India favourites, but World T20 an ‘open’ tournament: Du Plessis

Mumbai, March 11 (IANS) South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis on Friday said India were favourites to win the World Twenty20 cricket tournament considering their familiarity with the conditions and rich current form, but added other teams also have an even chance of winning.

India come into the competition on the back of an excellent run of form in the shortest version of the game. They had back-to-back T20 series victories against Australia and Sri Lanka apart form winning the Asia Cup T20 competition last week.

“India are favourites to win the title for the home condition advantage but otherwise it is a very open tournament. The teams in the competition are such any team can beat any team. I think this World T20 is going to be a cracker of an event,” Du Plessis said at press conference here ahead of South Africa’s warm-up game against India at the Wankhede Stadium here on Saturday.

The 27-day tournament got underway in Nagpur on March 8 and will be played at eight venues across India with the Eden Gardens ground in Kolkata scheduled to host the final on April 3.

India, Pakistan, New Zealand and Australia are clubbed in Group 2 while South Africa, England, the West Indies and Sri Lanka are in Group 1.

South Africa come into the tournament after 1-2 loss against Australia in the T20 International series.

When asked if the Proteas are still carrying the tag of chokers into the tournament, the skipper said, “I think if we can get a trophy we can get rid of the tag. In T20 cricket, we do not have much time to think of such stuffs.”

“For now this team has not been thinking of that at all and focusing and trying to play some good cricket. And I think in the build up to the World T20, there were lot of pressure moments and this team stood up and played well.”

The 31-year-old stressed that with most the players in the squad participating in Indian Premier League (IPL) over the years, and with the team beating India last year in a T20I series, proves that conditions here are no longer foreign to them.

The Proteas outclassed India 2-0 in a two-match series last year.

“India is no longer foreign conditions to us. We have played lot of international matches and majority of our players play IPL here every year. Our results speak for itself here. We are confident in going into the tournament and doing well if we play to potential,” he said.

With T20 specialists AB de Villiers, David Miller, Quinton de Kock and all-rounders Chris Morris, David Wiese form a strong batting line-up, and the skipper believes the depth in their batting makes them a tough team.

“The guys we have in our batting make us a real competitor. De Villiers, Miller, De Kock and Morris, Wiese make a better and powerful batting line-up,” Du Plessis concluded.

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