Hambantota, Sep 18: In a few hours, ICC World Twenty20 2012 will get under way with hosts Sri Lanka facing Zimbabwe in the opener on Tuesday night.
World T20 Schedule; Group C Preview
Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium will be the venue for the first match of the fourth edition of the World T20.
This will be a Group C clash with South Africa being the third team. Zimbabwe have lost their previous 10 T20 Internationals. And Sri Lanka have been victorious in both their outings against this side.
Sri Lanka, one of the favourites for title, will be hoping to kick-start their campaign on a high. At the same time, Zimbabwe have the ability to surprise.
Mahela Jayawardene and his men cannot take Zimbabwe lightly.
"We are one of the favourites but we are part of the pack that, you know, if we get into a good momentum we could go all the way. We cannot put the hype down in the sense that we are playing at home," Jayawardene said on Monday.
"Sri Lanka is a cricket-crazy country and the expectations would be high. People would back us so we need to enjoy that," the captain added.
On Zimbabwe, Jayawardene said: "They are a good team and can be attacking and very competitive. We need to be at our best and not get complacent."
Lasith Malinga is a crucial bowler for Sri Lanka's chances. His unorthodox action combined with pace has troubled many batsmen.
Zimbabwe batsmen will be worried on how to handle Malinga. Having not faced him many times in recent history could pose a big problem.
The presence of Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara, Dinesh Chandimal, Angelo Mathews, Thisara Perera and Ajantha Mendis will certainly lift the hopes of home fans. They are all fine players in this format.
Sri Lanka, who lost to Pakistan in the final of 2009 World T20 edition, will hope to strike it rich at home. They have had the disappointment of losing three big finals. They lost 2007 and 2011 50-over World Cup title clashes to Australia and India respectively.
For Zimbabwe, it is yet another chance to prove that they belong to the big stage. Brendan Taylor can lead the team from the front with his aggressive batting. The experienced left-arm spinner Ray Price can be handy in subcontinent conditions.
With World T20 set to begin without any opening ceremony planned, all focus will be on hosts Sri Lanka in the inaugural game.
Sri Lanka: Mahela Jayawardene (captain), Dinesh Chandimal, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Akila Dananjaya, Shaminda Eranga, Rangana Herath, Nuwan Kulasekara, Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathews, Ajantha Mendis, Jeewan Mendis, Dilshan Munaweera, Thisara Perera, Kumar Sangakkara, Lahiru Thirimanne.
Zimbabwe: Brendan Taylor (captain and wicketkeeper), Vusi Sibanda, Hamilton Masakadza, Stuart Matsikenyeri, Malcolm Waller, Elton Chigumbura, Craig Ervine, Graeme Cremer, Ray Price, Kyle Jarvis, Chris Mpofu, Richard Muzhange, Brian Vitori, Prosper Utseya, Forster Mutizwa.
Umpires: Ian Gould (England) and Rod Tucker (Australia)
TV umpire: Richard Kettleborough (England)
Match referee: Jeff Crowe (New Zealand)
Reserve umpire: Steve Davis (Australia)
Match starts 7.30 PM IST
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