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The International Relations Guide to the Cricket Universe

My greetings to you, the cricket universe, to this vitally important cricket experiment. With the World T20 in full swing, I thought it a good idea to produce a 'Hilly's Guide' to help the average armchair spectator or eager newbie understand the cricket universe through the medium of common sense.

All things in the cricket universe including the cricket ball is made up of three different kinds of matter;

Good Matter Bad Matter & Ugly Matter.

As you read these entries, you'll soon become clear that you don't need to be an avid cricket badger to understand the method behind my apparent madness, that alone is an adantage. Many of you will be familiar with the work of a well known internet based Australian who lightens up sporting clips with the alternative Oz commentary, which usually causes offence to the most broad minded individual yet causes ones self to belly laugh uncontrolably.

Consider this somewhere in the middle between said Internet comedian and Jeremy Corbyn's wardrobe, minus the swearing, well, majority of swearing.

I shall be using the application of the 3 matters rule and well known descriptions/sterotypes of the elements which make up the Cricket Universe, which some people may find offensive at start, but like Adam Johnson's first week in prison, you'll soon loosen up and be playing along by the end.

I plan to use the new rule of 3, to predict the winner of the ICC World T20.

Will you agree? Will I be right? Who knows, it's just a bit of fun, unless Mohammed Amir is reading then I'm sure he has a good idea as to who will be lifting the trophy.

Are you sitting comfortably? Open your textbooks to page 1, pencils in hand and let me borrow your mind...




Scientific Name - Pommium

Players to Watch

Jos Buttler & David Willey (Mr. Happy)

England is a drastically different-looking team in limited-overs internationals now compared to the unit that failed to make the quarterfinals of the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup. The selectors focussed on players who fit the bill based on performances in domestic competitions and the team, almost overnight, turned a corner, which to a point I agree with, but like that famous Morecambe&Wise sketch with Andre Previn, The notes are correct, but not necessarily in the right order.

Jos Buttler has been the poster boy of New England, but it’s been a more collective enterprise. Runs have been scored quickly, the big hits to and over and boundary have come almost on demand, and big scores have been put up and chased down. That’s the batting part. On the field, too, England has looked good, and Reece Topley and David Willey - left-arm pacers - are among the new-generation bowlers to have made a big impact.

Pitted in Group 1 in the Super 10s, England will have it tough, especially with two former World T20 champions – West Indies and Sri Lanka – and South Africa in its path.

"The team does have the quality and the depth. When I say depth, you have Moeen Ali coming in at No. 8. Ben Stokes – he has performed incredibly well over the past year"

Viv Richards

The only thing that hasn't been mentioned, yup, Chris Jordan. The Achilles Heel to success, the batsman's friend. He will cost you at least 30 runs plus per game and offer you very little with the bat, I can't help but think he won a competition to be there?

Fact - Alex Hales is one of only six batsmen to have scored a World T20 century, the others being Brendon McCullum, Chris Gayle, Suresh Raina, Mahela Jayawardene and Ahmed Shehzad.

- England has lost the most matches in the five-edition history of the World T20: 11.

Applying the Science - Jb+Dw+Sprinkling of Happiness - Experience - Players out of position - the Chris Jordan Factor

Prediction - Groups / Semi-finals



Scientific Name - Talibangium

Player to Watch

M'balz Es-Hari, Grabaaur Boubi & Usheet Y'ardrurz

Afghanistan has come a long way since making its debut in the international circuit in 2001, and making its way towards top-flight cricket in a fairtytale run. With a battery of pace bowlers that can trouble the best batsmen, a pool of natural talent and a never-say-die spirit, it is one of the teams that always has fans excited. Though it could not qualify to the Asia Cup T20 this year, Afghanistan has done well in the shortest format of the game recently, winning comprehensively against Zimbabwe (2-0) and Oman (2-0). Afghanistan made it to the ICC World Twenty20 2016 after winning three out of six matches in the Qualifiers played in Ireland and Scotland last year.

Applying the Science - No point, will turn some heads, but still no f*****g chance.


