Saturday, September 15, 2012

Preview- ICC T20 World Cup

Its nigh on impossible writing a preview for a T20 Tournament for its is very much a lottery of a game. Where skill has its part, but many games being decided by the fickle hand of Fate which makes you a fool to even consider making predictions

Yup! guessed it!,,,,,,,,,,,,,I am a fool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So here goes

The Teams

Afghanistan ( Group A with India and England )
Squad: Nawroz Khan Mangal (c), Mohammad Nabi Eisakhil, Karim Khan Sadiq, Mirwais Ashraf, Rais Ahmadzai, Dawlat Ahmadzai, Mohammad Shahzad Mohammadi, Hamid Hassan, Samiullah Shinwari, Noor Ali Noori, Asghar Stanikzai, Shahpoor Zadran, Shabir Ahmad Noori, Sayed Nasratullah Nasrat, Shafiqullah Shafaq.

You can be in awe of the Afghans and their ability to get into the Tournament ahead of more fancied Associate Teams. Though in the cold hard light of day they have talent and a smattering of class, but not of the calibre to give any of the Teams in their group any real worries. So their fans will find joy in basking in the cameos from certain players and tracking the improvement in long term prospects.

In my mind they are 10 years away from being a viable test for the established Teams, and though T20 lessens that gap. At present there is still a gulf for them to make up

Star Man- Hamid Hassan- 

A big hearted and skilled swing bowler who can get it through at decent pace. Expect him to make a few big names look silly with his burgeoning skill


They have already won by qualifying and their reward is the experience they gain from participating

Squad: George Bailey (c), Dan Christian, Pat Cummins, Xavier Doherty, Ben Hilfenhaus, Brad Hogg, David Hussey, Michael Hussey, Glenn Maxwell, Clint McKay, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Shane Watson, Cameron White

The Aussies have to be commended for choosing a very balanced squad with most of the stars of the Big Bash being rewarded for their efforts. The only point of contention in the squad is Cam White, who is a shadow of the player he was a few years back. His place should have been occupied by the very talented all rounder Mitch Marsh, who missed out for being a naughty boy

The biggest query for the Aussies in this Tournament is their batting and its relative weakness in playing spin. Admittedly the Pakistani spinners are of the highest calibre in World Cricket, but they made the Aussie batsmen look so clueless that even average spinners would feel confident against them.

A huge key in this challenge will be the success or failure of the Aussie devastating opening duo of Shane Watson and Dave Warner. If they fire as they can then it will be no factor at all, but if they fail it exposes a weakish batting line up.

Away from their batting line that has a few questions against it their bowling attack has a very accomplished look about it.

Star Man- Mitchell Starc

In a Tournament where most Teams are loading up on spinners this left arm quick that swings the ball both ways at pace and has a nice bit of nastiness will rattle a few cages.


Their batting has a combination of potential devastation undermined by an underbelly of fragility, but their bowling is potentially excellent. 

Meaning a place in the Semis beckons

Squad: Abdur Razzak, Abul Hasan, Al-Amin Hossain, Alauddin Babu, Alok Kapali, Anamul Haque, Elias Sunny, Enamul Haque Jnr, Farhad Reza, Imrul Kayes, Jahurul Islam, Junaid Siddique, Kazi Kamrul Islam, Mahmudullah, Mashrafe Mortaza, Mohammad Ashraful, Mominul Haque, Mushfiqur Rahim (c), Naeem Islam, Nasir Hossain, Nazmul Hossain, Raqibul Hasan, Sabbir Rahman, Shafiul Islam, Shahadat Hossain, Shakib Al Hasan, Shuvagata Hom, Sohag Gazi, Tamim Iqbal, Ziaur Rahman.

An interesting Team that has grown real mans balls under the leadership of Mushfiqur Rahim as well as being great toughened by the likes of Nasir Hossain and Mahmuddullah.

There improvement at last years Asian Cup was startling with them being unlucky not to take the title.

Which serves as a double edged sword with them gaining the respect that they have so craved, but with that have lost their shock value that came with being paid no respect.

Keeping this in mind, I still expect them to get out of their group due to their new found heart and toughness and the conditions that will favour them greatly  

Star Man- Nasir Hossain

This boy to lend Aussie slang has real mongrel in him, and with that and the presence it en-vibes in others he uplifts his Team mates. Away from his natural leadership he can play too, and do not be surprised if he is one of the stars of the Tournament.


I can see them making the Super 8's, but that is where their journey will end

 Squad: Stuart Broad (captain), Jonny Bairstow, Ravi Bopara, Tim Bresnan, Danny Briggs, Jos Buttler, Jade Dernbach, Steven Finn, Alex Hales, Craig Kieswetter, Michael Lumb, Eoin Morgan, Samit Patel, Graeme Swann, Luke Wright. 

A young squad left with one gaping hole in regards to the absence of a game changing figure in Kevin Pietersen.

