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ICC World Twenty20 Cricket : Dr. Nilesh D. Mehta

ICC World Twenty20 cricket 

India’s preparations for the ICC World Twenty20 2016 went into motion when they took on the struggling Aussies. Prior to the three Twenty20 matches in Australia, India’s winning streak started in the capital of New South Wales, Australia with a confident win in the 5thODI.

An emphatic 3-0 blanking of the Australian team in the Twenty20 games, even if against a second or a third string side, propelled India to replace West Indies at the top of ICC T20 rankings. Australians have not given much importance to the T20 format judging by the number of matches they have played leading up to mega ICC event in India.

India’s stars in the T20 series down under certainly included an enigmatic Jasprit Bumrah who ended up in the team after he was drafted in as a replacement for Bhuvneshwar Kumar. In the IPL world, Bumrah is no stranger with his stint with Mumbai Indians.

Next up – Sri Lanka – did ruin the Indian streak with a win in on a green top Pune pitch against a confident Indian side that played host to a rebuilding Sri Lanka team. The subsequent two matches were comfortably won by India and besides giving them the series win, it also continued to bolster their ever-increasing confidence.

The Blue Brigade next moved on to Bangladesh for the Asia Cup. And, there was no stopping the Indian juggernaut in Mirpur. One of the highlights was the much anticipated and high-voltage clash with Pakistan in the Asia Cup. It is one of those games where there is confirmed excitement, emotion, action, and the quintessential India-Pakistan drama.

A lot of focus for this Asia Cup match was on the rehabilitated Mohammad Amir, 23-year-old pacer who was one of the most valuable bowlers in the just-concluded Pakistan Super League (PSL) that saw him claim a hat-trick in one of the games. He was banned for five years after being found guilty in the 2010 spot-fixing scandal. His return to international cricket was solidified after an impressive showing in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL).

India Pakistan T20 memories go back to their first T20 clash in Durban 2007. After nearly threatening a solo heist by an aging yet talented Misbah-ul-Haq, scores were tied with a first-ever bowl out and Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh, and Robin Uthappa hit bull’s eye as India won. For the India Pakistan match for Asia Cup, the Mirpur wicket was surprisingly bouncy to assist some pace and bounce for the talented Pakistan seamers – Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Irfan, Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Sami. This match served as a precursor to the clash at Dharamshala in the ICC World Twenty20 later this month.

In the end, India comfortably beat Pakistan in Mirpur as they continued to demonstrate their stamp of authority in T20 format. After comprehensively capturing victories in all the matches, the Asia Cup final will be played against Bangladesh with a boisterous home crowd heavily favouring the Mashrafe Mortaza led team. There is no doubt that Bangladesh, as a T20 playing nation, have made their presence felt especially when they eliminated Pakistan from the Asia Cup. 

India’s strength in the upcoming T20 World Cup is primarily due to their domination in the batting department with the likes of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma showing their class. There may a minimal concern about Shikhar Dhawan’s form at the top of the innings but the explosive south paw can turn on his switch anytime during the World Cup.  While it is true that in this format one player can make a huge difference with an over or a few strokes with the bat, it is India’s inherent chemistry at the present time that make them favourites to reach at the top during this ICC Twenty20 Cricket World Cup.