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West Indies win World Twenty20 title in Sri Lanka

West Indies battle to glorious win over hosts Sri Lanka to win World Twenty20 title

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UPDATED:

17:08 GMT, 7 October 2012

Marlon Samuels inspired a West Indies fightback from the brink to deny Sri Lanka a home win and triumph themselves instead in the ICC World Twenty20 final.

Samuels' memorable 78 revived the Windies, after it appeared they had fluffed their lines terminally, on the way to an improbable 36-run victory at the Premadasa Stadium.

In a showpiece match which saw the majority of bowlers excel themselves, and almost all the batsmen stumble on centre stage, Samuels bucked the trend emphatically with a 56-ball innings containing six sixes and three fours on a fair pitch. How the West Indies needed him, though, after an embarrassing false start to their innings in which master blaster Chris Gayle could make only three from 16 balls.

On top of the world: West Indies players celebrate after winning the World Twenty20 final

On top of the world: West Indies players celebrate after winning the World Twenty20 final

We've only gone and done it: Dwayne Bravo celebrates as he holds a catch to clinch victory for the West Indies

We've only gone and done it: Dwayne Bravo celebrates as he holds a catch to clinch victory for the West Indies

Even after Samuels had transformed
proceedings, it seemed West Indies had almost certainly fallen short of a
winning score with their 137 for six. But it was to be Sri Lanka who
truly froze as what appeared a near routine chase featured a mid-innings
collapse of six wickets for 21 runs – for a final product of 101 all
out in the 19th over, and just the Windies' second International Cricket
Council global trophy since the 1979 World Cup.

But the match had started ominously
badly for them. Their famed big-hitters were simply nowhere to be seen
for the first half of their innings, as initial caution went to extremes
– and Ajantha Mendis (four for 12) took most advantage.

Delight: Sunil Narine celebrates with teammates after the run out of Jeevan Mendis

Delight: Sunil Narine celebrates with teammates after the run out of Jeevan Mendis

Angelo Mathews and Nuwan Kulasekera
used the new ball well, but it was still bizarre that the West Indies
should take until the fifth over to reach double-figures.

Their achingly slow start was under
way with four dot-balls from Mathews to Johnson Charles, who reacted to
the fifth by mistiming a catch to mid-off. After that wicket-maiden –
number three Samuels let the sixth ball, his first, go – there was not a
run on the board until Kulasekera bowled a wide halfway through the
second over.

All smiles: Denesh Ramdin celebrates with Marlon Samuels and Chris Gayle after running out Thisara Perera

All smiles: Denesh Ramdin celebrates with Marlon Samuels and Chris Gayle after running out Thisara Perera

Around 40 was probably par in
powerplay. But after Gayle took nine balls to get off the mark, with a
scampered single to mid-off – and was eventually lbw pushing forward to
Ajantha – the Windies could muster only 14 for two in their first six
overs.

They had a solitary boundary at that
point, punched past cover by Samuels off Kulasekera. It was not until
the 12th over, after Kulasekera had dropped Samuels at long-off on 20
off Jeevan Mendis, that birthday boy Dwayne Bravo added a first six to
go with the four – over midwicket off Akila Dananjaya.

Hitting out: Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene batting in Colombo

Hitting out: Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene batting in Colombo

But Samuels clubbed consecutive sixes
off the returning Lasith Malinga, over midwicket and extra-cover, and
then a third in the over, beyond long-on. The 13th over therefore cost
21 runs.

Bravo was to go to lbw, even though
bat might have been involved, pushing forward to Ajantha to end a
third-wicket stand of 59. Yet when Samuels brought up his 50 with his
fourth six, over long-on off Jeevan, West Indies were at last striking
to their potential.

Bowled: Tillakaratne Dilshan loses his wicket in Colombo

Bowled: Tillakaratne Dilshan loses his wicket in Colombo

It seemed too much had been left too
late, though, an impression underlined after Ajantha put himself on a
hat-trick – Kieron Pollard cutting, and well-held at backward point, and
Andre Russell lbw sweeping.

Samuels was eventually sixth out,
caught in the leg-side deep off Dananjaya, but captain Darren Sammy gave
his team a late lift by taking 16 off Kulasekera's final over. That
feelgood continued for the Windies when Ravi Rampaul produced an
excellent first delivery, knocking out Tillekeratne Dilshan's off-stump
to see him off for a duck.

Cheer we go: Sri Lankan bowler Ajantha Mendis celebrates after taking the wicket of West Indies batsman Andre Russell

Cheer we go: Sri Lankan bowler Ajantha Mendis celebrates after taking the wicket of West Indies batsman Andre Russell

The early breakthrough was a
necessary starting point for Sammy's men, but scoreboard pressure
appeared minimal while home captain Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar
Sangakkara were sharing a second-wicket stand of 42.

Not until Sangakkara picked out deep
midwicket with a pull at Samuel Badree did the Sri Lanka wobble kick in.
Mathews somehow managed to be bowled round his legs, off-stump, trying
to sweep Sammy.

