Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Two of the semi finalists of the ICC World Twenty20 Championship have been confirmed. England and Pakistan. And it would be safe to say that Australia is also confirmed.

So there is a fight on for the last spot between three teams - Sri Lanka, West Indies and India.

This last spot is a very important one - not because it is a semi-final spot, but because the team that will take that spot will play England in the semi-finals. Now, I know that England is playing good cricket, Kevin Pietersen is in roaring form, even Tim Bresnan is coming up with match-winning performances... but I do not expect them to proceed any further in the tournament. Losing semi-finalists is a good enough performance by any English team in an ICC tournament.

While we all wonder about South Africa's choking tendencies, we tend to forget that England team is much the same. Only, their losses are never called 'choking' because no one really expects them to proceed further. With good reason.

This time though, there are expectations. And pretty high ones at that. Will that change anything? I really doubt it. And that is why, the two fixtures today become all the more important.

Sri Lanka and India have a better chance than West Indies of beating England with their spinners on the St. Lucia pitch in the semi-finals. This implies that the team who profits from the day's play will have a very realistic chance of facing Australia in the finals (oh yes, Australia is going to smash Pakistan like they have done all through their summer)!

All this means that Australia is going to win this tournament (no, no, no please!), I see no other alternative. The only chance of them losing is in the semi-finals... and I don't see it happening with Pakistan as their opponents. Once they reach the finals, they are bound to win it. The last time they lost the finals of a major multi-team (more than 3 teams) tournament was way back in 1996 to an Arjuna Ranatunga-led Sri Lanka. The only other time in history where they have lost such a final is in another generation - the 1975 World Cup final loss to Clive Lloyd's West Indies.

So, here's my verdict: Australia beat Sri Lanka / West Indies / India to lift the World Twenty20 Championship.

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