World Twenty20 winner is anyone’s guess


The World Twenty20 explodes into action this week in tropical Sri Lanka with no runaway favourite and upsets likely in cricket’s shortest and least predictable form. At least half of the 12 participating nations will consider themselves strong contenders to lift the trophy in Colombo on October 7, with the others hopeful of living up to the event’s reputation for shocks.
From defending champions England, the powerful West Indies and formidable South Africa to Asia’s top three — former winners India and Pakistan, and Sri Lanka — the field is strong and deep.
The others won’t be taken lightly either, if a string of sensational results in the tournament’s three previous editions are any indication.
While many purists are unconvinced by Twenty20, and fear the impact on Test cricket, there’s no doubting its entertainment value.
India, initially reluctant to embrace the newest format, won the inaugural event in South Africa in 2007 under rookie skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni after senior pros Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly opted out.
It was in the same tournament that Zimbabwe stunned Australia, Bangladesh upset the West Indies, and India brushed aside England, South Africa, Australia and Pakistan in successive games to grab the title.
Pakistan won the second edition in England in 2009, a tournament that made a stunning start when the Netherlands, a non Test-playing nation, upset the hosts by four wickets in front of a packed house at Lord’s.
England claimed the 2010 title in the Caribbean, but it was Australia’s amazing win over Pakistan in the semi-final that remained the talking point. With 34 needed from the final two overs, Michael Hussey smashed 38 off 10 balls to take Australia home with one delivery to spare.