Having a go: Kieron Pollard in batting action for the West Indies

Having a go: Kieron Pollard in batting action for the West Indies

The lynchpin himself, Jayawardene,
had already been dropped twice but could not make it count when he
reverse-swept Sunil Narine into Sammy's hands. Then the collapse went
into overdrive as Jeevan and then Thisara Perera were both haplessly
run-out.

There was no way back – despite some
late hitting from Kulasekera – after Lahiru Thirimanne, the last
specialist batsman, also bowed to the pressure by holing out in the
deep. A shell-shocked home crowd of 35,000 capacity had assembled to
cheer Sri Lanka all the way to their first 'World Cup' success since
1996.

Instead, they witnessed the
unlikeliest of denouements as West Indies got their hands on some
silverware to add at last to the Champions Trophy of 2004.

Showpiece: Sri Lanka face West Indies in the final

Showpiece: Sri Lanka face West Indies in the final

Hair we go: Sri Lankan fans cheer on their side at the R. Premadasa International Cricket Stadium in Colombo

Hair we go: Sri Lankan fans cheer on their side at the R. Premadasa International Cricket Stadium in Colombo

World Twenty20: Sri Lanka beat Pakistan to make final

Herath and Mendis help Sri Lanka spin past Pakistan to make final

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UPDATED:

17:40 GMT, 4 October 2012

Sri Lanka's spinners carried them through to the final of their home tournament, with a 16-run ICC World Twenty20 victory over Pakistan at the Premadasa Stadium.

Rival openers Mahela Jayawardene and Mohammad Hafeez top-scored with 42 on each side in this semi-final, but it was Rangana Herath and Ajantha Mendis who gave Sri Lanka the edge with five wickets between them after the hosts had posted 139 for four.

Sri Lanka's sixless innings was a curious affair, albeit on a slow and low surface – but Pakistan's run chase ran out of steam against Angelo Mathews and the spinners.

Final chance: Sri Lankan celebrate their victory over Pakistan to make the final in their own country

Final chance: Sri Lankan celebrate their victory over Pakistan to make the final in their own country

SCORECARD

Click here to read the full scorecard

Jayawardene played especially well, as he almost always does, after choosing to bat first.

The captain dominated a first-wicket stand of 63 with Tillekeratne Dilshan, reverse-sweeping expertly against spin and timing and placing his seven boundaries.

But he chipped a catch to short fine-leg off Shahid Afridi, and then Kumar Sangakkara made all except three runs in a stand of 24 until he was caught at long-on off Hafeez.

Umar Gul thought he had struck in the 18th over, Jeevan Mendis lbw to a yorker, only to discover he had overstepped. But two balls later, Gul got Dilshan in near identical fashion – the opener having taken 43 deliveries over his 35.

Stumped: Sri Lanka's wicket keeper Kumar Sangakkara successfully stumps Pakistan's Sohail Tanvir

Stumped: Sri Lanka's wicket keeper Kumar Sangakkara successfully stumps Pakistan's Sohail Tanvir

Missing out: Umar Akmal reacts after he misses to hit a boundary

Missing out: Umar Akmal reacts after he misses to hit a boundary

Thisara Perera and Mathews muscled 16 off Gul's final over, to give Sri Lanka a little breathing space for which they would be mighty thankful later.

Pakistan's reply might have been minus Imran Nazir for a duck, had Dilshan somehow clung on to a very tough diving chance at point off Mathews.

Instead, the first breakthrough did not come until there was 31 on the board when Nazir contrived to edge a forward-defensive at Ajantha Mendis on to his stumps – via pad and ground – in the spinner's first over.

Sharp fielding: Thisara Perera breaks the bails in an attempt to run-out Pakistan's captain Mohammad Hafeez

Sharp fielding: Thisara Perera breaks the bails in an attempt to run-out Pakistan's captain Mohammad Hafeez

Big appeal: Lasith Malinga unsuccessfully appeals for an LBW decision against Pakistan's Imran Nazir

Big appeal: Lasith Malinga unsuccessfully appeals for an LBW decision against Pakistan's Imran Nazir

Hafeez also escaped an early half-chance, when Herath could not hold a diving effort at long-on off Perera – nothing to the let-off the Pakistan captain would get on 24 when Lasith Malinga put down a straightforward one in the same position off Mathews.

The same bowler had already struck twice in four balls, however, when Jayawardene brought him back for the 10th over.

Nasir Jamshed went lbw to one that might have pitched just outside leg; then Kamran Akmal gave himself little chance to adapt to the awkward surface and somehow propelled an attempted big hit only as far as midwicket where Jayawardene himself took an easy catch.

Putting the runs on: Sri Lanka's Jeevan Mendis helps his side reach their total

Putting the runs on: Sri Lanka's Jeevan Mendis helps his side reach their total

Watching it all the way: Tillakaratne Dilshan plays a shot as Pakistan's wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal watches on

Watching it all the way: Tillakaratne Dilshan plays a shot as Pakistan's wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal watches on

Shoaib Malik was bowled by one that spun sharply from Herath (three for 25). But it was the dismissal of Hafeez, stumped on the charge to the slow left-armer, which turned the match Sri Lanka's way – and when the out-of-form Afridi was then bowled first ball, Pakistan were 91 for six.