Ultimately his absence will be the reason why they come up short- not only because of them missing his play, but the disruption the KP saga has caused.

In assessing their prospects they just look to be short on star power and men able to light up a match with a decisive contribution. Only Eoin Morgan has that threat about him, but is not one to bank on

Also with the Tournament being held in spin friendly conditions you can expect the English batsmen that have had their pants comprehensively pulled down against spin before to struggle again.

Star Man Jos Buttler

This 21 year old will walk in as an unknown and then after dazzling with his genius stroke play and huge hitting will leave mobbed by hordes of groupies


The English will make the next round but them bow out meekly

With the headline on every London Tabloid after the Tournament being

SOS KP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Squad: Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Irfan Pathan, Ravichandran Ashwin, Zaheer Khan, L. Balaji, Ashok Dinda, Rohit Sharma, Piyush Chawla, Harbhajan Singh and Manoj Tiwary. 

As India enters every Tournament the big query is over their bowlings ability to perform at an adequate level to be able to win.

In the case of this Tournament this is a huge query with the Team reliant on a Dads Army attack of Zaheer Khan as their mainstay, returning veterans in Harbhajan Singh, Irfan Pathan and L Balaji and then a host of part timers.

Have you got faith in these names as a viable attack?

For I sure as Hell do not!

Only young Offie Ravi Ashwin inspires faith, and could play a huge role in the Tournament giving India a cutting edge.

On the flip side of the coin is the teams batting

Which is potentially devastating and could rack up huge totals with its powers of devastation

Star Man: Ravi Ashwin

Smart bowler with his varieties and subtle variances in pace and flight. Do not be surprised if he is at the top of the wickets taken tallies


Will make the Super 8's, but finish up there

Squad: William Porterfield (c), Alex Cusack, George Dockrell, Trent Johnston, Nigel Jones, Ed Joyce, Tim Murtagh, Kevin O'Brien, Niall O'Brien, Boyd Rankin, Max Sorensen, Paul Stirling, Stuart Thompson, Andrew White, Gary Wilson.

My heart says yes to Ireland getting out of their group, but my head says that they are long shots to do so

The thing that is the greatest strength of the Team is that they are an even bunch of goers with little star power.

Fans will point to Paul Stirling and Kevin O'Brien to discount this with both having played brilliant cameos in the past. But have lacked the consistency that will gain them star billing.

Both their batting and bowling is adequate without being threatening.

So against good Teams they will always press them, but rely on a freak example of genius like O'Brien's effort against England in the 2011 World Cup to prevail or for the opposition to allow them in

The other two Teams in their group in Australia and the West Indies have flaws that the Irish could exploit, but the question is can they find the arsenal to gain an edge against both.

I doubt this outside of the very talented George Dockrell exploiting both Teams weakness against spin

Star Man- George Dockrell

Very talented bowler, and sadly only time before England tries to claim him


They have a chance of making the Super 8's, but in my mind a slim chance

New Zealand
Squad: Ross Taylor (c), Doug Bracewell, James Franklin, Martin Guptill, Ronnie Hira, Brendon McCullum, Nathan McCullum, Kyle Mills, Adam Milne, Rob Nicol, Jacob Oram, Tim Southee, Daniel Vettori, BJ Watling, Kane Williamson.

Also the nearly men of these Tournaments with them getting close and with people believing in their ability to win, but then always coming up short

I do not think this Tournament will be any different with them having a real challenge to even get out of their group

That is indeed a toss up with them pitted against Bangladesh and Pakistan in their familiar conditions

A lot will rely on their established stars like Ross Taylor, Brendon McCullum and Daniel Vettori being supported by the youngsters like Doug Bracewell, Tim Southee and Kane Williamson

If that happens they can be a match for anyone with them having potentially a very balanced line up if all click

Star Man- Ross Taylor

Looked fabulous of late and expect that to continue


This is such a tough group, and I just have a feeling that the Kiwis will be the one that misses out

SQUAD: Mohammad Hafeez (captain), Imran Nazir, Nasir Jamshed, Asad Shafiq, Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal, Kamran Akmal, Abdul Razzaq, Shahid Afridi, Sohail Tanveer, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Raza Hasan, Yasir Arafat, Mohammad Sami

There is little doubt that Pakistan has the best attack going into this Tournament which always augurs well for success in T20

Whether it be the pace department led by the very accomplished and supremely under rated Umar Gul or the spin department commandeered by the genius of Ajmal and Afridi they have all the bowling bases covered

The two question that could take away any chance of glory that they might have are their incompetence in the field and then their fragility with the bat.

You saw the pain their fielding brings with 7 drops catches in the 2011 World Cup Semi Final against India which robbed them of victory.

