PREVIOUS RESULT: Group Stage
Bangladesh are a side always capable of causing an upset, so punters looking for a surprise result really need look no further. The Tigers haven’t won a game in this tournament since reaching the Super Eight stage in 2007, but with New Zealand inconsistent and Pakistan notoriously slow starters, they could be primed to put the cat among the pigeons this month. A batting line-up full of stroke players means big totals aren’t out of the question, while their bowling ranks boast plenty of spinners who will be sure to love Sri Lankan conditions.
TOP BATSMAN: Tamim Iqbal (3.75) – The expansive 23-year-old doesn’t seem to take the game too seriously, but he is very capable of compiling big scores in no time at all. Iqbal was signed by Pune Warriors for this season’s IPL and although he didn’t play this time around, his signing is a clear indication that he is the star of this Bangladesh batting line-up.
TOP BOWLER: Shakib Al Hasan – The former skipper is a crucial part of the Bangladesh side with decent middle order batting complimented by top-quality slow left-arm bowling. Al Hasan has the wood on several world class batsmen including Kevin Pietersen and he is another of the Bangladeshi players who garnered IPL interest with the Kolkata Knight Riders signing him in 2011.
KEY MAN/ ONE TO LOOK OUT FOR: Mohammad Ashraful – This 28-year-old has enjoyed an up-and-down career since he announced himself on the international stage with a stunning hundred against Australia back in 2003. The flashy strokeplayer, who used to skipper his country, will open in this tournament so he will need to contribute big runs at the top of the order if Bangladesh are to cause an upset and advance beyond Group D.
DID YOU KNOW? Since gaining Test status in 2000, Bangladesh have played 73 Test matches, winning just three – two against a West Indies side effected by a players strike and the other win coming against an inexperienced Zimbabwe side.
SQUAD LIST: Mushfiqur Rahim (capt & wk), Abdur Razzak, Abul Hasan, Elias Sunny, Farhad Reza, Jahurul Islam, Junaid Siddique, Mahmudullah, Mashrafe Mortaza, Mohammad Ashraful, Nasir Hossain, Shafiul Islam, Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Ziaur Rahman.
PREDICTED RESULT: Group Stage (1.50)
PREVIOUS RESULT: Super Eight
Punters have often labelled New Zealand the perennial tournament dark horses, but that label would be very generous in their current predicament. Cult figure Jesse Ryder could have been one of the stars of this tournament but he remains in self-imposed exile as he tries to overcome an alcohol problem. Without Ryder, the Black Caps do still boast a solid squad with plenty of experience, but they lack the sort of match winners needed to progress beyond the Super Eight stage.
TOP BATSMAN: Brendon McCullum (3.75) – With Ryder not in the line-up the pressure is ramped up on the experienced McCullum to perform. The 30-year-old was the first player to reach 1000 international Twenty20 runs in 2010 with his fearsome bludgeoning regularly getting the Black Caps off to a flying start.
TOP BOWLER: Daniel Vettori (4.50) – The slow left-armer really is a class performer having played at the top level since his Test debut as an 18-year-old in 1997. Vettori stood down as limited-overs skipper after the 2011 World Cup but he is the still the focal point of their bowling attack and his vast skill and experience will be crucial in spin-friendly Sri Lankan conditions.
KEY MAN/ ONE TO LOOK OUT FOR: Jacob Oram – The 34-year-old all-rounder may be in the twilight of his career but he is still capable of match-winning contributions with both bat and ball. Oram, who stands mighty at 6ft 6in, has often struggled with injuries, but he will likely supply four economical overs of medium pace along with some middle order slogging.
DID YOU KNOW? The Black Caps played Australia in the inaugural Twenty20 international at Eden Park in Auckland on 17th February 2005.
SQUAD LIST: Ross Taylor (capt), Doug Bracewell, James Franklin, Martin Guptill, Ronnie Hira, Brendon McCullum (wk), Nathan McCullum, Kyle Mills, Adam Milne, Rob Nicol, Jacob Oram, Tim Southee, Daniel Vettori, BJ Watling (wk), Kane Williamson.
PREDICTED RESULT: Super Eight (1.85)
PREVIOUS RESULT: Semi-Final
You can never be totally sure what Pakistan are capable of as they constantly run hot and cold, but they do have a habit of raising their game in major tournaments. Dav Whatmore’s side have reached at least the semi-finals in all three Twenty20 World Cups, including a victory in 2009, so their pedigree in this tournament is there for all to see. The Green Shirts have managed to retain the majority of their squad over the last few years with plenty of stroke players accompanied by top quality spin bowlers.
TOP BATSMAN: Umar Akmal (6.0) – This 22-year-old batsman embodies the old adage of being ‘worth the admission price alone’ as when he gets his eye in there are few better batsmen to watch in world cricket. Akmal’s decent price of 6.0 is down to the fact you probably won’t see him until four wickets down, but given Pakistan’s brittle top order I wouldn’t bet against that being within the six-over Powerplay, which could prove significant.
TOP BOWLER: Saaed Ajmal (3.0) – A latecomer to international cricket, 34-year-old Ajmal has been a prolific wicket taker since his emergence back in 2008. The off-spinner frequently uses his doosra to great effect as indicated by his 60 scalps in just 42 Twenty20 internationals. Ajmal may not represent much value in this market but his regular wicket hauls mean looking elsewhere would be nothing short of crazy.
KEY MAN/ ONE TO LOOK OUT FOR: Shahid Afridi – The enigma of Pakistan cricket, Afridi sums up this side with no-one sure what he will produce from one day to the next. His huge hitting fails more often than not but his spin bowling is where he really excels with his fast spinners near impossible to get away on spinning surfaces. Afridi is the talisman of this side, so if he succeeds the team will with him and they could go far beyond the Super Eight.
DID YOU KNOW? When Pakistan won the title back in 2009 paceman Umar Gul was the star, taking 13 wickets including a stunning 5/6 against New Zealand in the Super Eight.
SQUAD LIST: Mohammad Hafeez (capt), Abdul Razzaq, Asad Shafiq, Imran Nazir, Kamran Akmal (wk), Mohammad Sami, Nasir Jamshed, Raza Hasan, Saeed Ajmal, Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Sohail Tanvir, Umar Akmal, Umar Gul, Yasir Arafat
PREDICTED RESULT: Super Eight (2.20)
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