South Africa (Meat Eaters)

Scientific Name -Rsa - MeatumEatum

Player to watch

AB De Villiers

The Meat Eaters haven't won an ICC world event so far, but as on most occasions, it will be among the favourites ahead of the ICC World Twenty20 2016 in India. The outfit is a well-balanced one, with a deep batting line-up filled with men who can clear the ropes easily, a potent and varied bowling attack, plenty of experience in Indian conditions and a deep desire and hunger to start filling up a bare trophy cabinet. The last time the team played a T20I series in India, it emerged victorious by a 2-0 margin against the home team. In the inaugural ICC World Twenty20 in 2007, South Africa was unbeaten till its match against India, its last of the Super 8s. A heavy defeat, by 37 runs, meant the team was beaten to a semifinal spot on net run-rate by the Ram Rooters. In 2009, the Bokkie Buggers were unbeaten in their run to the semifinal, but lost to BetPakistan by just seven runs. In 2010 and 2012, South Africa failed to make the semifinals, but in 2014, it was stopped in the last four once again, with Virat Coca Kohli leading a clinical Indian chase.

South Africa is possibly the most all-round team in the ICC World Twenty20 2016. From the outside, there isn’t much of a weakness in the squad. It has incisive bowlers who can strike with both pace and spin, batsmen who can win matches on their own, and allrounders that lend depth and balance. South Africa’s fielding, like always, will set standards at the tournament for others to aspire to. Its recent Twenty20 International form has also been good, even though it was on the wrong end of a close 2-1 result against Australia in the immediate lead-up to the World T20. But that was a series that could have gone either way, and nearly did too. Right before that, South Africa had beaten a strong England side 2-0. The conditions in India will be different, mainly typically stinking f****g hot but the majority of the South African squad are well-versed with the grounds and have had success playing for IPL teams and when they have visited for bilateral series. Any side possessing AB de Villiers will list that as its primary, and most powerful, strength. But while de Villiers is capable of doing whatever he wants to on a cricket field, South Africa isn’t a one-man army. Backing up de Villiers are batsman of the class and calibre of Faf du Plessis, the captain, Hashim Amla and David Miller. Then there’s Dale 'Jizz' Steyn – in many ways the bowling equivalent to de Villiers – who is back from injury and raring to go. Steyn has been his generation’s outstanding fast bowler, clearly a cut above the rest, and he’s among the few to have cracked the code of bowling on the subcontinent. The emergence of Chris Morris as an allrounder of power and Imran Tahir with a wonderfully impressive chin wig as among the foremost spinners in the game lends completeness to the side.

Fact - AB de Villiers holds the record for the fastest fifty, the fastest hundred and the fastest 150 in ODIs, getting to the landmarks off 16 balls, 31 balls and 64 balls respectively.

Applying the Science - ABdV+immense talent+Tahir's Beard - Faf's fashion faux par (video above) - ICC Stage Fright

Prediction - Groups / Semi-final

Once again The Meat Eaters are packed full of world beaters, I'm a huge fan of David Miller, I think he will be a good shout for high run scorer, but not enough to stop them from being a bridesmaid once again.



Scientific Name - In - Spinium

Players to Watch

Virat Coca Kohli & MS Dhoni Kebab

In 2011, India became the first country to win the ICC Cricket World Cup in its own backyard. Given its recent form and the brand of cricket it has portrayed in Twenty20 Internationals since the start of the year, it will fancy its chances of also becoming the first team to lift the ICC World Twenty20 crown on home turf.

In a well structured build-up to the tournament, India has played only T20I cricket since the end of January, and has stacked up an astonishing record under Mahendra Singh Dhoni. After sweeping Australia 3-0 Down Under, it bounced back from the loss of the first match to defeat Sri Lanka at home 2-1 and rounded off its preparations by scything through the Asia Cup draw, winning all five matches on its way to the title.