Then their batting, that will have a huge reliance on the steadiness of Mohammad Hafeez at the top and the enigmatic Umar Akmal finally finding consistency in the middle order. If he can, he has the type of talent that could be Cup winning

Star Man- Saeed Ajmal

The guy is a genius- point blank


If they field well and bat well they are my favourites for the Tournament

South Africa
Squad: A.B. de Villiers (c), Hashim Amla, Farhaan Behardien, Johan Botha, JP Duminy, Francois du Plessis, Jacques Kallis, Richard Levi, Albie Morkel, Morne Morkel, Justin Ontong, Wayne Parnell, Robin Peterson, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe.

On paper a Team that has everything with a lethal strike bowler in Dale Steyn assisted by some very able quicks and then in Johan Botha one of the best T20 spinners in the game

Their batting is not too dusty either with it being led by the burgeoning genius of the age in Hashim Amla. He is the class, but then you have comparable class in Kallis, DeVilliers and Duminy as well as some deadly dangerous big hitters in Albie Morkel, Faf Du Plessis and my word beware of Richard Levi

He is very like the Zulu Klusener in his rocket launchers!

Completing a very fine Team is that their fielding is of the highest calibre, and that is a compelling edge in this form of the game

Star Man- Richard Levi

There are better players in the RSA Team, but if Levi comes off at the top of the order it could be decisive in taking the Team a long way


Will make the Semis and a great chance of winning the Trophy

Sri Lanka
Squad: Mahela Jayawardene (c), Angelo Mathews, Kumar Sangakkara, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Lahiru Thirimanne, Jeevan Mendis, Dilshan Munaweera, Thisara Perera, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Kulasekara, Rangana Herath, Ajantha Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal, Shaminda Eranga, Akhila Dhananjaya.

Everything is in the host favour to win this Tournament with it being played in their home conditions where they are so hard to beat

Its hard to see them being beaten too for they have a beautifully balanced side in all regards. With the batting led by the masters in Sangakkara and Mahela with the support of a few very talented youngsters in Dinesh Chandimal and Angelo Mathews.

Their bowling is just as impressive with the 'Slinga' Malinga being their trump card and their stocks in spin borders on ridiculous. Such is the depth of class and astounding array of variety.

To round them out they are a very good fielding side too

Star Man- Dinesh Chandimal

Oppositions will focus on the Sri Lankan Masters in Mahela and Kumar, which will allow this budding Master in Chandimal to have a huge Tournament


Definite Semi Finalist and huge chance to win it

West Indies
Squad: Darren Sammy (captain), Dwayne Bravo (vice captain), Samuel Badree, Darren Bravo, Johnson Charles, Fidel Edwards, Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine, Denesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul, Andre Russell, Marlon Samuels, Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Smith.

A dangerous side that has been playing very well of late

They seemed to have bonded as brothers under Darren Sammy and with the return of the prodigal son in Chris Gayle that has been made stronger

Their strength is their power hitters led by the master mauler Gayle and then backed up by the likes of Kieron Pollard, Andre Russell, Darren Sammy and even Ravi Rampaul can give the ball some real tap

The class of Marlon Samuels and Dwayne Bravo will play a crucial role in supporting in a manner so these type can go of like crackers on Guy Fawlkes Night

Then their bowling is both pace strong, spin savvy and with enough able part timers to control Teams

Also a very adept fielding side

Star Man- Chris Gayle

Bit of a Captain Obvious picking Gayle...........But in T20 there is none better


A real chance for the Semis

Squad: Brendan Taylor (c), Vusi Sibanda, Hamilton Masakadza, Stuart Matsikenyeri, Malcolm Waller, Elton Chigumbura, Craig Ervine, Graeme Cremer, Ray Price, Kyle Jarvis, Chris Mpofu, Richard Muzhange, Brian Vitori, Prosper Utseya, Forster Mutizwa.

Fate has not been kind to the fledging Zimbabwean Team with them being drawn in a group with favourites in Sri Lanka and South Africa

So thoughts of progressing are born out of delusion

Though in their favour is a familiarity with the South Africans, so if anyone could upset them it could be the Zimbabweans

Any upsets or glory will rely on Brendan Taylor to play the type of devastating innings that he has become famous for

Star Man- Brendan Taylor

Very dangerous big hitting batsman


Enjoy the vacation in Paradise Sri Lanka and worry little about the Cricket!

My Semi Finalists:

Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Australia and West Indies

South Africa is the dark horse to make it


I think it will be an all Asian Final between Sri Lanka and Pakistan with Sri Lanka going in as the overwhelming favourite

Though I just have a feeling that Pakistan has the bowling to counter Sri Lanka's batting in what might be a low scoring classic

Mmmmmm Pakistan gets bowled out for 120, and then dismisses Sri Lanka for 118 off the second last ball of the game.......

1 comment:

  1. Always .. LOVE ur Writeups ... mostly they are un-biased, impartial & Spot On ...

    Kuddos to your finals predictions . i hope u stand correct .. ^_^