They still had time to be competitive but were running out of the right men to find the boundaries, and in the end it was too much for Umar Akmal to do on his own.

World Twenty20: Sri Lanka and Pakistan set for spin battle semi-final

Sri Lanka and Pakistan set for World Twenty20 semi-final spin-off

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UPDATED:

16:44 GMT, 3 October 2012


Spin doctor: Ajantha Mendis

Spin doctor: Ajantha Mendis

Sri Lanka and Pakistan are set to serve up a trial by spin for one another in Thursday's first semi-final at the ICC World Twenty20.

Pakistan booked their place at the Premadasa Stadium with a Super Eight win over Australia at the same venue on Tuesday, in a match dominated by 18 overs from their slow bowlers.

Sri Lanka have the personnel to employ similar tactics too, on a pitch likely to reward them.

Captains Mahela Jayawardene and
Mohammad Hafeez did nothing at their preview press conferences on
Wednesday to dispel the notion that there will be little pace or seam in
evidence.

'We have some quality spinners, and we play spin quite well as well,' said Sri Lanka opener Jayawardene.

'It looks a fresh wicket, the one where the first-round games were played.

'Depending on how the wicket behaves, we need to take a few tactical changes. We have to plan accordingly.'

While Sri Lanka can choose between Ajantha and Jeevan Mendis, Akila Dananjaya, Rangana Herath – and opener Tillekeratne Dilshan as a part-time option – Pakistan are even more blessed with possibilities.

Hafeez said: 'It's because of our spinners that we are doing a great job.

Ready for battle: Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene

Ready for battle: Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene

'Sri Lanka also plays spin well. But whatever conditions we have seen here, it suits the spinners.'

The hosts will doubtless respect Pakistan's spin threat, but have another factor to harness – that of expectation from a capacity and partisan crowd.

Sri Lanka are perennial semi-finalists, or finalists, in International Cricket Council tournaments – but have not won one since their shock first success at the 1996 World Cup.

'Yes, we haven't won any of those – and it's a bit of a disappointment,' said Jayawardene.

'But we have to be in those big tournaments, and if we keep getting there we will win.

'Still we are two games away from getting to that title.

Leader: Pakistan's captain Mohammad Hafeez, (right) and teammate Imran Nazir

Leader: Pakistan's captain Mohammad Hafeez, (right) and teammate Imran Nazir

'We are extremely proud to be a part of a group that has been consistent throughout the tournament.'

Jayawardene knows the opposition is full of dangerous players – not least all-rounder Shahid Afridi, yet to fire with the bat here but always a menace with his attacking leg-breaks.

'Shahid is a big-game player, a good all-round cricketer who does well with both bat and ball,' he said.

'It's not just Shahid – they are a dangerous unit and they have some quality players.

'But we have some match-winners and quality players as well. We need them to turn up and perform.'

World Twenty20 2012: Virat Kohli blasts India to victory over Pakistan

Kohli keeps India's hopes alive with unbeaten knock to dispose of Pakistan

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UPDATED:

18:27 GMT, 30 September 2012

Virat Kohli hit two sixes and eight fours in a career-best 78 not out to guide India to a crushing eight-wicket win over Pakistan in the Super Eights at the World Twenty20 on Sunday.

It was Kohli's best score in Twenty20 internationals, surpassing the 70 he scored against New Zealand just before this tournament.

Earlier, Indian spinners Yuvraj Singh and Ravichandran Ashwin bagged two wickets each to dismiss Pakistan for 128 inside 20 overs. India chased the meager total with 18 balls to spare at R Premadasa Stadium.

Matchwinner: Kohli celebrates victory on Sunday

Matchwinner: Kohli celebrates victory on Sunday

SCORECARD

Click here for the full scorecard from Colombo

With the win, India have kept their semi-final hopes alive following the crushing defeat by Australia in their first Super Eights match.

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni credited the victory to his bowlers.

'Today's performance was a really a good one because the part timers contributed, the spinners bowled well and also the fast bowlers,' he said. 'The first two overs we gave away bit of runs. But after that I felt we were quite consistent.'

Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez said his team's batting failure and Kohli's performance with the bat cost his team.

Fine form: Kohli has been outstanding throughout the tournament

Fine form: Kohli has been outstanding throughout the tournament

Fine form: Kohli has been outstanding throughout the tournament

'We really wanted to win the game,' Hafeez said. 'But unfortunately we were losing wickets on a regular basis. We couldn't come back in the first 10 overs. We couldn't set the total we really wanted.'

Pakistan's last Super Eights match is against Australia on Tuesday.

After losing Gautam Gambhir on the second ball of the innings, caught and bowled by left-arm spinner Raza Hasan, Kohli and Virender Sehwag (29) combined for a 74-run stand off 61 balls that virtually sealed the match for India.

Pakistan made a promising batting start after winning the toss but India's bowlers came back strongly, picking up wickets regularly.

