2016 ICC Twenty20 Cricket Coming to India
By Glenn Cowan
Ten teams qualifies automatically through their status as full members of the International Cricket Council (ICC) with the remaining six teams, Scotland, Ireland, Hong Kong, Netherlands, Afghanistan and debutant Oman making it through the qualifying round.
The tournament is due to commence on the 8th March, with Seven Indian cities hosting a total of 35 matches. Eden Gardens, Kolkata will see the final played out, just under a month later on the 3rd April.
The 2014 tournament took place in Bangladesh, with Sri Lanka seeing off India by 6 wickets in what was a low scoring contest.
A crowd of 25,334 at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur saw the winners reach 134 runs in the 18th over, for a loss of just Four wickets.
The award for highest scoring batsman during the tournament went to India’s Virat Kohli.
He hit no less than 319 runs at an average of 77 runs per match. Kohli was in scintillating form hitting 24 Fours and 10 Sixes in his Six innings.
Top Bowler honours went to South Africa's Imran Tahir. He picked up 12 wickets in Five games at an average of 10.91. Tahir’s best figures was 4/21. Netherlands Ahsan Malik followed a close second taking the same number of wickets, but in an extra Two innings, recording 5/19 as his best match figures in the process.
As normal there are Two (A, B) groups that hold the Eight qualifying teams. Winners from a round of 6 matches will then join the 10 ICC member countries in the Super 10 Group Stage.
Group A consists of:
Group B Consists of:
The opening games of the group stages sees Hong Kong take on Zimbabwe in Nagpur and Afghanistan play Scotland on the 8th March.
Final games in the group stage sees Ireland play Netherlands and Bangladesh take on Oman in Dharamsala on the 13th March.
Super 10 Groups
As per the 2014 format of the tournament, the next stage is the Super 10 Groups.
Group 1 will consist of Sri Lanka, South Africa, West Indies, England and the winner of Group B.
Group 2 will consist of India, New Zealand, Pakistan, Australia and the winner of Group A.
Each team plays the others once, with India vs New Zealand kicking things off on the 15th March in Nagpur.
The last game in the Super 10 Group stage sees South Africa taking on Sri Lanka in Delhi on the 28th March.
Wednesday 30th and Thursday 31st March sees the semi finals, taking place in Delhi and Mumbai respectively.
The final of this year's World Twenty20 is scheduled to take place in Kolkata on the Sunday 3rd April.
Players to Watch
There are several players who could easily walk away with the title of “player of the tournament”, here's a low-down on the the top 5.
Ben Stokes - England
Stokes is a powerful left hander, who is well capable of turning any game, with either the bat or ball.
In form Stokes adds a real presence lower down the batting order and will certainly hope to capitalize on any fast starts that either Alex Hales or Eoin Morgan can produce.
Stokes is very useful in the field and will no doubt be buoyed by his recent 258 in test cricket against the South Africans.
David Warner - Australia
The diminutive Aussie left-hander stands 5ft 7”, but size doesn’t prevent Warner from packing a powerful punch.
Without question, Warner is one of the cleanest hitters of a cricket ball anywhere in the world. Expect to see an array of regular and not so regular strokes from this top batsman.
Conditions are likely to suit too, as Warner has racked up an amazing 83 matches for the Delhi Daredevils and Sunrisers Hyderabad in his Indian Premier League (IPL) stints. During his IPL time he has averaged 34, with a strike rate of almost 140.
AB de Villiers - South Africa
The South African captain will undoubtedly carry many of his countryman's hopes as they chase a drought breaking limited overs title.
Holding the record for the fastest 50 (16 Balls) and 100 (31 Balls) in One Day International (ODI) history, de Villiers is definitely no slouch with the bat.
Experience in the IPL will be important as he looks to emulate the form that saw him smash 133 from 59 balls for the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Kane Williamson - New Zealand
Seen by many as the No.1 limited overs batsman, it will be interesting to see how he adapts to the Twenty20 format of the game.
Williamson will need to fill some pretty big shoes, with the retirement of Kiwis legend Brendon McCullum. Power and placement are a large part of Williamson's game, in many respects he plays a more classical cricket than McCullum.
When the pitches start turning, his off-break bowling style might well prove to be of immense use to the New Zealand cause.
Virat Kohli - India
Kohli picked up the most runs in the last Twenty20 and will be primed for this year's tournament.
One of the outstanding players to watch out for and will be looking to maximize the support of the home crowds. Vice captain to MS Dhoni in the limited over forms of the game puts added pressure on Kohli’s shoulders.
Should Kohli produce the goods again in this tournament he could easily cement his place as a genuine successor to the legendary Sachin Tendulkar.
Watching the Action
Keen cricket fans will be able to watch the action at a whole host of top sporting venues in Pattaya.
Matches are scheduled to be played either in the afternoon or evening, local time.
Thankfully India is only 1 Hour and 30 Minutes behind the time in Thailand, making it very easy for us to watch the cricket as it unfolds.
Pattaya’s best sports bars will no doubt be vying for custom during the tournament. Punters can expect a combination of some great sport and beer, while cheering on their team.