Twenty20 World Cup of cricket kicks off Tuesday
Colombo, Sri Lanka (4E Sports) – With a tough three-stage format, participants in the Twenty20 World Cup are all in equal footing when the event kicks off Tuesday in Hambantota, Sri Lanka.
The event has twenty seven matches split into three stages. The first twelve matches place the 12 competitors in four pools of three and will be used to eject the bottom team. The next stage will divide eight qualifiers into two groups of four.
After 12 matches, the top two from each group proceed to the playoffs – two semifinal and a final.
Group A is composed of defending champion England, India and Afghanistan while Group B has Australia, West Indies and Ireland. Sri Lanka, South Africa and Zimbabwe are in Group C while Pakistan, New Zealand and Bangladesh comprise Group D.
While players will come in with plenty of playing time in different cricket tournaments individually, they have not seen enough practice or match time with teammates, posing a problem for participants, especially for contenders.
In 2009, England lost its opening game to the Netherlands and the British are hoping that it would not happen again when they face Afghanistan in their opening game Friday.
England will play without star batsman Kevin Pietersen, who was named Man of the Tournament when it won in 2010, but has 22-year-old Jos Buttler as replacement. Buttler, blasted 32 runs off a single over by the experienced South African left-armer Wayne Parnell last week.
Sri Lanka is also hoping for a good start when it takes on Zimbabwe, which has also played 10 matches since the 2010 World Cup and lost all of them.
On Wednesday, Australia takes on Ireland while India goes up against Afghanistan. On Thursday, South Africa will take on Zimbabwe.
Australia has brought 41-year-old spin bowler Brad Hogg back, four years after his last international game.
“I definitely wasn’t going to knock that back,” Hogg said, acknowledging that “some of my teammates are young enough to be my sons.”
While others are wary of the tournament’s format, 2009 titlist Pakistan described it as consistent and gives them a good chance to repeat as champion.
“We’ve got a good chance and we have a good team. We have also got good momentum,” said Pakistan’s captain Mohammad Hafeez.