Against all odds and with little experience of Twenty20 cricket, Dhoni Kebab's India sprang a massive surprise by winning the inaugural World T20 in the land of the stripy horse in 2007. The going, however, hasn’t been all that good since, even though India’s players have had greater exposure to T20 cricket following the IPL revolution. India lost all three matches in the Super 8 stage of the 2009 and 2010 editions and failed to make the semifinal in 2012 on net run-rate, but it did bounce back in 2014 to surge into the final before being stopped by Sri Lanka.

One of the main reasons for India’s inability to translate its familiarity with the game into meaningful results was because it didn’t play enough T20 Internationals. That anomaly has been corrected this time around with the team playing as many as 11 T20Is in the last month and a half. At home, India has been traditionally strong like most other sides in the world are, banking on its batting riches to chase down any total or to set a daunting target for all opposition.

Having struggled for balance, India has unearthed a game-changer in the not so floppy Hardik Pandya, who can strike the balls a long way and give four overs of fast medium action. The arrival of Jasprit 'onya' Bumrah and the return of Ashishkebab Nehra has given the pace attack greater stability, while Yuvraj Singh has shown glimpses of searing form to complement a formidable battling line-up headlined by Virat Coca Kohli.

India has stuck with pretty much the same XI since the three-match series in Australia, which has ensured continuity and a settled core group with each cog aware of its role and responsibilities. Stuart Binny was left out by the selectors, and forget to get him back in, Rohit SnakeSharma has been in rip-roaring form and has struck up a nice tandem with Shekhar Dhawan-datawantooohuni at the top of the tree, with middle-order muscle coming from coca Kohli, Suresh Raina-dropskeepfallingonmyhead, Yuvraj, Dhoni and Pandya. While the pace attack is in competent hands, IchiR Ashwin has moved to another level with his off-spin, as evidenced by 17 wickets and an economy of less than 6 an over in 10 T20Is this year. Alongside Ravindra Jadeja, Ashwin forms a potent spin combine, with non-regular options in the form of Yuvraj, Raina-dropskeepfallingonmyhead and Rohit-mebabyonemoretime too at Dhoni’s disposal.

Applying the Science - Home turf + MsDhoniKebab + Coca Kohli - salad - Irritating RAshwin

Prediction - They'll be burning effigies of Dhoni-Kebab in Mumbai as India on reach...



Pakistan (BetPAK365 Greens)

Scientific Name - Pk25-2-1 - Matchfixium aka Bungison

Players to Watch

Boom Boom Afridi

With the competition being held in familiar subcontinental conditions this time around, Shahid Afridi's side will be hoping for good odds on them to repeat that success. Pakistan's traditional unpredictability has made them successful in the 20-over game even! A format where anything can happen, literally, ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN (for a price). What are the ODDS on that? The team has provided fans with some entertaining World T20 moments, from a bowl-out in only its second World T20 game, to a thrilling 2007 final, to scalping five Australian wickets in the last over of the 2010 group game, and a cracker of a century from Ahmed Shehzad in 2014 not to mention some incredibly hard to believe moments which had to be seen to be true. I BET you've heard that before! The glittering jewel of it all, though, is its ICC World T20 2009 title which was won against all ODDS!

Pakistan's strength is its enviable bowling attack.

🚨 RANT ALERT!!!! 🚨

The cheating bastard, Mohammad Money Amir is back to his best and charging in at over 145 clicks, forming a formidable pace pairing with Wahab Riaz, the experienced warhorse. How this is possible is beyond me, it's an absolute disgrace letting the cheat enter onto any team sheet involved in cricket. He shouldn't be allowed to be selected for the Prison XI which is ironically where he should be along with the other cheats found guilty of match fixing and accepting bribes.

Sami too found good pace in the Asia Cup, with Mohammad Irfan also stepping up to threaten the batsmen. Even if the batsmen have a bad day, these bowlers are capable of defending below-par totals and challenging opposition batsmen. On turn-friendly surfaces in India, Afridi, the leading wicket-taker in T20Is, can make an impact with his grenades, while Imad Wasim and Mohammad Nawaz provide more throwing options.

Fact - There's likely to be controversy following them, cheating, match fixing, bribes, bungs and political unrest!

