World T20 2016 Preview: Can the Indians make home advantage count?

The Indians will be hoping home advantage will help them win their second World T20 title.

World T20 2016 Preview: Can the Indians make home advantage count?
photo: vavel

India head into the World T20 on home soil looking to claim their second title after their first in 2007 when they defeated Pakistan in the final. 

India finished runners-up in 2014, losing to Sri Lanka in the final in Bangladesh and they will be looking to put that right during this tournament. Since then, they have had a fantastic record in the shortest form of the game and are currently ranked number one in the T20 rankings.

India are firm favourites to win the tournament in their own backyard, but it will be extremely difficult with how many teams will fancy their chances. The pitches in India will suit the Indian bowlers brilliantly especially with home advantage so they have a say on what they want to see.

The Indian team will be looking to draw inspiration from when they won the fifty over World Cup in home conditions when they beat Sri Lanka. The immense pressure that the team were facing going into that tournament and then to go on and win it will only make the team better.

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India come into the tournament in unbelievable form having played 10 games so far in 2016, winning nine and losing one. The only loss that they've suffered in 2016 came against a very young and inexperienced Sri Lanka team.

An even more impressive stat for India is that since the beginning of 2014 against the top ten teams, their win-loss record is thirteen wins and five losses. 

India warmed up for the tournament by playing a three-match series away to Australia and won all three matches convincingly. 

The hosts currently in action in the Asia Cup before the World T20 and have won all four of their games so far, and are set to play Bangladesh in the final on Sunday 6th March.

Star Players 

The main man for India going into the tournament will be Virat Kohli who is truly one of the best batsmen in the world. Kohli is ranked number two in the world in T20s which is no surprise as he continually wins India matches in this form of the game.

Kohli's average in T20s for India is 51 which is incredible given how hard it is to score so many runs in that form of the game. The most impressive thing about him is the amount of big game runs he scores for his country and is seriously one of the most feared batsmen in the world.

Virat Kohli during his match-winning knock of 49 against Pakistan in the Asia Cup | Photo: Getty Images
Virat Kohli during his match-winning knock of 49 against Pakistan in the Asia Cup | Photo: Getty Images

Another key player going into the tournament for India is spinner Ravichandran Ashwin. The spinning pitches in India will be a huge factor during the tournament and Ashwin will be licking his lips to get going. Ashwin is ranked as the 2nd best bowler in the shortest form of the game.

He broke his own T20 bowling record against Sri Lanka last month when he took four wickets for eight runs. His previous record was against Australia at the World T20 in 2014 when he took four wickets for eleven runs. Ashwin will be the main bowler for India and now it's up to him to perform on the big stage.

Opponents 

The hosts have been drawn in group B were they will face New Zealand, Pakistan, Australia and a qualifier to see if they can get through to the semi-finals. 

India begin their campaign against New Zealand on the 15th March in Nagpur looking to begin with a convincing win. India will be confident of beginning the super 10 groups stages with a win. New Zealand though are very dangerous opposition especially with players such as Kane Williamson who is ranked sixth in the T20 batting rankings and Martin Guptill who is ranked fifth in the t20 batting rankings. The weakness though of the New Zealanders could be whether they will be able to play the Indian spinners well enough to win the game. 

India's second game is massive as they face their fierce rivals Pakistan on the 19th March in Dharamsala. This game needs no introduction as it is more than just a game to the two teams and every time they play they always bring the biggest crowds to the game. The Indian's know how much this game means to the supporters and to beat their main rivals so early into the tournament would set down their marker about how they can win it. Pakistan's main threat is set to come from their fast bowler Mohammed Amir who has returned recently since being suspended from the game for five years. It will be interesting though to see what Pakistan turn up to this year's competition as they could be very dangerous and go all the way.

India will then play a qualifier, likely to be either Bangladesh or Ireland on the 23rd March in Bengaluru. India then in their final game of the group play Australia on the 27th March in Mohali. India will be confident going into this match known that they have recently beaten the Aussies. Australia though, have the number one ranked batsmen in T20s in Aaron Finch who as everyone knows is a very explosive batsman. Australia are tipped as second favourites for the tournament and that is because of the players they have at their disposal. The main thing though will be can they handle the spin in India? It won't be long to everyone finds out.

India's T20 World Cup squad 

MS Dhoni (capt, wk), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Harbhajan Singh, Jasprit Bumrah, Pawan Negi, Ashish Nehra, Hardik Pandya.