Big guns set to boom in race for T20 semis

Big guns set to boom in race for T20 semis

COLOMBO - Agence France-Presse
Big guns set to boom in race for T20 semis

Australian cricketer Shane Watson (R) celebrates with captain George Bailey (L) after beating West Indies. Australia is among the favorites at the World Twenty20. AFP photo

The World Twenty20 shifts to a higher gear in Sri Lanka today when the hot favorites begin an intriguing race for the semifinals in the Super Eights round.

The preliminary league, which ended on Sept. 25, separated the men from the boys as lesser teams like Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan and Ireland exited the competition.

All eight seeded teams will contest the second round, divided into two groups with the top two from each half advancing to the semi-finals.

The road to the Super Eights was bumpy for some and a smooth ride for others, and with monsoon rains set to add to the uncertainty, the next round promises another roller coaster ride. Australia, South Africa, India and Pakistan, clubbed together for the Super Eights in the ‘group of death’, all came through unscathed by winning both their preliminary matches.

But in the other half, defending champion England, New Zealand and host Sri Lanka moved up with just one win each, with the West Indies going through without a win.

Darren Sammy’s Caribbean stars lost to Australia and then had their match against Ireland abandoned due to rain, allowing them to scrape through with a superior run-rate over the Irish. England won the last edition in 2010 after a similar winless start in the preliminary round, but Sammy refused to derive any consolation from that.

Double header
The West Indies take on England in the second match of today’s double-header in Pallekele, following the opener between Sri Lanka and New Zealand.

The competition will be intense as even two wins out of three in a Super Eights group may not guarantee a semifinal berth if one team loses every match and the other three beat each other. If teams are equal on points, run-rates will determine which one loses out.

With bad weather forecast for the rest of the tournament, several twists and turns could be on the cards before the final on Oct. 7.