are the own who needs to be careful with what u say, harsha is actually spot on in this article, 2007 was the first ever world cup, so we didn't have an idea, that's why he picked this as the most open, and pitches in sl have changed, everyone noticed it in the recent series, they may not be centurion or kingsmead or whatever, but they have certainly started assisting swing more than spin!!

Posted by ElBeeDubya on (September 14, 2012, 12:31 GMT)

Which World T20 so far was won by the side that was expected to win it? Anyone? Anyone?? Bueller?? Bhogle??

Posted by crickstats on (September 14, 2012, 12:24 GMT)

@Ravinder Sing: http://www.espncricinfo.com/world-twenty20-2010/engine/match/412702.html?view=comparison Faizan_Bahadur is right

Posted by   on (September 14, 2012, 12:21 GMT)

Hehe!West Indies lost to Sl in warmup but thats just warmup

Posted by Marcio on (September 14, 2012, 12:19 GMT)

@arup_g "Pakistan - they look very strong with young blood... Australia just have a weak team". So, how do you explain the fact that the margin of victory for PAK in the recent series at PAK's spin-paradise home ground was exactly 1 run - the last game PAK lost by 95 runs? LOL. Perception is a strange thing, and reality sometimes gets in the way. A more logical conclusion from that series is that PAk and AUS are evenly matched when the game are played in the UAE. In SL, I expect the grounds to favour AUS more than PAK.

Posted by   on (September 14, 2012, 12:14 GMT)

Finals india vs srilanka.

Posted by Hammond on (September 14, 2012, 12:12 GMT)

@Tufey_Fatos that may be so, but I also happen to know that hardly anyone in England or Australia will be watching so no harm done. This form of the game is as boring as watching a freezer defrost.

Posted by lion69sl on (September 14, 2012, 12:01 GMT)

no need to mention it mr.Harsha Bhogle,every T20 game is a open game,the team who do lesser mistakes will win the match..

Posted by   on (September 14, 2012, 11:48 GMT)

forget ab8 england, australia...england has made d biggest mistake by leaving kp....as an indian my heart goes wid india..but dis tym my mind goes wid harsha i.e westindies...dey have gr8 match winners...south africa will be a dark horse similar to india in 2007 world cup...

Posted by Syed_imran_abbas on (September 14, 2012, 11:46 GMT)

Very tough group for pakistan. as they gather momentum rather slowly in tournament, this time they will have to be on toes from very first match. I hope they play asad shafeeq in middle order to play younus like role in 2009 cup.

Posted by   on (September 14, 2012, 11:40 GMT)

As a pakistani I want Pakistan to win but will not mind if W.I get the cup :)

Posted by BCCI007 on (September 14, 2012, 11:38 GMT)

Hope Irfan Pathan will lead INDIA to another T20 World Cup..Chak De India..

Posted by   on (September 14, 2012, 11:38 GMT)

IF AFRIDI CUD PERFORM WID BAT AND BALL HELL NO BUDDY CNT STOP THEM TO GRAB A TROPHY LIKE HE DID IN SEMI AND FINAL SINGLE HANDED MATCH

Posted by   on (September 14, 2012, 11:37 GMT)

Well as per my Thinkings India England and Australia are the Hot Fav for this World T20, because they are the balanced side in Bowling and batting as well..

Posted by sharidas on (September 14, 2012, 11:34 GMT)

Windies winning it would be very nice indeed and I hope they do. As for England, I feel Stuart Broad is not the right choice for the Captains job.

Posted by Z.Saleem on (September 14, 2012, 11:31 GMT)

my prediction: as in the Super 8s there will be eight teams who will play in G1 and G2 groups, where I think in G1 there will be Sri Lanka, NZ, India, and WI whereas in G2 there will be: PAK, SA, Eng, Australia. Out of these the top two from each group will go through, and my prediction says that it will be Sri Lanka, India, England and Pakistan. In the Semi-finals Sri Lanka will play England, and Pak will play India (classic match)......so the finalists yes you guessed it right.....will be Sri Lanka and India and this time Sri Lanka will win!

Posted by   on (September 14, 2012, 11:31 GMT)

Totally Unpredictable Tournament. no buddy can predict that who will be the Winner of this World T20. i think So the England and India and Australia Can win this T20, because they looks better rather then others as a Solid Side..

Posted by adillove on (September 14, 2012, 11:27 GMT)

@Naresh28: I agree with Naresh one mistake can ruin a match and one good batting performance can win any match and we can say that almost all the teams have at least one player who can win the match with the bat!

