Zimbabwe in tough World T20 group

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Zimbabwe were drawn with hosts Sri Lanka and South Africa in the toughest group of the 2012 International Cricket Council (ICC) World Twenty20 (T20), in Sri Lanka.

The tournament will run from September 18 to October 7. The draw for the tournament took place in Colombo, on Wednesday, with 12 teams being placed in four groups of three.

Zimbabwe will play in the opening match of the tournament against the host in Hambantota before playing South Africa two days later at the same venue. Brendan Taylor will captain Zimbabwe for the first time in a high profile tournament.

Allan Butcher’s men met Sri Lanka in their first match at the last edition of the tournament in the West Indies in May last year, with the subcontinent nation winning by 14 runs through the Duckworth and Lewis method.

Zimbabwe, who had gone into the tournament with high hopes after beating Australian and Pakistan in warm-up matches, crashed out of the tournament after another defeat to New Zealand.

In that match Zimbabwe were bowled out for a paltry 84 runs before losing by seven runs also through the Duckworth and Lewis method in the rain-affected match.

England were drawn in the same group as India and will begin the defence of their title at the Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on September 21 against one of two qualifiers who are yet to be confirmed, before taking on India at the same venue two days later.

Pakistan, New Zealand and Bangladesh form another strong group, and will play their matches in Pallekele, while the final group includes Australia, West Indies and the second qualifier.

If everything goes according to pre-tournament seedings then Pakistan and India will lock horns in a Super Eight match in Colombo on Sunday 30 September.

The Super Eight games will be shared between Colombo and Pallekele, while the semi-finals and final will all be played in Colombo.

ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said in a statement on Wednesday: “The previous editions in South Africa, England and the West Indies have smartly established the ICC World Twenty20 as a major global event that is not only exciting and entertaining, but embraces both men’s and women’s cricket.

“Nothing beats nation-versus-nation contests and when these battles take place in the newest, sharpest and quickest form of the game then you can feel the excitement in fans. We all know how passionate and loyal the Sri Lankan public is towards our Great Sport and we will ensure the tickets are affordable so that they can enjoy the event.”