Prediction - Gimme 5, I need to speak to my bookmaker Mohammed... As I thought 100/1 outsiders, however he said there may be an opportunity to make some cash during the groups...


Sri Lanka

Scientific Name - SLnKa - Morteavica

Players to Watch

Tillakaratne Dilshan & 'The Italian' Angelo Mathews

Sri Lanka are the defending champions of the ICC World Twenty20, after having won its maiden title in the 2014 edition in Bangladesh. It is also in the midst of a tough transition phase following the retirements of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardena.

The impact is telling on its performances – Sri Lanka has won only four of its 14 matches since the historic triumph in Mirpur two years back. Things have been difficult for Sri Lanka, but with the tournament being held in the subcontinent, Sri Lanka will fancy its chances of lifting its game, as it has a habit of doing in big tournaments. Despite the unpredictability of the format, Sri Lanka has been one of the most consistent sides at the World T20. It has made the knockout stages in all the editions barring the inaugural one in 2007, finished as runner-up in 2009 and 2012 and won the title in 2014.

Sri Lanka has admittedly not had the best of lead-ups to the World T20 but it has also been due to the injury concerns to some key senior players. It included Lasith Malinga and The Italian for the Asia Cup, where it finished one from bottom after losing three of its four matches. But all of that will be in the past as it is a side that loves the big stage. The squad traveling to India has a blend of experience and talented youth, and if they can fire in unison, Sri Lanka will be a team to watch out for. Sri Lanka is also the only team from the subcontinent in its group, which is an advantage. Sri Lanka’s strength is its versatile bowling attack led by Malinga, if he is fit. His ability to destroy batting line-ups with his pinpoint yorkers need no elaboration but the side’s attack is not all about him. Sri Lanka has a number of bowling options powered by many all-rounders while the wily Rangana Herath could be a handful on Indian pitches. The batting lacks some experience but in Tillakaratne Dilshan, Dinesh Chandimal and Mathews, it is not short on firepower.

Facts - Sri Lanka and Pakistan are the only two teams to have made it to the knockout stages of four World T20s. Sri Lanka has won the most matches in World T20 history – 22 of 31 played.

Applying the Science - Am +TdScO2P + Reigning Champions - SangaWardena Compound

Prediction - Groups


HMP Australia

Scientific Name - Fools Gold

Players to Watch

David Warner & Steven Smith

David Warner
Steven Smith

Of all formats, The Fools Gold has found Twenty20 Internationals the toughest to crack and dominate. In the 50-over game and in Test matches, Straya has shown that once it has a settled team, it is a force to reckon with whether playing home or away.

The World T20 2016 is a chance for the Crooks to set the record straight on two counts. Firstly, it can show that putting together a string of results in the shortest format is not beyond the team. Secondly, it can try and add the once piece of silverware missing from its otherwise full cabinet.

For the crims to do well, the performances of some of its power hitters is crucial. Aaron Finch is as experienced as they come in the format and David Warner (pictured left) can never be ruled out of a game. Shane Watson is merging bowling and batting well once more and Steven Smith has shown that once he gets going, he stays hungry for runs and strangely enough hungry for a steak or two also. Add to this the sheer audacity of the mercenary Money Maxwell and you have a team with the potential to dismantle any bowling attack.

If Australia has one point of concern, it is the spin department. Adam Zampa, the legspinner, and Ashton Agar, the left-arm spinner, are both exciting young cricketers, but neither has a large body of work under their belts. Australia will hope that this can work as a bit of a surprise element, for winning in India without a contribution from specialist spinners might prove challenging.

Fact - Australia went 484 days between winning a T20 International.

