Two days ago, the ICC announced the schedule for the International Cricket Council World Twenty 20, 2014 in Bangladesh and most cricket fans would be happy to know that the tournament will be played in the months of March and April, which means that the wait is not very long. The last time Bangladesh hosted a global cricket tournament was way back in 1998, when they hosted the Wills’ International Cup (later renamed as the ICC Champions’ Trophy) and hence it would surely be a spectacle, since it is almost guaranteed that the different venues would be packed to the rafters for every game.
The main tournament will be preceded by a qualifying round from 16th March to 21st March, 2014 in which Bangladesh and Zimbabwe will fight it out with four associate teams to enter this ten team tournament. The group stages will start on 21st March wherein India is scheduled to take on Pakistan in a Group B encounter at the Sher-e- Bangla Stadium in Mirpur. The other teams in Group A are West Indies, Australia and Bangladesh, should they qualify. The other group comprises of Sri Lanka, England, New Zealand, South Africa and one of the qualifiers.
So, it can be said that India’s group is relatively easy compared to the other group and although qualifying would not be a cake walk, it would have been tougher had they been clubbed with England, South Africa and Sri Lanka. The 2 teams which end up at the top of their groups would go on to play in the semi finals which will be played at Mirpur on April 3rd and April 4th. The final would also be played at the same stadium on April 6th.
The Blockbuster Clashes
Needless to say, the tournament starts off with the mother of all matches on Mar 21st when the sub-continental arch rivals India and Pakistan battle it out; however, there are other games as well which will trigger an interest among most cricket fans. The clash between the reigning World T20 Champions, the West Indies and India will be a mouth watering clash as it would pit two of the most explosive batting line ups in world cricket against one another. That game is on Sunday, March 23rd.
The games between South Africa and Sri Lanka on Mar 22nd and the game between England (the 2009 champions) and South Africa on Marc 29th could prove to be absolute humdingers. Although it is hard to predict anything this much in advance, it is expected that India and West Indies should qualify from Group 2 and South Africa and Sri Lanka should be able to qualify from Group1; although, the other teams in the group are expected to put up a gallant fight. However, nothing can really be predicted about the knock out stages and more so when the format of the game is T20.
What can be said for sure is that the tournament is going to be a great exhibition of the shortest version of the game and all cricket fans can expect a 17 day entertainment extravaganza.
By Soham Samaddar