Posted by yorkshirematt on (September 14, 2012, 11:27 GMT)

Great article. T20 is notoriously difficult to predict but I can't see past an exact repeat of the ODI world cup with the same teams in the final and the same winners. Pakistan would be my dark horses. Looking at the way the the tournament may pan out I can see England somehow sneaking through to the semis where they will lose to India, and goodness knows who SL will play in their semi (out of Aus, SA and Pak who will make up the suoer 8 group with SL if everything goes to form) Anyway I can't wait. It should be an excellent tournament. Despite having misgivings at first I really enjoy T20 although maybe Yorkshire's run in the english t20 comp has something to do with that.

Posted by   on (September 14, 2012, 11:26 GMT)

I am hoping to see England; Australia; West Indies or Nuzeland winning the cup!

Posted by sharidas on (September 14, 2012, 11:22 GMT)

Very true. Its hard to point out a potential winner this time. Even the Irish are quite a capable team

Posted by   on (September 14, 2012, 10:59 GMT)

@Faizan_Bahadur they got 80 in 35 balls you are wrong http://www.espncricinfo.com/world-twenty20-2010/engine/match/412702.html?innings=2;page=1;view=commentary check the link n u'll know about it

Posted by   on (September 14, 2012, 10:55 GMT)

for me west indies and and the indians are the potential favorites due to thir strong batng line up and for all those who thnk that gayle is just an ipl plyar than for u that guy has got 2 triple tons more than or equal 20 odi hundreds and 1 t20 ton , telling that the team depends on him is one thng but takng him out of the contention of the most dangerous batsmen in the world wud be wrong! best of luck team pakistan :) u r the unpredictables !

Posted by Tufey_Fatos on (September 14, 2012, 10:54 GMT)

Who ever might win but England and Australia will have their way back to home as fast as possible,Lol =p

Posted by g.narsimha on (September 14, 2012, 10:51 GMT)

JAHIDSALTIN -CAN u enlighten what the secret in INDIA bieng favourite u asserted every one knows but we dont know what is it.tel the cricket world

Posted by   on (September 14, 2012, 10:49 GMT)

with gr8 respect to harsha but the last two lines seem incorrect to me . Gayle and company are far behind strong teams and predicting their win is ridiculous .At most WI can upset one team and make it to semis but not more . Real contest would be among asian teams . I don think chokers have some chance but i have always gr8 respect for two australian neighbours AUS & NZ .

Posted by Faizan_Bahadur on (September 14, 2012, 10:29 GMT)

Harsha has got his stats wrong.In the semi final against Pakistan in 2010,Australia didnt scored 80 runs in 6 six overs.They actually scored 60 runs in 8 overs.

Posted by GRVJPR on (September 14, 2012, 10:15 GMT)

I completely disagree with Harsha Bhogle here. For me the T-20 at South Africa 2007 has been the most open WC T20 . The final there saw two subcontinent teams, India and Pakistan competing against each other. And if no surprises occur it will again be India VS Pakistan. I think Harsha bhogle has to be careful with his articles. Sometimes he declared 'Cupboard is Empty' and now because some of sri lankan fans are saying that out pitches have changed harsha has blown another trumpet. Sri lankan pitches might have changed a bit but they are not 'Kingsmead', 'Centurion' or 'WACA' by any means. Three semi-finalists will be India, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan, while the fourth could be WI or New Zealand. South africa will choke at quarter final stage, englkand will go out with excuse that there was no KP and australia with excuse that we are in a transition state.

Posted by   on (September 14, 2012, 10:11 GMT)

I totally disagree. Which t20 tournament had sure favorites? Were India the predicted favorites in the opening world cup or were pakistan or england? Infact were the winners of sri lanka league, IPL, or even bangladesh league were favorites before the tournament? The pitches around the world have become slower and more batsmen friendly with a degree here and there. The nature of the game itself is unpredictable. There can be no comparison between t20 tournaments for one being more open than the other.

Posted by Naresh28 on (September 14, 2012, 10:09 GMT)

The BEST TEAM ON DAY will win the cup. Big teams could be left by the wayside. It's the type of game where one mistake will lead to a crash out.

Posted by 100_rabh on (September 14, 2012, 10:04 GMT)

If T-20 was so unknown in earlier world cups that playing conditions would have played very important part, why did India and Pakistan won in S Africa and England respectively. If anything, earlier world cups (t-20) were more uncertain than the current version. Wrong to say that this is the most open t-20 WC. When you play a WC every 2 year, you got to have a new winner each time. When test no. 1 rankings are changing so fast, forget the t-20 throne; if anyone really cares!!

