The T20 World Cup gets underway with two different varieties ready to be served on the first day itself. The match between New Zealand and Sri Lanka should be a mouth-watering delight for the connoisseurs of this shortened version. In the other one, host West Indies take on minnows Ireland.
In T-20 no one is a favourite till the last ball has been bowled, a statement backed by the fact that mighty Australia can be beaten by Zimbabwe. Though it was a warm-up game, I don’t believe that the Aussies had any intentions of taking it lightly.
This match will be at the back of Chris Gayle and company’s mind when they take on Ireland. West Indies is playing at home and will definitely feel the pressure of expectation in every game, whether they play Ireland or any other bigger team. They have players who on their day can simply blast away the opponent.
Besides skipper Chris Gayle, one needs to watch out for the likes of Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo, Shiv Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan who will be key players when it comes to anchoring the innings.
Cricket will survive the latest setback
The West Indies bowling has good balance. With the return of Jerome Taylor, the likely combination of Taylor, Kemar Roach, Suleiman Benn, Bravo, Pollard and Gayle himself will not be a cakewalk for rival batsmen. West Indies will need to be consistent in order to live up to the expectation of the home fans and a good strong start in their first game will help the team to get organized very quickly.
This team will have definitely benefited from the IPL as their major players have had a long time to get themselves fine-tuned with regard to stroke-making on slow wickets and against quality slow bowling.
The match to really look out for will be the one between Sri Lanka and New Zealand. It will be very interesting to find out how Kumar Sangakkara organizes his batting line-up and spreads out Sanath Jayasuriya, Tillekeratne Dilshan and Mahela Jayawardene. Considering the recent form of these three, Jayawardene should be right on top of the batting line-up.
Sangakkara himself didn’t have a great IPL and he along with Dilshan and Jayasuriya will have to get back to form at the earliest. The Sri Lankan bowling is also not at its best except for Malinga and the wily fox Murali. Sangakkara really has a job on hand.
T20 World Cup
New Zealand on the other hand has the fire power for a tournament like this. The likes of Ross Taylor, the return of Jesse Ryder, the presence of Brendon McCullum, Shane Bond and few bits-and-pieces cricketers make them a force to deal with. Their captain Daniel Vettori is an inspirational leader and a quality performer.
New Zealand has always been a force on paper in various tournaments but really need to proceed beyond that. If the big hitters on both sides get going, cricket lovers may be on the edge of their seats most of the time and that should provide a perfect opening to this year’s World Cup.
Professional Management Group