World T20 Championships: Schedule and Preview
Season 2 of the Indian Premier League came to an interesting end with the bottom two teams from the last season finishing at the top. Deccan Chargers continued their good form through out the tournament by first defeating the In-Form Delhi Daredevils in the semi’s, the Bangalore Royal Challengers in the finals in a closely contested final. It’s been almost 5 days since the final was played, and I’m starting to miss it already, more because i knew which channel I had to tune to for some entertainment. Not far from now, Another T20 tournament begins, Defending champions India will be seen with 11 other teams for the coveted trophy of the T20 World Championship. Schedule and details follow.
Here is the format: 12 teams are separated into 4 groups of 3 teams each with one match between each team. The top 2 teams from each group qualify for the super 8 stage where each team gets to play 3 games. Top 4 teams from the Super 8 group qualify for the semis. Semifinal 1: Team 1 vs Team IV; Semifinal 2: Team 2 vs Team 3; Final will be played between the teams winning the semifinal. (Obviously!)
Ever thought that the groups are made based on the ICC rankings? Think again. These groupings look like they have been picked in the lots or is decided by the BCCI. Team India makes it to group A in the company of Bangladesh and Ireland. Sounds familiar?? Bangladesh have always been know to upset at least one team in the qualifiers, And India has had their during the 2007 World cup when they failed to qualify for the super 8 stage. England, Pakistan and Netherlands make Group B. Australia, Srilanka and West Indies form a surprise group C, Whch means that we are going to see one Test team knocked off in the group stage (Australia?!?, I wish!). South Africa, Scotland and NewZealand make the last group.
What happens then? You really want to know? Then, Here we go.. Bangladesh beats India by 6 wickets as the world receives the first shock of the tournament. Ireland beats Bangladesh hands down to take the top spot in the group. In match 3, Yuvraj Singh suddenly finds form as he picks 6 wickets off 6 balls against Ireland to dismiss them for a meager score. “Does India Qualify”, asks Dhoni. Harbhajan starts weeping like Sreesanth when the bad news is given, India misses out from qualifying to the next stage by just 0.01 in the NRR(No Run Rate :P)
Predictions are impossible to make, but since expert around the world are already backing Team India to retain the trophy, i’m just going to play along and assume the same. Here are my predictions for the matches in the super 8 stage. Teams Qualifying: India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, England, Australia, Srilanka, South Africa, NewZealand.
The position in which the teams finish in their respective groups determines the teams that they play in the Super 8. This is just an estimate, The real ones are marked, A1, A2 etc..
We are into the semis, yet I don’t back India to qualify. Since I’m a Ravi Shastri fan, I’ll have to go with his prediction about India winning. So here’s another estimate of what Semifinal line up would look like according to me. Team India qualifies second with Australia leading at the top.
I’m still not sure if India will make it to the finals as the experts say, If they are right there will be no final like an India Australia final.
As an Indian I hope these predictions are true, Team India will win the world cup again specially after their current performance in the IPL. Most problems will be solved, If Gambihr and Sehwag find form in the opening game. Zaheer’s fitness will also be crucial as otherwise, All the bowling pressure will fall on to the weak shoulders of Ishant Sharma who had a poor stint for Kolkatta Knight Riders at the IPL.
Yuvraj, Dhoni’s form has been under the scanner for quite a while, but as long as they can bat around Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma, our batting will be okay. Yusuf Pathan needs one good inning to come back into form, while his brother Irfan is looking good with the swinging ball. Overall Team India rates as the highest and the most young team compared to the competitiors to win the second edition of the T20 world championships.
Teams to look out for:
Australia: The only trophy nit in Australia bag is the T20 world championship trophy. Australia has relooked at their side and has brought in a number of new faces, mostly young.
Pakistan: The world hasn’t seen enough of Pakistan in the last season mistly because of controversies surrounding the players and the board. Team Pakistan could spell a surprise.
Newzealand: Always the underdogs, Team Newzealand have threatened sides around the world with their ability to comeback into the match and the tournament with big surprises.
South Africa: Inclusion of youngsters in the name of Duminy, Van De Merwe has strengthened the chances of a South African victory.
Bangladesh: The biggest surprise! Team Bangladesh has been known to upset a few teams at the big tournament, and if they have 5 good games on 5 good days, Bangladesh could well become the surprise package of the tournament.
Do come back for more News, previews and reviews.
PS: Heart says India, Mind says NewZealand!