They are the defending champions, but they haven’t played like one at all. It is only the win against Afghanistan that has got them this far. Against India, they were extremely poor and in the clash against West Indies were always second best.
The unofficial practice games in the tournament are over. All teams expected to make it through to the Super Eights have done the same. The real battle begins now, with Sri Lanka taking on New Zealand in the first Super Eights clash at Pallekele.
In a way, it’s surprising that, of all teams, Pakistan have the best World T20 record. After all, they aren’t renowned for their consistency. They were finalists in 2007, champions in 2009, and almost finalists again in 2010.
Gone are the days when Bangladesh were considered pushovers. When New Zealand take on Mushfiqur Rahim’s side at Pallekele, the former would actually start as underdogs, considering Bangladesh have done well against them in the recent past.
Following the hard fought Test in Bangalore, India and New Zealand now head into the T20 format, with two games to play before both sides head to Sri Lanka for the World T20. In short, the next two matches will present these teams with their last chance of working out which XI works for them prior to the commencement of the format’s premier event.
Ross Taylor-led New Zealand weren’t expected to win the two-Test series against India by any stretch of the imagination. India were always expected to sail home, but genuine cricket fans must have hoped for New Zealand to put up a tough fight, so that the short series doesn’t end up being boring.
The Bangalore Test between India and New Zealand will be settled pretty much by two factors: how well the Kiwi batsmen face the Indian spinners, and also how much the weather plays spoilsport, considering rain is forecast to be around for the coming days.