Virat Kohli
India's Virat Kohli is at number three in the latest T20 rankings for batsmen.Reuters

Friday will be a big day for cricket as India take on archrivals Pakistan, kicking off the ICC World T20 2014.

The teams are divided into two groups of five each - four predetermined and the fifth to be decided after the qualifying rounds. The top two teams from each group will then battle it out in the semifinals, and the two winners will face the ultimate challenge on 6 April.

So here is a look at the top eight teams and their key players, who promise to make the ICC World T20 2014 in Bangladesh exciting.

Group A [to be joined by one of Zimbabwe, Ireland, UAE and Netherlands]


After winning the inaugural World T20 in South Africa in 2007, India have not made it to the semis afterwards. The batting order is the biggest strength for India, while the spinners too will come in handy. The only major concern is the fast-bowling department but playing in Bangladesh should not worry them as the conditions are quite similar to that of home.

Key Player: Virat Kohli


All eyes are on the consitent Pakistan. They lost to India in the final of World T20 in 2007, won the 2009 tournament beating Sri Lanka, and have made it to the semifinals of the other two editions as well. Pakistan have pretty much stayed at the top and will look to get their hands on the T20I silverware for the second time. Having reached the final in the 2014 Asia Cup in Bangladesh a couple of weeks ago, momentum and conditions favour them.

Key Player: Shahid Afridi

West Indies

Defending champions West Indies have a number of important all-rounders who carry the spirit of the Carribean game. They come from a series victory over England and do back their abilities. They are the holders and have also been in the semifinals of the 2009 edition of the World T20.

Key Player(s): Sunil Narine and Chris Gayle


The team has had a summer that every Australian cricketer and fan dreams of - winning the Ashes 5-0 and ending on top in the incredible South Africa tour. World T20 is the only ICC silverware they have not been able to win, after coming so close in 2010 and losing it to England. They have been in the semifinals in 2007 and 2012 as well. And all through there was one constant for Australia - Shane Watson. He will be key this time around as well, along with big hitters David Warner and Aaron Finch.

Key Player: Aaron Finch

Group B [to be joined by one of Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Nepal and Hong Kong]

Sri Lanka

Finalists in both 2009 and 2012, Sri Lanka have been so close yet so far. Can this tournament be the perfect farewell for the two veterans - Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardane? They are an almost perfect unit with the right balance of mystery, class and struggle.

Key Player: Lasith Malinga

South Africa

Underrated and underperformed, South Africa have not enjoyed the best of outings in the World T20s. It has never been known what keeps the Proteas away from the big titles of the game. And to add to the concerns, they have not been on the winning side lately. Their inability to win the big moments surely does not account for their quality of cricket. It remains to be seen, if they can break the jinx in Bangladesh.

Key Player: AB de Villiers


Declared champions in 2010, after beating rivals Australia, England have not made it count after that win. They have had a summer to forget - first a 0-5 Ashes defeat, followed by controversies and a mediocre West Indies tour. Facing spin and bowling are their weaknesses.

Key Player: Ravi Bopara

New Zealand

New Zealand have a formidable batting line up, which includes destructive skipper Brendon McCullum and the much-feared Corey Anderson. But they have not made it big in the 20-over format so far and will miss a quality spinner in the side, especially while playing in Bangladesh.

Key Player: Corey Anderson


The most likely qualifier from the first round to Group B is home team Bangladesh. With Bangladesh, it's always a story of their potential and ability. It is time for them to move ahead and show some real action on the field. Home crowd and conditions are in their favour. Their top order batsmen are in good form and so are their bowlers.

Key Player: Shakib Al Hasan