Left-arm seamer Irfan Pathan trapped Imran Nazir lbw in the second over with the total on 17 to provide India their first breakthrough.

Momentum: Yuvraj (above) and Balaji (below) were both in the wickets

Momentum: Yuvraj (above) and Balaji (below) were both in the wickets

Momentum: Yuvraj (above) and Balaji (below) were both in the wickets

Shahid Afridi, promoted in the batting order to No 3 with the aim of increasing the scoring rate, made 14 off 12 deliveries before being caught in the deep by Suresh Raina off seam bowler Lakshmipathy Balaji.

Yuvraj had both Nasir Jamshed and Kamran Akmal caught behind by Dhoni.

Pakistan were soon reduced to 59-5, losing four wickets for 24 runs before Shoaib Malik (28) and Umar Akmal (21) brought some respite with a sixth-wicket stand of 47.

Ashwin entered the fray when the pair looked set for a longer stay, having Malik caught at short mid-wicket before Umar Akmal was out caught in the deep by Suresh Raina when trying to increase the scoring rate.

Both Ashwin and Yuvraj returned 2-16, while Balaji had the best bowling figures of 3-22 as he polished off the tail.

World Twenty20: Australia beat India by nine wickets

Watson stars with bat and ball as Aussies blow India away in Super Eights

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UPDATED:

17:35 GMT, 28 September 2012

Shane Watson blitzed India with runs and wickets as Australia raced to a nine-wicket win to make a mockery of tonight's heavyweight ICC World Twenty20 clash at the Premadasa Stadium.

Watson (72) and his opening partner David Warner (63 not out) gorged 10 sixes between them, in a stand of 133, after the former had also taken three for 34 to restrict India to 140 for seven.

India, whose last outing at this venue was their own 90-run Group A trouncing of off-colour England, were on the other side of an unequal equation this time as Australia finished them off with more than five overs to spare.

Blown away: Shane Watson was the match winner for Australia

Blown away: Shane Watson was the match winner for Australia

Australia v India scorecard:

Click here to see the full scorecard

Watson began patiently before topping and tailing Piyush Chawla's first over – the eighth – with a six over mid-wicket to start and then a second maximum back over the leg-spinner's head to finish. Warner joined in with successive leg-side sixes off Harbhajan Singh in the next over, and Australia were already on track to complete their task notably early in this Super Eight match.

Watson repeated the same dose of double maximums when Mahendra Singh Dhoni brought Irfan Pathan into the attack, and for good measure he passed his 28-ball fifty with his first four – off his pads – to go with six sixes.

Warner had a close call for lbw against Zaheer Khan on 21, and was dropped caught-behind by Dhoni off Yuvraj Singh on 45.

Three and easy: Watson took three wickets with the ball

Three and easy: Watson took three wickets with the ball

Good knock: Watson then went on to score 72 with the bat

Good knock: Watson then went on to score 72 with the bat

Watson, by contrast, gave no chances until he was caught at cover off Yuvraj – a wicket which came far too late to make any difference to the outcome in an extraordinarily one-sided contest.

India had to work hard for what seemed initially to be a near-par total, after winning the toss, Pathan top-scoring with 31 at better than a run a ball.

Pathan, opening with Gautam Gambhir as India again chose to leave out Virender Sehwag, provided the stability others could not.

In good form: Australia's Mitchell Starc celebrates with teammates after he dismissed Indian batsman Rohit Sharma

In good form: Australia's Mitchell Starc celebrates with teammates after he dismissed Indian batsman Rohit Sharma

Not enough: Irfan Pathanof and India did not set a high enough total

Not enough: Irfan Pathanof and India did not set a high enough total

But his was the second of three wickets to fall for four runs, in the 70s, and India therefore needed some productivity from their middle and lower order. Gambhir was run out when Pat Cummins kicked the ball on to the stumps to effect the first dismissal of the match.

Then Pathan apart, none of India's specialist batsmen managed to establish himself – and it was only some late hitting from Suresh Raina, down at an unaccustomed number seven, and R Ashwin that gave them a score they could even hope to defend.

If they thought they might have enough runs, they very quickly discovered otherwise.

Steven Finn says England will bounce back from India hammering

Don't panic! Finn says England will bounce back from India hammering

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UPDATED:

08:49 GMT, 25 September 2012

England's grand plan for the defence of their ICC World Twenty20 crown will survive their record defeat against India.

Stuart Broad's team are refusing to
panic, or give up on the principles worked out over many hours in the
nets on how to play spin, after just one setback.

Positive: Steven Finn, right, celebrates dismissal of India's Irfan Pathan

Positive: Steven Finn, right, celebrates dismissal of India's Irfan Pathan

Many have interpreted their 90-run loss at the Premadasa Stadium – in which they were bowled out for their worst Twenty20 score of just 80, in under 15 overs – as an ominous blow to their aspirations as defending champions here.

But inside the camp, as they move from their Group A campaign in Colombo on to three Super Eight matches at Pallekele, a steely resolve remains to press on with Plan A.