Posted by UK_Chap on (September 14, 2012, 10:00 GMT)

abdulashikkhan.m : You clearly have not watched any other teams play T20 cricket if you think that W. Indies are going to even reach the final, let alone win. I sincerely hope your not delusions are not based on how well certain individual West Indian players play in the IPL.

Posted by   on (September 14, 2012, 9:57 GMT)

If there is anybody that can turn the tournament around, it has to be Pakistan. They have gone on to be in two consecutive finals and three consecutive semi-finals. It won't be a surprise if they come in again this time. But as Harsha reiterated, it could be anybody's game, but i too would really like it if Windies took the cup this time. And another good team, that deserves a place in the final would be Sri Lanka, they have been in three world finals since 2007, but never able to cross the final hurdle. As a revival of West Indian cricket would bring to its fan, a cup will surely put a smile across the Sri Lankan diaspora as well. All said and done, there is the dynamic South Africa, we need to watch out for. I believe its gonna be Pakistan, South Africa, West Indies and Sri Lanka in the final four, if that is a possibility.

Posted by Hardy1 on (September 14, 2012, 9:43 GMT)

Usually I support India but I don't know why but I really couldn't care less who wins this tournament, just wanna see some good cricket. A New Zealand, Bangladesh or more likely West Indies having their chance under the sun would be nice to see. Hell, even Ireland are ranked above Australia in the T20 rankings (perhaps things like that are the reason why I don't follow T20I's with any seriousness).

Posted by   on (September 14, 2012, 9:26 GMT)

i cant believe these so called expert are talking about WU, these indian experts and fans think just bcoz of WU guys are ipl stars they can rule the world is well lmao, its very easy to an international side to set a plan and get these so called big hitters out, not like in ipl gayle wont get bad bowlers to hit sixes, and pollard hardly score runs even in ipl, i bet ireland will beat them ,WU have being fooled horribly by these indians , i feel sad for them, by adding a favorites tag for them,

Posted by   on (September 14, 2012, 9:25 GMT)

India all the way... cant think about India losing...come on yuvi, guys, lets kick some a**

Posted by   on (September 14, 2012, 9:15 GMT)

congralution to india for another worldcup title .i don,t know how many more worlcups they will win.After all money matters

Posted by Vibhanu on (September 14, 2012, 9:14 GMT)

NO HOME ADVANTAGE??oh my god Harsha..All the batsman in the world have hardly played in these sri lankan new grounds where Sri lankans have played a lot..Most of the teams won't be able to contain Hambantota wind,Understand Pallekelle pace and Kettharama bounce,where Sri lanka will ..Not like in anywhere,Sri Lankan fans will back their team which is well balanced,experienced and ambitious to win the world cup..

Posted by Nutcutlet on (September 14, 2012, 9:07 GMT)

Of course it's wide open; almost any team can win this one because luck plays a greater part in T20 than in any other format. There are, however, areas in which the element of luck can be reduced: ground fielding & catching, and running between the wickets. In these fitness areas, the more professional & athletic outfits should have the edge. Wicket-keepers are vital in this respect as they set the tone for the snappiness in the field. The contribution made by sundries/extras is too often overlooked when reviewing a close contest. Then there is the contentious matter of DRS. Are we to have the undoubted advantage of referrals to minimise howlers in this tournament? If there are uncorrected wrong decisions that prove critical to the outcome of any particular game, this will tarnish the quality of the whole show. 20 overs is short enough. Let's hope that rain doesn't significantly reduce that number & consequently turn proceedings into a total farce. Whoever wins will be lucky somewhere.

Posted by   on (September 14, 2012, 8:59 GMT)

To Vikum72 : ICC rankings are coined exactly to judge a consistent team.But in world cups other than consistency,few other qualities like mindset,pressure comes into picture.Classic example is SA.For almost 2 decades they are a top international side,aptly the No1 test team today.But when it comes to WC they are so brittle.Great teams have all these qualities.For the same reason Aus team of 2000 decade are rated so highly.They topped the ICC rankings and won 3 world cups on a trot.

Posted by   on (September 14, 2012, 8:59 GMT)

its funny to see many people nt even naming Sri lanka as a favorite, we were always underrated and underestimated!!..but Sri lanka made last 2 world cup finals as well as a t20 wc final back in 09!, just hope they can go that one step further !!

