Here come the heavy hitters

The Black Caps’ Lockie Ferguson. Photos: Getty Images
The Black Caps’ Lockie Ferguson. Photos: Getty Images
The T20 World Cup starts on Sunday night (NZ time) with Oman and Papua New Guinea doing battle in the heat in the UAE. Don’t worry, it is only a prelude to the bigger games to come. Cricket writer Adrian Seconi provides a snapshot of what the month ahead has in store.

Format

In the first round Ireland, Namibia, the Netherlands and Sri Lanka will contest group A, while Bangladesh, Oman, Papua New Guinea and Scotland have been drawn in group B. The top two teams from each group earn the right to advance to the Super 12.

In the Super 12 round two groups of six teams will play a round-robin, the top two teams of each group progressing to the semifinals.

The Black Caps have been drawn in group 2 alongside Pakistan, India and Afghanistan. They will be joined by the winner of group B and the runner-up in group A.

Australia, England, South Africa and the West Indies are drawn in group 1 and will be joined by the winner of group A and the runner-up of group B.

India’s KL Rahul
India’s KL Rahul
Big games

New Zealand has a chequered record against Pakistan in ICC world tournaments and its hasty departure from the recent tour will add spice to their round-robin match on October 27.

But it probably does not get any bigger than India-Pakistan on October 25.

Defending champions the West Indies open their campaign against England on October 24 and that should be a good watch. Plenty of big hitters in both camps.

Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan.
Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan.
Who to watch

Rashid Khan

(Afghanistan)

The 23-year-old has become the poster boy for Afghanistan cricket and is in hot demand on the T20 circuit. The leg-spinner is not a big turner but watch out for his googly. He is also very hard to score off and takes a wicket basically every two overs.

Ryan ten Doeschate

(Netherlands)

The veteran Netherlands all-rounder will retire after the tournament, bringing an end to a wonderful career for a top bloke. He is arguably one of the best cricketers never to play test cricket and a quality finisher in coloured clothing. Volts fans will remember him fondly. He spent three summers in the province and was instrumental in the 15-game T20 winning streak in 2013. Dutch team-mate Max O’Dowd had a productive season for Otago A last season and was unlucky not to get an opportunity with the Volts.

Australia’s Glenn Maxwell. Photo: Reuters
Australia’s Glenn Maxwell. Photo: Reuters
Glenn Maxwell

(Australia)

Moves from genius to dunce quicker than anyone else in world cricket. Always exciting. Always innovative. Scores awfully quickly. Handy spin bowler as well.

Lockie Ferguson

(New Zealand)

It might be a batsmen’s game but the New Zealand speedster’s pace and accuracy make him one very tricky player to score off. He has a economy rate 6.86, which combined with his strike rate 11.50 makes him lethal.

KL Rahul

(India)

Wonderful form in the IPL. One of the many class players in the Indian line-up.

Shimron Hetmyer

(West Indies)

It is not easy to stand out in a team which includes Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard and Andre Russell, but Hetmyer might just be ready to step into the spotlight judging by his IPL form.

The Netherlands’ Ryan ten Doeschate
The Netherlands’ Ryan ten Doeschate
Questions for the Black Caps

Will they regret leaving Ross Taylor and Finn Allen behind?

Can Devon Conway lift his T20 average over 60?

How many overs can we ask Glenn Phillips to shuffle through?

The boundary countback rule has been abolished, right?

Will Tim Southee play a game?

Can they reach another final of an ICC world event?

Tournament fun facts

Australia has never won the tournament.

Sri Lanka’s Mahela Jayawardene is the leading scorer with 1016 runs at a strike rate 134.74 and average of 39.07.

Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi is the leading wicket-taker with 39 at an economy of 6.71 and average of 23.25.

Powerful West Indies opener Chris Gayle has hit 60 sixes — nearly twice as many as anyone else.

Sri Lanka has the highest team total. It posted a 260 for six against Kenya in South Africa in 2007. Ouch.

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