Finally it is down to the day then the cricket fraternity had been waiting for. The T20 World Cup kicks off today in Sri Lanka and starting the affairs would be the host Sri Lanka and minnows Zimbabwe.
A lop-sided affair is on the cards and Sri Lanka will start as a clear favorite in the match at least on papers. Sri Lanka will want to start off with a bang but then will be wary of Zimbabwe as well because they know that the African side is very capable of pulling up an upset. Zimbabwe has lost both the T20’s in the past that they played against Sri Lanka but then their win against Australia and West Indies in the past show that they can beat Sri Lanka if things click for them.
Meanwhile for Sri Lanka who will be bidding for their first T20 World Cup have one of the strongest side of the tournament and playing at home makes them even more dangerous. The match in all likelihood should start their campaign with a win but then Zimbabwe will also fancy their chances. Whether lives up to the billing of favorites or Zimbabwe scrap their underdogs tag will be an interesting thing to wait and watch for.
Here are few of the players to watch out for in both the teams:
Mahela Jayewardene: The most successful T20 for Sri Lanka, the skipper will lead the batting department of his team. He is likely to open the innings and will want to get his team off to a flying start. It is always a matter of debate that whether senior players are fit for this format, but then players like him have made the critics shut their mouth over and over again. His ability to shift gears according to the need of the hour is what makes him a dangerous player in this format. If Zimbabwe get him early then things can get very easy for them.
Tilekaratne Dilshan: The opener knows only one way to play and that it hit the ball right from the word go. His fearless attitude at the top of the batting order is enough to intimidate any opponent and he can destroy any bowling attack. His innovations in the middle will be a great treat to see and the World will be waiting to see the ‘Dilscoop’ in action.
Lasith Malinga: Master of destruction, Malinga can rip apart any batting line-up with his toe crushing yorkers and pace. Wickets in Indian sub-continent do not have much for the speedsters but then he manages to get enough out them. If he can derail batsmen at the start of the innings with his yorkers and swing, coming back in the later stages of the innings can create havoc with his reverse swings.
Angelo Matthews: More than anything else in T20, the thing that matters most in T20 format is an all rounder. Angelo Matthews over the years have carved a niche for himself as an all rounder and he is equally effective in both the departments. He is a good finisher and can churn out very useful spells. Zimbabwe will be wary of him.
Hamilton Masakadza: One of the most experience batsmen in the team Masakadza will hold the key to Zimbabwe’s performance in the tournament. He already has five half centuries to his name and also scores at a good rate of 120. His team will want him to be in his elements and counter the Sri Lankan bowling.
Brendon Taylor: The skipper of Zimbabwe side will lead his team from the front. He is one of the few from Zimbabwe who has been able to make a name for himself in the World cricket. He is a very experienced and stylish batsman and will look to help his team to go as far possible in the tournament.
Ray Price: The senior most player in the team has enough experience under his belt and has the temperament to play in big events. The off spinner who is already 36 has 13 wickets from 15 T20’s and can get very dangerous in these conditions. His experience in playing in the IPL will also come handy for him.