The consolation of Sunday's defeat, and England's hapless batting against Harbhajan Singh in particular, was that it came in a fixture which had no direct consequence – between two teams who had already qualified for the next stage.

As England prepared for the four-hour road trip to Kandy – their first match at Pallekele will be against West Indies on Thursday – fast bowler Steven Finn made it clear they will be sticking to their guns.

'We don't have to do anything different than we've done,' he said.

Focused: England captain Stuart Broad

Focused: England captain Stuart Broad

'We've had one one bad game – we know that – but we move on from it.

'We brush it under the carpet; we learn from our mistakes, and we get better from it.'

West Indies were last night confirmed as England's first Super Eight opponents, after a rainy no-result in Colombo which spelled the end of Ireland's unlucky tour.

The Windies have yet to win a match, having come off worst against Australia in their Group B opener but recorded a superior run rate to Ireland's.

Their captain Darren Sammy spent much of last summer losing to England in all formats, but he is optimistic of gaining telling revenge. 'We have a strong belief in ourselves,” he said.

'The first hurdle is overcome – then the real business starts.

'We've got England in our first game and we're looking to start off very well.

'We've played them a few times in the last few months and we believe we can go out and beat them – we have a good twenty20 record against them.'

The Windies lost a one-off match at Trent Bridge in June against England in the sprint format, but a year ago drew 1-1 in a short series at The Oval.

Previously, they had to watch while England claimed their first International Cricket Council global trophy, right under their noses – winning the 2010 World Twenty20 title by beating Australia in the final in Barbados.

'England are defending champions, and we will not under-estimate anybody,' added Sammy.

'They won a tournament in the Caribbean when the wickets were also assisting spinners.

'So we have to go out there and bowl properly. We hope our spinners can play a big part.'

World Twenty20 2012: England prepare for Super Eights

Positive spin: How woeful England can prevent a slow death in Sri Lanka

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UPDATED:

21:00 GMT, 24 September 2012

England have progressed to the Super Eight stage of the World Twenty20 despite the worst short-form defeat in their history at the hands of India in Colombo. But is it possible to sift through the wreckage to find reasons to be cheerful ahead of the second-stage games against the West Indies, New Zealand and Sri Lanka

Play it straight

England may have tried to put a spin on their batting collapse against India at the Premadasa Stadium by reminding us of their one-day series victory over Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates earlier this year.

Stumped: Graeme Swann is dismissed against India

Stumped: Graeme Swann is dismissed against India

However, the bemused look on batting coach Graham Gooch’s face as six wickets fell to slow bowling in seven overs said it all. England repeatedly fail to cope with good spin bowling in Asian conditions and have done for years.

The warning signs were there again when Saeed Ajmal took four wickets in the warm-up game against Pakistan, and Harbhajan Singh and Piyush Chawla suddenly looked like world-beaters even though they are hardly among the more mysterious of the modern breed. Ravi Ashwin is the senior Indian spinner these days but thankfully he was rested.

Gooch will be banging on about the need to play much straighter all this week.

Another one bites the dust: Morgan is bowled out

Another one bites the dust: Morgan is bowled out

Next three dangermen…

Sunil Narine – West Indies

Has made his name in Twenty20, taking 10 wickets in last year’s Champions League before hitting the jackpot in the 2012 IPL auction with a move to Kolkata. Looked raw on Test debut at Edgbaston last summer but will be the biggest threat to England on Thursday.

Dan Vettori – New Zealand

England know all about Dan the man – he has been bowling against them since 1997, making his first-class and Test debuts against them. He won’t have anything England haven’t seen but remains a canny competitor and a man to respect when they meet on Saturday.

Ajantha Mendis – Sri Lanka

If England need to win their final Super Eight match on Monday, they will fear Mendis. The man who invented the ‘carrom ball,’ which is flicked out of the front of his hand by his middle finger, has had less success since star batsmen began playing him less as a spinner and more as a medium-pacer but remains a formidable proposition at home.

Fear of the unknown

If Harbhajan can take four for 12, what can the mystery spinners awaiting England next do to them

Sunil Narine barely turned a ball when he made his Test debut against England this summer but he is a different proposition entirely in the short game, having made his name in the Indian Premier League. Expect him to be the West Indies’ main threat in Pallekele on Thursday.

Ajantha Mendis of the hosts is much more experienced but has been less of a threat in recent times after being ‘worked out’ by most of the world’s top batsmen. Right on cue, he took six for eight in his first game in this tournament.

And if Mendis is not enough, Sri Lanka could unleash their new teenage spin-bowling find, Akila Dananjaya. At least New Zealand’s threat comes from the more orthodox Dan Vettori.

Missing KP

England insisted they wanted to try out a new balance to their side by bringing Tim Bresnan in for Samit Patel on Sunday, but the Yorkshireman is a worry because he has just not seemed the same since undergoing surgery on his elbow early this year.

England’s policy of hitting India short and hard, eschewing yorkers for the most part, just did not work and Patel’s stature was hugely enhanced by his absence.

