Watch out for Pakistan. Here they come again for ICC World Twenty20. Pakistan, the inaugural World T20 finalists and champions two years later, have a reputation of doing well. Last time in 2010, they bowed out in semi-finals, shocked by last-over heroics Australia's Michael Hussey. So the tournament this time in Sri Lanka could also show their T20 powers again.
Pakistan have a new captain in Mohamamd Hafeez. They are in Group D with New Zealand and Bangladesh. This is a tricky combination considering Bangladesh have the ability to oust one of the seeded teams.
Group D Preview
Group D Teams with seedings. Top two progress to Super Eight
New Zealand (D2)
Super Eight Groups: Group 1: A1, B2, C1, D2. Group 2: A2, B1, C2, D1
Note: If the third third team in the group knocks one of the top two seeded teams out, it will take the place of the team it replaced. (Example: If Bangladesh replace New Zealand, then they will be D2 in Super Eight)
Group D Fixtures
Friday September 21, 15:30 IST, Bangladesh Vs New Zealand, Pallekele International Cricket Stadium, Pallekele
Sunday September 23, 15:30 IST, New Zealand Vs Pakistan, Pallekele International Cricket Stadium, Pallekele
Tuesday September 25, 19:30 IST, Bangladesh Vs Pakistan, Pallekele International Cricket Stadium, Pallekele
Pakistan (No. 6 in ICC T20 Rankings, champions of World T20 in 2009)
Pakistan squad: Mohammad Hafeez (captain), Imran Nazir, Nasir Jamshed, Kamran Akmal (wicketkeeper), Asad Shafiq, Shoaib Malik, Abdul Razzaq, Shahid Afridi, Yasir Arafat, Umar Akmal, Saeed Ajmal, Raza Hasan, Umar Gul, Mohammad Sami, Sohail Tanvir.
Strengths: Experienced T20 players. Shahid Afridi's all-round skills are the ones to watch out for. Saeed Ajmal has given tough times to batsmen. Ajmal's "doosra" is hard to pick for the best in the business. When Ajmal arrives at the bowling crease, alert is sounded for batters. Umar Gul is an excellent T20 bowler. He can turn matches on his own. The unorthodox bowling action of Sohail Tanvir too is important for Pakistan.
Weaknesses: Not being consistent is Pakistan's big problem. They have often been called the unpredictable team.
Key players: Ajmal, Afridi, Umar Akmal, Gul.
New Zealand (No. 5 in ICC T20 Rankings, no major world trophies)
New Zealand squad: Ross Taylor (captain), Martin Guptill, Rob Nicol, Brendon McCullum, Kane Williamson, BJ Watling (wicketkeeper), James Franklin, Jacob Oram, Nathan McCullum, Daniel Vettori, Kyle Mills, Doug Bracewell, Tim Southee, Ronnie Hira, Adam Milne.
Strengths: Aggressive batting of Brendon McCullum, captain Ross Taylor and Jacob Oram. The spin of Daniel Vettori is also an advantage. Also the fast bowling of Tim Southee could be handy.
Weaknesses: The Kiwis have always faltered in world events. Dependence on McCullum's batting.
Key players: Brendon McCullum, Taylor, Vettori.
Bangladesh (No. 8 in ICC T20 Rankings, no world titles)
Bangladesh squad: Mushfiqur Rahim (captain and wicketkeeper), Mohammed Mahmudullah, Tamim Iqbal, Mohammad Ashraful, Junaid Siddique, Jahurul Islam, Shakib Al Hasan, Nasir Hossain, Ziaur Rahman, Elias Sunny, Abdur Razzak, Mashrafe Mortaza, Shafiul Islam, Farhad Reza, Abul Hasan.
Strengths: Bangladesh play fearless cricket. The young side is capable of causing upsets. The all-round abilities of Shakib Al Hasan are key. Tamim Iqbal's aggressive batting at the top has always helped the team. Knowing the conditions is another bonus.
Weaknesses: Bangladesh have failed to put together collective effort. Mohammad Ashraful has not been able to deliver consistent batting performances.
Key players: Shakib, Tamim, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mashrafe Mortaza.