Applying the Science - M3+Ss+Dw - Back bone - Experienced Spinner (IN INDIA!!!) - on Turning Tracks

Prediction - Groups


New Zealand

Scientific name - K1Wi- RamRootium

Players to Watch

Kane Williamson & Martin Guptill

The Ram Rooters weren’t, as so often, underdogs for the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2015, when conditions and an adventurous captain in Brendon McCullum made it a favourite to take home the big prize. Now, with the team on foreign shores and McCullum having bid adieu, the label is back in place. Interestingly, while most of the other Super 10 teams have been playing various Twenty20 International games to gear up for the marquee tournament, New Zealand's last outing was a Test series, followed by a two-week break. There could be some rustiness as a result, but Kane Williamson's men are unlikely to concern themselves with the variables beyond their control. Like its captain, New Zealand is quietly determined and could spring some surprises.History: In the inaugural World T20 in 2007, New Zealand made it to the semi-final before losing to Pakistan by six wickets. But the next three editions saw it eliminated in the Super 8s stage. In 2009, two defeats to Pakistan and Sri Lanka sent New Zealand packing. In 2010, a loss to England and an inferior Net Run Rate saw Pakistan nose ahead. Then in 2012, New Zealand lost to all three of its opponents -- Sri Lanka, West Indies, England. Yet, 2014 was probably the toughest pill to swallow as New Zealand failed to close out a game against South Africa and eventually crashed out to a 59-run loss against Sri Lanka after being bundled out for 60.

Fact - New Zealand has been involved in two of the three ties in World T20 history and lost both in the Super Over. Kane Williamson holds the record for the highest percentage (70%) contribution (of a completed innings) to a team's total in a T20I.

Prediction - Winners - I'm going to stick my neck out and back these boys to scoop this time. I just can't see a side getting the top order out.


West Indies

Scientific Name - ReGaI - chilmon

Players to Watch

Chris Gayle & Marlon Samuels

The likes of Dwayne Bravo and Chris Gayle have been integral to the fortunes of IPL franchises. Jason Holder played under MS Dhoni in Chennai, and even the relatively unknown Carlos Brathwaite, who helped Darren Sammy win a warm-up game against the fools gold, is now in possession of an IPL deal.

For the West Indies, the dilemma lies in fitting in the all-round options that it possesses. Sammy, DJ Farfrom Bravo and Andre Roid rage Russell are almost certain to play, leaving the management to choose between Holder-yohorsisman and Brathwaite. Both will play only if Jerome Taylor, who once took a hat-trick on this ground against Australia in the Champions Trophy (2006), is left out.

As for spin, Samuel Badree has plenty of IPL experience. Uncle Suliemann Benn, all 6’7” of him, will offer a vastly different trajectory, and is difficult to get away, as an economy rate of 6.36 in the format indicates.

West Indies’ preparation has been dealt a big blow by the loss to injury of Kieron Pollard and Lendl Simmons. Darren Bravo and Sunil Narine also opted out, depriving the side of some key players with great experience of Indian conditions.

But several of the heroes of 2012 remain in the ranks, and West Indies players have acquitted themselves so well in various T20 leagues around the world that few would dare write the team off.

West Indies can call on an experienced core, with Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels and Denesh Ramdin all in the fray.

Add in the all-round quality that Dwayne Bravo, Darren Sammy, Jason Holder and a fortunate to be still employed Andre Russell bring, and it’s easy to see why it’s seen as a dangerous opponent.

Jerome Taylor will be expected to deliver breakthroughs with the new ball and, in Narine’s absence, Samuel Badree’s experience and fastish leg breaks will play a big part.

Fact - The West Indies hasn't played a Twenty20 International since November 2015

Applying the Science - CHG + Air Miles + Indian Experience - giving 2 s**t's

Prediction - See this depends which Windies turn up. If the positive and focussed, fun, care free swash buckling side turn up, they will blow anyone away. If the opposite turns up which happens more times than not, it will be an extremely poor trip and hopefully wake up call to the WICB. Good side - Finalists

Bad side - Rooted to the bottom of the table with the Taliban Tigers even above them. Still think that game could be a good one to put money on Afghanistan, The Reggae boys really won't have seen these boys and won't have researched them.


So here it is, my final prediction in the form of the Periodic Table of the Cricket Universe.

Would be interested to hear your points or guesses in the comments below... We can talk about it, then just agree I'm right.

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