Left out: Samit Patel (left) took two wickets against Afghanistan

Left out: Samit Patel (left) took two wickets against Afghanistan

They will not admit it but England would love to be able to add Kevin Pietersen to their line-up right now. It may not be too long before he is back but not quick enough for this tournament.

Easy street

England defeated South Africa, Australia, Pakistan and Afghanistan in little over a week before their Indian setback and are in the weaker of the two Super Eight groups.

Two victories out of the three games should take them to the semi-finals and they will still have every confidence that they can at least reach the final four in their attempt to become the first team to successfully defend a World Twenty20 title.

Green with envy

Pallekele, a newish, picturesque ground near Kandy, where all three of their Super Eight games will be played, should suit England’s seamers more than Colombo.

Food for thought: Broad's side move to seam-friendly Pallekele

Food for thought: Broad's side move to seam-friendly Pallekele

The wickets there are expected to be greener and have more pace and carry and, on paper, England have the best attack in Group One.

England are convinced that the way forward is to keep wickets intact even in the shortest form of the game so that the middle order of Eoin Morgan, Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler are not exposed until the second half of the innings.

They failed to pull that off on Sunday but if they do, then all three have shown how destructive they can be.

The chosen Swann

Graeme Swann was as effective as Harbhajan and Chawla on Sunday and remains as good as any spinner in the world, even though his chronic right elbow will have to be nursed through an extremely busy winter.

And don’t forget England have Danny Briggs who has made an excellent impression in the shorter game both for Hampshire and in his limited England chances to date.

This tournament is being played at the end of Sri Lanka’s rainy season so there will be an element of chance in the remaining matches – there are no reserve days – which may or may not suit England. All is still to play for.

World Twenty20 2012: Ireland match abandoned v West Indies

Luck deserts the Irish as abandoned West Indies clash ends World Twenty20 hopes

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UPDATED:

18:16 GMT, 24 September 2012

West Indies will be England's first Super Eight opponents, after rain prevented a result in Monday night's final ICC World Twenty20 Group B match against Ireland at the Premadasa Stadium.

The Irish were cruelly denied a chance to win through to face England at Pallekele on Thursday, as rain wiped out West Indies' chase of 129 for six.

The Windies therefore qualify for the second stage, in second place behind Australia.

Washout: Torrential rain lashes down in Colombo

Washout: Torrential rain lashes down in Colombo

Both they and Ireland lost to Australia, but West Indies recorded a superior run rate in doing so.

Ireland's workmanlike innings, on a
rainy night in Colombo, was interrupted when bad weather first
intervened after five overs – and reduced the contest at that stage to
19 per side.

Captain William Porterfield was already gone, for his second golden duck
of the tournament to the first ball of the innings, when he could not
stop a Fidel Edwards yorker disturbing middle-stump.

Put in after Darren Sammy won the toss, everyone else in the Ireland
order from two to eight made double-figures – but none more than Niall
O'Brien's 25 in an innings which set the West Indies a near par target,
before rain returned.

The weather did not relent, and Ireland were therefore knocked out.

West Indies captain Darren Sammy is
confident they can despatch England although he played down their
chances of winning the tournament.

Steady progress: Niall O'Brien (left) scored 25 for Ireland

Steady progress: Niall O'Brien (left) scored 25 for Ireland

Sammy told Sky Sports 1: 'This is the Super Eight and they are very important games but we do fancy our chances (against England).

'A strong point for us is the belief we have in the dressing room that once we play to our full potential the quality we have we could go all the way. But we have got to take it one game at a time.

'We did what we had to today to get through to the next stage and we've got to focus again and hope to come through the Super Eights into the semi-finals.'

Pointing to the team's bowling strength, Sammy singled out Sunil Narine and believes he could be pivotal against England.

He said: 'I think that will be the first time England will be playing him when the wicket offers him some assistance.

Key man: Narine (centre) had Ireland in a spin

Key man: Narine (centre) had Ireland in a spin

'The last time we played in England the wickets were not friendly to Narine so we know any turn or any wicket that offers some assistance he can be a handful so we'll look and see what happens.'

Ireland counterpart Will Porterfield bemoaned the stop-start nature of the game and said: 'I think we've seen enough rain so far this year in England.

'It would have been nice to get out there and get a result

'It could have been interesting if we could have got some early wickets there

'It's just not easy in this form of the game and to go back out and start against Narine was not easy.

'That was disappointing, it would have been nice to keep going when we were out there but you play against quality opposition you've got to be able to go out there and start at any stage.'

ICC world Twenty20 2012: Stuart Broad wants England to beat India

Broad keen for England to keep momentum going as India await in Group A showdown

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UPDATED:

11:58 GMT, 22 September 2012

Stuart Broad's defending champions will be playing for the pride of England, rather than any tangible ICC World Twenty20 reward, when they meet India.

The structure of this short tournament dictates that once the routine business of beating a group minnow – Afghanistan in England and India's case – is safely out of the way, the two heavyweights can lock horns without direct consequence.

The Super Eight venues and oppositions for both teams will not change, irrespective of the outcome under the Premadasa Stadium lights.