Posted by abdulashikkhan.m on (September 14, 2012, 8:44 GMT)

Windies gonna rock this world cup.. srilanka and windies will be the final.. India has problem in death bowling pakistan if ajmal goes wicketless then they hava a lot of problems australia has problems against spin england can be a good side but they heavily depend upon their batsmen, more runs scored by batsmen they will win else they will lose southafrica have a good chance but considering their record in worldcups they will go till semi final newzealand too are like southafrica only bangladesh can be a game changer but not cup winners windies have good batsmen, bowlers and all rounders same with srilanka they have good batsmen with lots of experience then good death bowlers and awesome allrounders in mathews and perera.. so lota of fun but it will be srilanka vs west indies final

Posted by 777aditya on (September 14, 2012, 8:32 GMT)

Come on Harsha, dont be diplomatic, just say it - like zillions of fans across the globe, even you are pitching in for WI. My fantasy final for this T20 WC would be WI beating India in the super over. A strong WI team will lend world cricket a beautiful balance. All WI need is to win a tournament like this before they make it a habit and who knows we might even have the privilege to admire in awe the WI dadagiri of yore!

Posted by CricketMaan on (September 14, 2012, 8:31 GMT)

There are no clear favourites. Until the super 8s every team will believe they can win. While I pick Pak as favourites (Im not from Pakistan) coz of thier x factor, the more experienced sides like Aus, SL always have chance. SA, Windies are there and thereabouts but Kirsten can do magic. India apart from 2007 WC has never been a team to watch in International T20 just like thier records suggest, but the fact that they beat SL twice at home in T20s might hold them good stead. All in all some slam bang cricket, no 1 clear favourites, loads of emotional and patriotic comments!!! bring em on!!

Posted by Zahidsaltin on (September 14, 2012, 8:29 GMT)

INDIA is the favourit. Every one knows why.

Posted by banglafan on (September 14, 2012, 8:22 GMT)

Subcontinent was indeed a land of mystery once for the whites. Upto the late sixties, England would always send its second string team to play tests here, not risking such ills as diarrhoea, strange fevers etc.

Posted by satish619chandar on (September 14, 2012, 8:22 GMT)

Let Dhoni play as if we got only 19 overs to chase and we might win more games than before. Taking game till last over is putting pressure on everyone who bats with him. My favorites are WI. Odds in order : WI, Pakistan, SA, India, Australia, SL(They are just choking more than even SA these days), BD, England, Ireland Zimbabwe and Afghan.

Posted by arup_g on (September 14, 2012, 8:17 GMT)

India are definitely right up there due to the fact it is being played in Sri Lanka and India have played there so many times recently. Big players for me will be Kohli (he does well there), Ashwin and Irfan Pathan. The other favorites are certainly Pakistan - they look very strong with young blood, and South Africa (always there or there abouts). Windies do not have enough strength to go all the way, Sri Lanka will not be able to play under the pressure of playing at home, Australia just have a weak team, England will be unable to handle the spin and slow pitches. The rest are not worthy of being mentioned!

Posted by MAK123 on (September 14, 2012, 8:13 GMT)

My money is on an Australia vs South Africa final. They are best teams at the moment, albeit the most under-rated to do well in the WC

Posted by UK_Chap on (September 14, 2012, 8:06 GMT)

Nice.....loads of words strung together, filled a whole page without actually saying anything and commiting to nothing. The West Indies are not going to win.

Posted by   on (September 14, 2012, 8:00 GMT)

india dont have chance....WI,aus or pak...lets c

Posted by Nuxxy on (September 14, 2012, 7:59 GMT)

In preparation for the World T20 I've been saying the Windies are the team to beat, if, and only if, they actually play as a team.

Posted by tuluguroshan on (September 14, 2012, 7:25 GMT)

here the teams say--sri lanka,pak,south africa west indies all are favourites of winning this world cup.....???????? but te world cup is belogs to india.....we will have the last smile surelu....ALL THE BEST TEAM INDIA...with flags on your chest make india proud...

Posted by 68704 on (September 14, 2012, 7:19 GMT)

Actually you are probably right and a world cup win will be a great boost for a set of islands that has captured the fan"s imagination for years, especially those who were young in the seventies and eighties. However the game of t20 is such a lottery that one good innings, one spell can change the game instantly. However if the pitches are helping pace and seam as certain reports suggest than England, South Africa and even Australia might spring an upset or two. India has a talented side but a few doubts about Gambhir, Yuvaraj and our bowling persist. Our fielding is still not top class and imagine letting off a Gayle or Warner. It will be unpredictable but I still feel that it will be some other team that wins it this time. The dark horse could well be the team ranked 10 not long ago Australia ! Ramanujam Sridhar

Posted by   on (September 14, 2012, 7:18 GMT)

I wud rank WI,PAK,INDIA and ENGLAND as favourites... This wud b the most xciting ICC tournament ever with teams lyk BANGADESH, ZIMBAWE and IRELAND more dan capable of creating astonishing results.. I am eagerly waiting to see the most explosive batting line up recent times.... <GAYLE-SMITH-BRAVO BROTHERS-SAMUELS-POLLARD-SAMMY-RUSSEL> Young players lyk VIRAT,BUTLER,U.AKMAL,NARINE,PATTINSON etc will b the stars of the tournament.

