Daijiworld Media Network
Colombo, Sep 22: The biggest favourites of this tournament start their campaign today. No, I'm not talking about Australia. It's the West Indies! With a side packed with power-hitters which includes the monster Chris Gayle, it's only fair that they are labeled favourites. But history will tell us that the tag of 'favourites' count for little in this format. Australia have incredible power too, and today's game promises to be an action packed entertainer. Warner or Gayle? Watson or Bravo? Hogg or Narine? Stay tuned.
West Indies have won the toss and elected to bat.
Australia (Playing XI): David Warner, Shane Watson, Michael Hussey, Cameron White, George Bailey(c), Glenn Maxwell, Daniel Christian, Matthew Wade(w), Brad Hogg, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc
West Indies (Playing XI): Chris Gayle, Dwayne Smith, Johnson Charles, Marlon Samuels, Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo, Darren Sammy(c), Denesh Ramdin(w), Sunil Narine, Ravi Rampaul, Fidel Edwards
Australia will look to continue their perfect start to the tournament with another commanding performance but they will have the dangerous West Indies side to deal with. West Indies boast of a long list of all-rounders and are being touted as the team to watch out for. They will be keen on starting off on a positive note.
Australia started off with a comfortable 7 wicket win over the Irish. Shane Watson was the undoubted star for the Oz, contributing with both bat and ball. The George Bailey led squad will want Watson to continue in the same vein and will hope for the other to rally around their star performer and get another win under their belt.
A complete all-round effort from the Aussies will leave them with very little to worry about, but they will know the importance of building and maintaining a winning momentum in such a big tournament. Going into the next stage on the back of a loss could prove to be very costly and Australia will be out to ensure there is no such thing.
Shane Watson, David Warner and Cameron White all performed well with the bat in the last game but they were largely untroubled by the Irish bowlers, The variety and experience WI bring in their bowling will prove to be a much tougher task for the 2010 finalists.
Their bowling too was backed by a solid effort from all their bowlers. Watson was the most successful bowler but the likes of Mitchell Starc, Brad Hogg and Glenn Maxwell to did well for the team from Down Under.
A team that is studded with proven performers is always the one that has the maximum chance of triumphing. West Indies enter this tournament with such comfort with players like Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo, Dwayne Smith, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine and Fidel Edwards packing the side with a lot of power.
Apart from these players, who are capable of winning the match on their own, West Indies also have more names who are also match-winners in their own right. The likes of Darren Bravo, Marlon Samuels, skipper Darren Sammy, Denesh Ramdin and Ravi Rampaul are talents with international repute and their presence adds that much more strength to the side. With a side that is spoilt for options, Sammy will only be hoping for the players in his side contribute collectively and perform on a consistent basis. If they do so, the Cup may well make its way to the Caribbean Islands.
One thing that goes against West Indies is their performance in the 20 over format. While the major Test playing nations have a win percentage of more than 50 in T20Is, West Indies have lost more matches than they have won, which gives some of the other sides a slight edge over them. Also, the fact that the West Indian team have never carried the favourites tag in the recent years might put that added pressure on them which can always have adverse effects.
Players to watch out for
Shane Watson: The all-rounder already showed why he is so imporatnt with a terrific performance in the last game. Australia will expect him to carry on from where he left off
Sunil Narine: With a team that is packed with Super stars, is is a difficult task to single one player who can make maximum impact. Having said that, West Indies have in them, apart from the powerful batsmen like Gayle, Pollard, Bravo and Smith, a spinner who can turn the match on his own. Given the fact that conditions in Sri Lanka will be condusive to spin bowling, Sunil Narine's presence and the mystery element that comes with his bowling, gives West Indies an advantage over the other sides. Nothing less than bagful of wickets can be expected off Narine, who was recently named the ICC Emerging Player of the Year and Trinidad and Tobago's Cricketer of the year.
Related Video - Aussies at the practice session