Brendon McCullumThe explosive opener is one of the most dangerous batsmen in T20s. He is one of those rare players to have played in 47 T20 international matches. McCullum has an average of 34 in the shorter formats and can rip apart any bowling attack on his day.
The 30-year-old is likely to play as a specialist batsman as the Kiwis have roped in Kruger van Wyk to perform the duties behind the stumps. This will help McCullum to focus entirely on his batting.
With one century and eight half-centuries to his name, McCullum is definitely a force to reckon with.
Tillakaratne DilshanDilshan stunned the cricketing fraternity with his sublime form in 2009. The attacking right-hander was sent to open the innings in all formats of the game, a decision which transformed him as a cricketer. It was the same year where he invented the Dilscoop shot for the T20 World Cup and since then he has troubled all the bowlers, with his peculiar shot that often yields a boundary.
Over the last few years, Dilshan has become an integral part of the Sri Lankan team. Apart from being one of the best fielders at the moment, Dilshan also adds a lot of value with his spin bowling and he often helps his side break a crucial partnership.
Dilshan will have the home turf advantage and there is no reason why he cannot end up being the highest run-scorer in the tournament.
AB de VilliersThe South African played some sensational knocks in IPL 2012 and got Royal Challengers Bangalore to some incredible victories. The right-hander played superb cameos and entertained the crowd. The fans would remember how he clobbered his own team-mate Dale Steyn in an over that produced 17 runs.
De Villiers has become one of the cleanest strikers of the cricket ball and the bowlers would be wary of the damage he can cause at any time of the match. The 28-year-old has played 37 T20 international matches and he will have a huge role to play if South Africa entertain any chances of winning a major tournament.
Umar AkmalHe has provided a lot of strength to the Pakistan middle-order and has won several matches for his side single-handedly. A lot depends on Akmal these days keeping in mind Afridi’s poor run with the bat.
Akmal who scored a century in his third ODI has a wide range of shots and has four fifties to his name in the T20 international matches. During his initial days, the experts lavished huge praise on his ability to bat under pressure.
Akmal would be high on confidence after hitting the winning runs against the Aussies in the super over of a T20 match recently in UAE and Pakistan would expect him to guide them to second World Cup victory.
Eoin MorganThe left-hander is the No. 1 batsman in current T20 rankings. The Irish-born Englishman who is known to play innovative strokes cemented his place in the England squad after the retirement of Paul Collingwood.
The 26-year-old has a handy average (38) in T20 international matches. Of late, there has been a decline in his form and a Pietersen-less England side would want the left-hander to come with all guns blazing in order to successfully defend their title.
David WarnerNeedless to say, Warner remains one of the most feared batsmen of modern era. He was considered to be a T20 specialist but then he has proved his mettle in the longer format as well. But his natural game is seen in the T20’s where he is yet to score a century.
Warner is equally comfortable with playing switch-hits which yield plenty of runs for him. He had a bad ODI series against Pakistan and the left-hander would be desperate once again to shine at the international level.
Virender SehwagFrom Test cricket, to ODIs, to the shortest format, Sehwag is one of the most feared batsmen around the world. He has his own style of batting where he smokes boundaries with an extraordinary hand and eye coordination.
He was involved in several crucial partnerships for the first wicket along with Gautam Gambhir in 2007 World Cup and this year too, India will rely on him to get them to good starts.
Sehwag who scored five consecutive half-centuries in IPL 2012 is yet to score a ton in a T20 international. The upcoming World Cup could be the best opportunity for the swashbuckling right-hander to reach the landmark.
Chris GayleA run-machine. An incredible run-machine. Take the opinions of all the bowlers who have bowled against the Jamaican and that would be their answer.
Gayle just loves making records and he did exactly that in the first match of the inaugural T20 World cup where he scored 117 runs against South Africa and became the first batsman to reach the three-figure mark in T20 matches. After a rough patch and his spat with the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), the left-hander came with all guns blazing and has been a force to reckon with in the last two IPL seasons.
He has been in terrific forms in all formats of the game and just like Lasith Malinga he too guarantees entertainment. Gayle has appeared in just 23 T20I’s so far, but with a strike rate of 143 and an average of 36, Gayle can once again do wonders at the big stage.