So it is that the final Group A match will surely be billed in a broader context by many, and the significance or otherwise of the Indian Premier League will doubtless be inferred from the result.

Winning start: Stuart Broad runs out Karim Sadiq during England's 116-run victory over Afghanistan

Winning start: Stuart Broad runs out Karim Sadiq during England's 116-run victory over Afghanistan

Hundreds of IPL matches on one side's CV contrasts with barely a handful, courtesy of Eoin Morgan and Luke Wright, on the other.

Captain Broad, of course, will diplomatically let others do the talking on that topic.

But he does have to make sure his team can make the mental leap required to convince themselves that, if not the reputation of the IPL, then something certainly is at stake.

Asked what that might be, the England captain surprisingly avoided that great abstract notion of all cricket tournaments and series – 'momentum'.

National pride, instead, will be his motivation – and, by natural consequence, his team's too.

'I think it's hard to call any game meaningless when you're putting on the Three Lions of England and you're taking the field as an international,' said Broad.

'Whether it is a must-win for us or whether we don't have to win to go through, it won't change the way our approach to the game.

'Any game against India is huge. It will have massive viewing appeal, and we know how passionate the Indian fans are about their cricket so we want to put on a fantastic show.

'It certainly won't dampen the mood that we're already through – it will be a fantastic game of cricket.'

Shake on it: Broad and Gulbodin Naib share pleasantries in Colombo

Shake on it: Broad and Gulbodin Naib share pleasantries in Colombo

Broad is heartened that, quite apart from the ruthless 116-run dismissal of Afghanistan on the back of a brilliant 99 not out from Luke Wright, England have been toughened up for this assignment by some pedigree opposition.

A drawn home series against South Africa was followed by hard-fought warm-up wins here against Australia and then Pakistan.

'We've been performing and competing against top-level teams, so it's not like we're coming up against India and it's our first real challenge in the last few weeks,' he said.

'We do know the dangers they offer. But if we focus on what we did really well [against Afghanistan] we can be a challenge for anyone.

'Throughout the whole batting line-up, we struck it really well. If we have batsmen in towards the end, you can see how dangerous we can be, and the aggression we showed with the ball and in the field to take the chances like we did was superb.'

Broad has great respect, but no fear, for an opposition line-up – under the captaincy of Mahendra Singh Dhoni – crammed with superstar talent.

He is confident England can match them at every step.

'India have got a powerful batting line-up. We know the dangers they offer – they've played a lot of Twenty20 cricket domestically and internationally,' he added.

'But one thing I will say if we play cricket like we have here – the way we went about things, the passion, energy we showed in the field – we'll be in a good position.

'You look through our batting line-up – we've got guys who can clear the ropes from ball one – and our bowling unit is powerful as well.

'We've got guys who can hit people on the head, brilliant slower balls, good yorkers and good spinners – and if we field like we did on Friday all tournament, we'll win some games with our fielding as well.'

Returning hero: Yuvraj Singh (left) gets a spray of sun cream from MS Dhoni

Returning hero: Yuvraj Singh (left) gets a spray of sun cream from MS Dhoni

One of the biggest names in India's stellar batting order is Yuvraj Singh, back at centre stage after his battle to recover from lung cancer.

Broad is full of admiration for a player he will never be able to forget, having been hit by him for six sixes in an over at Durban in the inaugural World Twenty20 tournament five years ago.

'To have an illness like that is horrible to see, and the whole cricketing world got behind him,' he said.

'It's great to see him back playing for India; we know what a dangerous player he is, and he's someone you look out for and do your research on.

'It's amazing for a player come back from an illness like that and come back as strongly as he has.'

Meanwhile Kevin Pietersen's absence from England's campaign remains an issue more for opponents than Broad's team, it seems.

While a disaffected Pietersen is working instead in a nearby television studio as a broadcast pundit, others – most recently Wright – are making enough runs to serve England well.

Broad's opposite number Dhoni insists nonetheless that the unavailability of Pietersen makes England less formidable.

'It is very difficult to replace Pietersen in this format,' he said.

'If Pietersen was part of their side they would be a slightly more difficult side to beat.'

India are considering several changes, to give their squad players some match time in case they are needed in the later stages of the tournament.

'We are looking to make a few changes to our playing X1 so that most of the players get at least one game before going into the next stage,' added Dhoni.

World Twenty20 2012: England beat Australia in warm-up

England warm up for World Twenty20 in style as Hales knock helps see off Australia

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UPDATED:

08:43 GMT, 17 September 2012

England had to outdo the class of Michael Hussey to start their ICC World Twenty20 warm-up campaign with a scrambled nine-run victory over Australia at Nondescripts CC.

Stuart Broad's defending champions appeared on track to coast to a fifth successive win this year over their oldest enemy – but that was reckoning without Hussey (71), the vital missing ingredient during England's 4-0 NatWest Series trouncing of Australia on home turf two months ago.

Hussey near single-handedly kept his team's hopes alive, and England sweating, after wrecking young spinner Danny Briggs' figures with three consecutive sixes over mid-wicket.

