India chase history in World Twenty20

MS Dhoni

MS Dhoni’s side won the inaugural World Twenty20 in 2007 and were runners-up in 2014

India begin their World Twenty20 on Tuesday as clear favourites to become the first side to win the trophy twice and the first to triumph on home soil.

MS Dhoni’s side, champions in 2007, face New Zealand in the opening Super 10 game in Nagpur at 14:00 GMT.

England start their campaign against West Indies in Mumbai on Wednesday.

The women’s event starts on Tuesday, when India play Bangladesh in Bangalore. England take on Bangladesh at the same venue on Thursday.

On Thursday, defending men’s champions Sri Lanka meet Afghanistan, who qualified as winners of Group B during the first week of the tournament.

  • Click here for the full men’s and women’s fixtures. Most matches will take place at 09:30 and 14:00 GMT.

Can anyone stop India?

Although history is against the hosts, the form book is in their favour.

Asia Cup triumph in Bangladesh this month.

In Virat Kohli, they possess arguably the most prolific batsman in T20 cricket – he averages 117 in 2016 and 52 over his career – and three batsmen in the top 16 of the International Cricket Council rankings.

With West Indian Sunil Narine injured, India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin is officially the best bowler involved in the competition.

All but one member of India’s 15-man squad – 22-year-old seamer Hardik Pandya – has experience of playing in the Indian Premier League, the world’s most high-profile domestic T20 competition.

Virender Sehwag, a part of India’s World Cup-winning side in 2011, is “99% certain” India will win the World T20, while India legend Rahul Dravid said: “This is a pretty formidable side and the all-around ability is what excites me.”

What are England’s chances?

“There’s no reason why we shouldn’t win it,” England opener Jason Roy told BBC Test Match Special. “We’ve got a strong side.”

Barely a year after they were knocked out of the 50-over World Cup in embarrassing fashion, an England side rejuvenated by coach Trevor Bayliss enter the next global tournament as a team feared by many.

“Their style of cricket has been so much better than what we saw at the World Cup and I love the positive way they bat,” said former captain Michael Vaughan.

Although the optimism built up during five successive wins was dented by February’s 2-0 series defeat in South Africa, England beat New Zealand by six wickets in their opening warm-up match and then a Mumbai XI by 14 runs on Monday.

Media playback is not supported on this device

England beat Australia to win World T20 in 2010

Roy, Alex Hales, Joe Root, captain Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler are capable of destructive hitting, while leg-spinner Adil Rashid is expected to prosper on India’s slower pitches.

“The fielding is world class and the batting line-up is powerful right down to nine or 10. There are good things happening in this team,” said Collingwood, England’s victorious captain at the 2010 World T20 and now a member of the coaching staff.

To reach the semi-finals, England must negotiate a group containing defending champions Sri Lanka, 2012 winners West Indies, and South Africa, who have won nine of their past 11 T20s.

As batsman Hales says: “We wouldn’t be here if we didn’t think we could win it.”

What can we expect from the women’s tournament?

Like India in the men’s event, Australia are overwhelming favourites in the women’s competition, although captain Meg Lanning describes it as the “tightest Women’s World Twenty20 we have ever had”.

beat New Zealand twice this week before wrapping up their warm-up schedule with a seven-wicket thrashing of South Africa.

The semi-finals and final will be played before the men’s matches.

The prize money for the men’s competition is $5.5m and £400,000 for the women’s.

Will anyone better this catch?

Media playback is not supported on this device

‘Unbelievable’ catch from the Netherlands’ Pieter Seelaar

And surely no-one can have a worse haircut than this…


Sri Lanka’s Tillakaratne Dilshan lost his pre-tournament fight with the hair dye

comments powered by Disqus