Big guns ready to have a blast in Super Eights
The World Twenty20 shifts to a higher gear in Sri Lanka today when the hot favourites begin an intriguing race for the semi-finals in the Super Eights round.
The preliminary league, which ended on Tuesday, separated the men from the boys as lesser teams such as 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 advancing to the semi-finals.
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.
In the other half, defending champions England, New Zealand and hosts Sri Lanka moved up with just one win each, with the West Indies going through without even winning a game.
Darren Sammy's Caribbean stars lost to Australia and then had their match against Ireland abandoned after 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.
"I am aware of what happened back in 2010, but the most important thing is that we have got to do well in the Super Eights," the West Indies captain said. "We have to keep improving our game."
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 action will hot up with the group two double-header in Colombo tomorrow when the power-packed South Africans meet Pakistan, before India take on Australia.
"If we can win that first one in the Super Eights, it does give you that confidence and that little buffer that you just need one [win] out of the last two to get through," Australia batsman Mike Hussey said.