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Cricinfo Preview - T20 World Cup 2007

T20 World Cup 2007
September 11 - 24


Hit 'n run

Get ready for thirteen days of frenetic action as the inaugural ICC World Twenty20 takes centre stage from September 11. It’s the third major limited-overs tournament – the Champions Trophy and World Cup being the others - to be held in less than a year but the 20-overs-a-side format is not only the shortest with regard to match duration, but will probably turn out to be the most popular with the fans. Shortened breaks, timeouts and quick changeovers have allowed fans to see what they like the most; big hitting and plenty of it. With boundaries being shortened, and powerful speakers planted in the stands, the adrenaline will soar. Don’t bet against the possibility of the first Twenty20 international century being scored in the next two weeks.

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Playing hosts to the inaugural ICC World Twenty20 can be a daunting experience for South Africa, especially with the 'chokers' tag
Playing hosts to the inaugural ICC World Twenty20 can be a daunting experience for South Africa, especially with the 'chokers' tag
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Latest betting odds, Australia 15/8, South Africa 9/2, Sri Lanka 7/1, England 15/2, West Indies 8/1, New Zealand 8/1, India 9/1, Pakistan 10/1, Bangladesh 100/1, Zimbabwe 500/1, Kenya 1000/1, Scotland 2000/1
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Your guide to who's hot and who's not in the ICC World Twenty20.
Graeme Smith The South African captain is currently the leading scorer in Twenty20 internationals and with three half-centuries in five matches at a strike rate of almost 140, few would bet against him to score the first century in this format. An unbeaten 89 off 58 deliveries against Australia and 71 off 40 balls versus Pakistan gave us glimpses of what Smith is capable of. And with the strong support from the home crowd spurring him on, he might just get better.
Ricky Ponting His arrival in South Africa might have been delayed due to family reasons, but rest assured it'll be his rivals who have all the worries once Ponting, the Australian captain, arrives in the middle. His 98 off 55 balls against New Zealand is the highest individual Twenty20 score and Ponting is as devastating as Twenty20 batsmen come. A strike rate of 162 and with plenty of reliable batsmen around him to hold fort, Ponting's stroke-filled approach to this version of cricket could cause permanent damage to advertising hoardings, the crowd and the morale of the opposition.
Kevin Pietersen Yet to make his presence felt in Twenty20s, Pietersen is at his most dangerous when the stakes are high. Two centuries at World Cup 2007 against Australia and West Indies, and useful contributions throughout, ensured respectability for England. His form has been patchy in ODIs of late but with an average of 47 from his last 20 outings, and his big-hitting prowess, Pietersen can be at his most devastating in the short format of the game.
Scott Styris Scoring 499 at the World Cup was surely the highest point of Styris’ career and although New Zealand have not played any internationals since their semi-final exit at the hands of Sri Lanka, Styris had a useful county stint with Durham. A veteran of 29 Twenty20s at domestic level, Styris has scored over 700 runs and taken 27 wickets. Fitness permitting, Styris, together with Jacob Oram, could form a destructive batting pair for New Zealand at the ICC World Twenty20.
Michael Hussey Hussey golden run in ODIs ended at the World Cup where a lack of opportunities and poor form resulted in him scoring only 87 runs in the tournament. Aggregating 247 runs in his last 10 ODIs at an average of 27, Hussey will be looking to bounce back in South Africa. His last worthy score was 102 in New Zealand as Australia's captain during a Chappell-Hadlee series. A quick accumulator of runs, Hussey will be hoping others, and there are plenty of them, do the power hitting around him thus allowing him to get back into his groove.
Virender Sehwag Once an indispensable part of the Indian team, Sehwag's last twenty matches for India have yielded only 440 runs at an average of just over 24. Only twice has he managed to pass 50 in that period and his 114 against minnows Bermuda in the World Cup was not enough to seal a spot on the tour of England. Sehwag, however, boasts an ODI strike-rate of 97 and together with MS Dhoni, India's Twenty20 captain, can cause some serious damage, form permitting.
Marlon Samuels Although two Twenty20 innings have brought Samuels 93 runs, including a top-score of 51 and seven sixes, it is his recent limited-overs form that has been worrying for the West Indies. He has scored only 184 runs and taken only one wicket in his last eight matches. The inconsistency led to Samuels being omitted from the tour of England but clawed his way back into the squad for the ICC World Twenty20. A powerful hitter, how Samuels with the bat will impact West Indies’ progress in the tournament.
Vikram Solanki Solanki comes into the tournament with an aggregate of 177 from his last 10 ODI outings, the last of which was over a year ago. He is a surprise inclusion, justified only by his performance in the domestic Twenty20 matches. One shy of 600 Twenty20 runs in 19 innings with a highest of 92, Solanki, although not the most authoritative or aggressive batsman, was selected primarily due to his ability to hold the innings together.

  Shahid Afridi It only takes the Pakistan allrounder a couple of deliveries to get going. Holder of the record for the fastest ODI century - off 37 balls - Afridi warmed up for the ICC world Twenty20 with a 15-ball 57 against Uganda. With a strike-rate of almost 150 in Twenty20s, Afridi can be devastating in the final overs. His agility in the field and his ability to bowl fast legspin makes him an invaluable asset to the team.

Sanath Jayasuriya The pioneer of power hitting by virtue of his heroics in the 1996 World Cup, Jayasuriya, even at 38, hits the ball further than most batsmen. His two Twenty20 innings have brought 92 runs, including an unbeaten half-century, as well as five wickets. His bowling towards the end of the innings will be as important as his batting at the start. A veteran of 398 ODIs, Jayasuriya’s penchant for hitting boundaries square of the wicket could prove useful especially in small grounds.

Andrew Symonds A fearsome Twenty20 strike-rate of 201, a wrestler's build, and true Australian aggression; Symonds could be the man of the tournament in South Africa. And that is on the basis of his batting only. His four internationals have also brought him seven wickets with his offspinners or medium pace, whatever the situation demands. As with New Zealand, Australia have not played since their World Cup triumph in April but Symonds, averaging 52 from his last 15 matches, is not one to take time settling down.

Luke Wright Termed by many as the dark horse of the tournament, Wright burst onto international scene with a 39-ball 50 against India at The Oval. Having played 29 domestic Twenty20s, and scoring 433 runs at a phenomenal strike-rate of 170, Wright has the potential to explode without getting bogged down by the high-profile names in the opposition. Leading run-scorer in the 2007 Twenty20 edition, Wright also has a century in this format of the game.

A venue by the sea and home to the Natal team, Kingsmead hosted its first Test way back in 1923 for the touring English side that included the likes of Phil Mead and Frank Woolley. The last international at this venue, an ODI between Pakistan and South Africa in February earlier this year, saw the visitors smash 351 off their 50 overs. 'Have mercy' will be the catch-phrase as the teams assemble for a Twenty20.

Home of the Western Province Cricket, Newlands in Cape Town has been described by many as one of the most beautiful grounds in the world. Set at the foot of the Table Mountain (providing plenty of opportunities for budding artists), Newlands offers support to spin bowlers but is a batting paradise, for those who apply themselves.

The Wanderers
One of Micheal Atherton's favourite venues (for he battled against the South African attack for over 10 hours to save a match), The Wanderers in Johannesburg will play host to the opening clash between South Africa and West Indies as well as the final of the tournament. The Wanderers has witnessed historical moments, none more special than the successful 434 run chase against Australia in March 2006.

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