Vital knock: Hales scored 52 off 38 balls in Colombo

Vital knock: Hales scored 52 off 38 balls in Colombo

SCORECARD

Click here for the full scorecard

With the first, the left-hander brought
up his 45-ball fifty, and he added another boundary too for good measure
in the slow left-armer's final over.

But Broad himself returned to have Hussey lbw, and from there Australia ran out of steam to finish short of 172 for six.

Alex Hales (52) had underpinned that competitive total, after England
were put in on a steamy morning and a stodgy pitch, the tall opener
continuing to fare well in his role as the controversially absent Kevin
Pietersen's replacement.

England were playing their first practice fixture of a tournament which
will begin in earnest for them against minnows Afghanistan at the nearby
Premadasa Stadium on Friday.

Teeing off: Luke Wright played an impressive cameo role at No 3

Teeing off: Luke Wright played an impressive cameo role at No 3

Teeing off: Luke Wright played an impressive cameo role at No 3

Their total twice looked vulnerable here, first in a second-wicket stand
of 74 between Hussey and Shane Watson and then when Australia's most
accomplished batsman was gathering momentum alongside Glenn Maxwell.

Steven Finn thought he had Watson with the first ball of Australia's reply, but his caught-behind hopes came to nought.

Instead, England got David Warner for a duck when he speared a catch to point off Finn.

Watson, however, stayed to hit Finn, Tim Bresnan and Broad for a six
each – the England captain suffering particularly in his opening over,
which contained three wides and cost 14 runs.

Breakthrough: Australia celebrate the wicket of Craig Kieswetter

Breakthrough: Australia celebrate the wicket of Craig Kieswetter

Graeme Swann provided the breakthrough England needed when he had Watson
bowled sweeping, and Briggs had Cameron White stumped when he advanced
but got nowhere near the pitch.

England looked in big trouble as Hussey suddenly raced through the
gears, but their worries were soon over once Broad got the big wicket
and the rest could not sustain the challenge. Hales might earlier have
been run out on three, had Warner managed a direct hit from point; he
also offered a tough half-chance to diving wicketkeeper Matthew Wade on
21 off Dan Christian, and escaped a feasible stumping off veteran
spinner Brad Hogg on 34.

But he was responsible for England's early momentum, once he found the
boundary in the fifth over – the first of three fours in four balls off
Clint McKay.

Hales' opening partner Craig Kieswetter mistimed an attempted big hit to
deep mid-off. But Australia contributed to England's total with a
succession of early wides – one of which, from Mitchell Starc, swung
past the wicketkeeper and sped to the boundary.

Innovative: Morgan contributed a quickfire 30

Innovative: Morgan contributed a quickfire 30

Innovative: Morgan contributed a quickfire 30

Hales and Luke Wright shared a second-wicket stand of 88.

Even though George Bailey tried to put the squeeze on by chopping and
changing his bowlers, Wright upped the ante with two reverse-hit fours
and England's first six over mid-wicket off Hogg to bring up the hundred
– only to fall to the last ball of the same over when he picked out
deep square leg.

Hales completed his half-century in 36 balls, but clipped Hogg to mid-wicket to go soon afterwards.

With Eoin Morgan and Jonny Bairstow's expert hitting and placement still
to come, England nonetheless had a total which turned out to be too
much – despite Hussey – for the team they also beat to win their World
Twenty20 title in a Barbados final two years ago.

Key man: Hussey top scored with 71 before being dismissed by Broad

Key man: Hussey top scored with 71 before being dismissed by Broad

Key man: Hussey top scored with 71 before being dismissed by Broad
IRELAND EDGE PAST BANGLADESH

Ireland completed their World Twenty20 preparations with a tight five-run win over Bangladesh in Colombo.

Having seen off Zimbabwe last weekend, William Porterfield's side got the better of a higher-class of opposition, successfully defending their 164 for six.

A thrilling 71 from just 41 balls by opener Paul Stirling was the highlight of their innings.

Ed Joyce chipped in with a more considered 39 to boost the total further and, despite a knock of 52 from Shakib Al Hasan, Bangladesh were unable to reach their target.

The occasional spin of Kevin O'Brien (three for 24) eventually put the skids on their charge, which originally looked as though it would be in pursuit of a higher score when Ireland rattled off 40 runs in the first four overs.

Porterfield was the first man to go as he was run out with the score on 46, with Stirling and Joyce then sharing a second-wicket stand of 64 before the latter was castled by Elias Sunny.

Joyce carried on the charge before being snared by Mashrafe Mortaza who ended with two for 33, as Ireland were unable to open their shoulders over the closing stages of their overs.

Bangladesh's response saw them lose Mohammad Ashraful early on for seven, before a quickfire stand of 63 between Tamim Iqbal and Shakib got them motoring.

But Tamim (35) offered a return catch to Alex Cusack and then Shakib lost his wicket to Nigel Jones as the wheels started to come off.

O'Brien then took three wickets in two overs to really put Ireland in command and, although Ziaur Rahman weighed in with a breezy 26, it was not enough and Bangladesh ended just short on 159 for nine.