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Page last updated at 12:34 GMT, Thursday, 4 June 2009 13:34 UK

Stage set for Twenty20 showpiece

Venues: Lord's, The Oval, Trent Bridge Date: 5-21 June
Coverage: Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, Radio 4 LW, Red Button and online, with live text commentary on BBC Sport website & mobiles. Live TV coverage on Sky Sports with highlights on BBC at 2335 BST and this website

World Twenty20
India beat Pakistan to win the inaugural ICC World Twenty20 in South Africa

Hosts England are ready to get the second ICC World Twenty20 under way at Lord's on Friday.

Paul Collingwood's men open up against the Netherlands in the first of their two Group B matches, with Pakistan set to face England at The Oval on Sunday.

Holders and favourites India open their Group A campaign against Bangladesh while Australia play the West Indies on Saturday in Group C.

The final will be staged at Lord's on Sunday 21 June.

There are four groups of three, with the top two from each group going through to the Super Eights which will be made up of two groups of four.

The top two from each of those groups go into the semi-finals to be played at Trent Bridge and The Oval.


India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni led the tournament favourites to an impressive nine-wicket win over fellow 2007 finalists Pakistan in Wednesday's warm-up, but said the formbook should be thrown out of the window when it comes to the shortest format of the professional game.

"I don't think the win against Pakistan underlines our status as favourites," said Dhoni, who played in the final two years ago.

GROUP A: India, Bangladesh, Ireland
GROUP B: Pakistan, England, Netherlands
GROUP C: Australia, Sri Lanka, West Indies
GROUP D: New Zealand, South Africa, Scotland

"It's not about being favourites, you have to perform like this throughout the tournament to win.

"You can be thrown out of the tournament easily, especially at the knockout stage.

"We are the side that has done well, but that's all on paper after all that you have to go and do it but we have potential and we will be a tough team to beat."

South Africa captain Graeme Smith is more bullish about his side's chances. The second favourites open their campaign against Group D opponents Scotland at The Oval on Monday, followed by New Zealand at Lord's on 9 June.

"We have an exciting squad with pace, swing and spin in the bowling department and plenty of depth to our batting," Smith said.

We're very much dark horses and hopefully that will give the boys a bit more of a licence

England captain Paul Collingwood

"In terms of talent, flair and confidence, this is the strongest Proteas team that I have captained."

He added: "We are very well balanced both in terms of youth and experience and in terms of having all our bases covered regardless of whether the conditions favour swing or spin.

"Most international cricketers have not played a lot of international Twenty20 cricket to date and the 14 matches in the recent Indian Premier League has given them the chance to formulate new ideas and plans for this format of the game."

Australia's challenge was dealt a huge blow on Friday when it was announced that all-rounder and big-hitter Andrew Symonds would be returning home because of an "alcohol-related incident".

However, captain Ricky Ponting believes his side have enough strength in depth to cope with the loss.

"He will be difficult to replace but we have got what we've got now," said the Australian.

"It is no good worrying about that any more, he's ruled out of this squad and we have to find someone who can have the same kind of impact on a game as what Andrew Symonds can.

Collingwood ready for 'fun' before Ashes

"That is the challenge that lies ahead for our group now. It throws the balance a little bit in our side. We will probably have to re-jig things and look at things in a slightly different way but the beauty of our team is we have a lot of flexibility."

England only managed a victory against Zimbabwe at the inaugural tournament in South Africa.

Skipper Collingwood believes low expectations this time around could work in favour of the hosts.

"We're very much dark horses and hopefully that will give the boys a bit more of a licence," said the Durham player.

"The belief and the freedom to go out there and express yourself is important in this form of the game so hopefully that gives the boys a bit more of a licence and they won't have as much pressure on them."

With all respect to the Dutch, Pakistan will provide England's toughest test in the group stages.

Pakistan suffered heavy defeats to South Africa and India in their two warm-up matches, but the team's coach Intikhab Alam says the results should not serve as a guide to how his team will perform in the tournament.

"I'm not really concerned," he said. "It's early days and the first match we will come good at the right time.

"We have lost two games but we will perform when the real time comes."

Friday's opening ceremony at Lord's is set to be a low-key affair.

It begins at 1630 BST with the 12 captains of the men's teams and the eight skippers from the women's competition introduced to the crowd during the half-hour ceremony. Pop star Alesha Dixon will also perform at the event.

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see also
Superb Netherlands shock England
05 Jun 09 |  England
Jonathan Agnew column
04 Jun 09 |  Cricket
ICC World Twenty20 2009 results
21 Jun 09 |  Cricket
World Twenty20 teams guide
03 Jun 09 |  Cricket
ICC World Twenty20 squads
10 Jun 09 |  Cricket
World Twenty20 ones to watch
31 May 09 |  Cricket
Twenty20 takes centre stage
01 Jun 09 |  Cricket
India win dramatic Twenty20 final
24 Sep 07 |  Cricket

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