Posted by prannsshu on (September 14, 2012, 7:01 GMT)

Everyone saying windies, lanka are fav. India is automatic favs.. Aus. Have out side chance so as pakis. World class Pace line up makes africa fav. Bt n0 0ne n0tice england ryt nw. Just c0z England is with out KP... Bt with the "B" FACTOR (broad, bopara, buttler, bairstrow, briggs, bresenan) Poms are gonna win the world t20 again... Bopara's medium pace and buttler bairstrow c0mbo... Jst watch it out.

Posted by Lakhbir on (September 14, 2012, 6:54 GMT)

I AGREE ....WITH U HARSHA .......BUT BUT BUT ......MY HEART ....SAY ITS INDIA....ALLLLLLLLL THE WAY

Posted by   on (September 14, 2012, 6:01 GMT)

Just so you know, Dilshan Munaweera is a batsman (he'll probably open)

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (September 14, 2012, 5:04 GMT)

I am on the fence with this one Harsha. I don't think this is gonna be an open world T20 by any means. I would have thought so had the tournament been staged any where outside the sub continent. The 3 big Asian teams (IND, SL, PAK) are favourites IMO. WI and SA are probably the only non-Asian teams with a fair chance of qualification to the semis. If AUS, ENG or any others make it up to that stage, then fair play to them and well done. But given the history of those teams in the sub continent and how poorly their players fare against spin, it's a no brainer to think the way I do. Still, I hope we get to see some quality cricket irrespective of who wins. If there are games like the one that featured AUS and PAK, then that's what fans would like to see. I hope the toss doesn't decide who wins. Good luck to all teams. A special shout to the Afghani and Irish boys !!! BELIEVE in yourselves.

Posted by naren1983 on (September 14, 2012, 4:57 GMT)

Harsha, I agree with you that West Indies can smile with the men around like Gayle, Bravo, Pollard, Narine, Russel.. they all take away the game from any of world class team... But My worry is Darren Sammy.. Neither he proves as a good batsman nor a bowler and doesn't have a good track of captaincy as well... Worry that how he utilises the pressure situation is the matter. But he is a wonderful encourager of the WI men. All the best to them..

Posted by   on (September 14, 2012, 4:49 GMT)

If Dhoni stops his stupid philosophy of last ball finish, India has a chance........

Posted by   on (September 14, 2012, 4:43 GMT)

I agree with Harsha.. And i just cant wait to see Gayle, Pollard, Russell, Sammy, Bravos, Smith, Samuel all hitting big sixes... And the Narine touch in bowling.. WoW it would be lovely....

Posted by bobagorof on (September 14, 2012, 4:29 GMT)

Not surprising that opening up a domestic competition to international players would find them becoming familiar with the conditions.

Posted by   on (September 14, 2012, 4:24 GMT)

Well Harsha, my guesses are that Srilanka, Pakistan & West Indies stand favourites at the moment. For India, it could be Raina & Rohit's contibution that can enable the ladder atop.

Posted by   on (September 14, 2012, 4:23 GMT)

wonderful article and truly said this is the most open T20 world cup so far, even Bangladesh can produce some exciting results.It's good for the cricket overall.

Posted by Vikum72 on (September 14, 2012, 3:45 GMT)

So isn't it best to judge the best team based on the consistency rather than on who wins the final? On this basis who's the best side? I guess this is relevant to all types of cricket, not only T20

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Harsha BhogleClose
Harsha Bhogle Harsha Bhogle is one of the world's leading cricket commentators. Starting off as a chemical engineer and going on to work in advertising before moving into television, he is also a writer, quiz host, television presenter and talk-show host, and a corporate motivational speaker. He was voted Cricinfo readers' "favourite cricket commentator" in a poll in 2008, and one of his proudest possessions is a photograph of a group of spectators in Pakistan holding a banner that said "Harsha Bhogle Fan Club". He has commentated on nearly 100 Tests and more than 400 ODIs.

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