Tournament Heavyweights Lock Horns

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Australia shared its T20 series with the West Indies 1-1 earlier in the year. Image courtesy of
Two of the World Twenty 20 tournament favourites meet in Colombo on Saturday night (AEST), with Australia  and the West Indies  fighting it out for top spot in Group B. The Aussies opened their campaign with a comfortable seven wicket win over Ireland on Wednesday while this match will be the first in the competition Darren Sammy’s West Indies side.

Shane Watson  starred with both bat and ball against Ireland - top scoring with 51 after taking three wickets with the ball – and will again shoulder a lot of responsibility opening the batting and bowling in what is expected to be an unchanged side. Although Mitchell Starc and Brad Hogg missed training on Thursday with sickness, they are expected to be well enough to take their place against the Windies.

After failing to perform on the biggest stage for several years, the West Indies have come into the World T20 as one of the tournament favourites, with a host of limited overs specialists in their ranks. Hard hitting opening batsman Chris Gayle  has established himself as the premier Twenty20 batsman in the world and forms a damaging opening partnership with Dwayne Smith  at the top of the order. Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo are two of the best allrounders in the game, while Sunil Narine has burst onto the scene with a string of impressive performances this year.

His duel with Australia’s middle order batsman will be one to savour after both claimed victories of some sort in the Caribbean earlier this year. After taking 11 wickets at an average of just 14.45 in 5 ODI matches against the Aussies In March, the wily spinner failed to take a wicket in the two Twenty20 Internationals that followed as the opposition batsman became more confident against him.

Sri Lanka  and South Africa  meet in the first of the day’s game, with both having already recorded a comfortable win over Zimbabwe. The tournament hosts kicked off their campaign with an 82 run victory over the struggling Africans, before South Africa scored a 10 wicket win against Brendan Taylor’s side.

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