T20 World Cup 2014 Preview

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Updated: March 14, 2014

On 16th March in Bangladesh, the 5th T20 World Cup begins with West Indies looking to retain the title they won 2 years ago in Sri Lanka. This year the format is slightly different with 8 of the lesser teams competing in two initial groups of 4 and the winners of each group will progress to the Super 10 stage with the major teams in 2 round-robin groups of 5. The top 2 teams from each group will reach the semi-finals with the final on scheduled for the 6th April.

The first round group A consists of Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Hong Kong and Nepal. My money is on Bangladesh to move into the Super 10 stage as it would be a major shock if Hong Kong went through and Nepal are probably just happy to be there. Afghanistan will be their major competitors after recently beating them in the Asia Cup, but I think players such as Sohag Gazi (the only player in history to take a hat-trick and score a century in the same test) and Tamim Iqbal (who hit a test century against England at Lords back in 2010) will be strong enough to help guide the hosts through. Group B made up of Zimbabwe, ireland, UAE and Netherlands maybe more slightly straight forward as Ireland are the clear favourites to progress after Zimbabwe’s recent 2-month player strike over unpaid wages and Netherlands recently losing their ODI status.

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England will most certainly need to be at their very best to overcome a strong group containing Sri Lanka, South Africa, New Zealand and the qualifier of group B. After failing to make it past the Super 8 stage last time around, they will be hoping that a repeat of 2010’s glory year when captain Paul Collingwood raised the trophy in Barbados could still be on the cards, but there are some notable absentees. Sacked batsmen Kevin Pietersen will be the main star missing, but England will also grieve for the injured Joe Root (broken thumb) and the breaking news of their only bright spark in a dismal Ashes series Ben Stokes ruled out with a hand injury after punching a locker. Captain Stuart Broad may also be a doubt after he missed the last 2 T20’s of the series against the West Indies with a knee problem.

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The recent loss against the West Indies most likely won’t give England the boost they really needed, but after ending their tour with a much needed win inspired by all-rounder Chris Jordan, interim captain Eoin Morgan has claimed that they have renewed their confidence for the World Cup. It’ll be up to players like Jordan, Morgan and off-spinner James Tredwell, who will most likely be starting for England after playing most of his international career in the shadow of the now retired Graeme Swann, to inspire the team to success. England play their first match against New Zealand on 22nd March.

Elsewhere in the tournament, other notable absences include Australia test captain Michael Clarke, recent South African retirements Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis and New Zealand’s big hitter Jesse Ryder, who was dropped recently for late night drinking. India will welcome back their skipper MS Dhoni after he missed the Asia Cup through injury, and Australia have ignored the theory that T20 is a young man’s game by including 39-year-old middle-order batsman Brad Hodge and 43-year-old spinner Brad Hogg in their squad. The main man for everyone to watch out for is probably the most destructive batsman of the modern game, West Indies opener Chris Gayle, who last year set the record for the fastest century reached in any format of cricket, the highest individual score in a T20 match, and the most sixes scored in a single innings in the IPL all in the same innings playing for Royal Challengers Bangalore. He also picked up 2 wickets in the match.

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This tournament is most certainly going to be a thriller, and a very close contest at that. I have to admit that I don’t fancy England’s chances at all after our poor Ashes series, a disappointing series loss against the West Indies and some key injuries to boot. My bet is on West Indies retaining their title with India, Sri Lanka and South Africa all reaching the semis. India will definitely fancy their chances being so close to home, Sri Lanka will be looking for their first T20 win after finishing runners-up twice, South Africa (the number 1 test team) will attempt to shake off their tag of chokers and claim their first tournament, but I think West Indies just have too much firepower for the other teams to handle, and with big players like Gayle, captain Darren Sammy and young spinner Sunil Narine, anything is possible.

Fixtures:

First round

Group A: Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Nepal, Hong Kong
Group B: Zimbabwe, Ireland, UAE, Netherlands

March

16 Bangladesh v Afghanistan, Mirpur (d/n) (09:30 GMT)
16 Nepal v Hong Kong, Chittagong (d/n) (13:30 GMT)
17 Zimbabwe v Ireland, Sylhet (d/n) (09:30 GMT)
17 UAE v Netherlands, Sylhet (d/n) (13:30 GMT)
18 Afghanistan v Hong Kong, Chittagong (d/n) (09:30 GMT)
18

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Bangladesh v Nepal, Chittagong (d/n) (13:30 GMT)
19 Zimbabwe v Netherlands, Sylhet (d/n) (09:30 GMT)
19 Ireland v UAE, Sylhet (d/n) (13:30 GMT)
20 Afghanistan v Nepal, Chittagong (d/n) (09:30 GMT)
20 Bangladesh v Hong Kong, Chittagong (d/n) (13:30 GMT)
21 Zimbabwe v UAE, Sylhet (05:30 GMT)
21 Ireland v Netherlands, Sylhet (d/n) (09:30 GMT)

Super 10 stage

Super 10 Group 1: Sri Lanka, England, South Africa, New Zealand, Group B Qualifier 1 (Q1B)
Super 10 Group 2: West Indies, India, Pakistan, Australia, Group A Qualifier 1 (Q1A)

March
21 India v Pakistan, Mirpur (d/n) (13:30 GMT)
22 Sri Lanka v South Africa, Chittagong (d/n) (09:30 GMT)
22 England v New Zealand, Chittagong (d/n) (13:30 GMT)
23 Pakistan v Australia, Mirpur (d/n) (09:30 GMT)
23 West Indies v India, Mirpur (d/n) (13:30 GMT)
24 New Zealand v South Africa, Chittagong (d/n) (09:30 GMT)
24 Sri Lanka v Q1B, Chittagong (d/n) (13:30 GMT)
25 Q1A v West Indies, Mirpur (d/n) (13:30 GMT)
27 South Africa v Q1B, Chittagong (d/n) (09:30 GMT)
27 England v

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Sri Lanka, Chittagong (d/n) (13:30 GMT)
28 West Indies v Australia, Mirpur (d/n) (09:30 GMT)
28 Q1A v India, Mirpur (d/n) (13:30 GMT)
29 New Zealand v Q1B, Chittagong (d/n) (09:30 GMT)
29 England v South Africa, Chittagong (d/n) (13:30 GMT)
30 Pakistan v Q1A, Mirpur (d/n) (10:30 BST)
30 India v Australia, Mirpur (d/n) (14:30 BST)
31 England v Q1B, Chittagong (d/n) (10:30 BST)
31 Sri Lanka v New Zealand, Chittagong (d/n) (14:30 BST)

April
1 Q1A v Australia, Mirpur (d/n) (10:30 BST)
1 West Indies v Pakistan, Mirpur (d/n) (14:30 BST)
Semi-finals

3 Group 1 winners v Group 2 runners-up, Mirpur (d/n) (14:00 BST)
4 Group 2 winners v Group 1 runners-up, Mirpur (d/n) (14:00 BST)
Final

6 Final, Mirpur (d/n) (14:00 BST)

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