It’s a very open tournament. Afghanistan, an ODI nation perhaps just edge it as favourites but the UAE and all the other Middle East teams, along with Hong Kong, Nepal and Singapore are seriously close to them. Fitness is going to count for a hell of a lot as is the will to win. In 2007 Afghanistan, Oman and Kuwait finished 1,2,3 purely due to those two factors. They had just that little bit more of them than the other teams in the inaugural ACC Twenty20. Every one's moved on from then, all of the teams have bundles of proven talent and all, thanks to the ACC's extensive tournament program, have a taste for victory in competition.

There are going to be decent crowds at all the Afghan games, hundreds of their fans, drums and all, came out to watch the U-15 side play an ACC final in Abu Dhabi in 2005, thousands came to watch the last two times they were in the finals of ACC events in Kuwait. There are even more Afghans in the Emirates than there are in Kuwait and the Afghan cricketers, already with ODI and first-class victories behind them in recent months get more famous by the day. Even non-Afghans come to watch them play and are thrilled by the experience.

The epic 2007 ACC Twenty20 Final comes to its thrilling tied climax, Afghanistan v Oman

The ACC Twenty20 provides the international debut of Al Dhaid Cricket Village, a seven-ground facility near the centre of the UAE, which is another Bukhatir project following Sharjah Cricket Stadium and Dubai Sports City. Al Dhaid hosts 10 of the tournament’s 38 matches including a semi-final. ODI grounds Sharjah Cricket Stadium and Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Stadium are the other venues, with Sheikh Zayed hosting the Final on November 30th.

The event also marks the first time that China are playing international T20 cricket and though not much is expected of them, they could cause an upset or two. China are special invitees as a result of them having automatic qualification into the Guangzhou Asian Games in November 2010, where they and the best Asian national teams from ICC Associate and Affiliate level that submit teams to the Guangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee will be playing in a T20 event featuring India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

China, will be playing in the Asian Games in Guangzhou November 2010 along with the ODI countries and any of the ACC region members who wish to submit a team of full nationals. Participation rules of the Olympic Council of Asia, parallel those of the International Olympic Committee, in stating that only athletes who hold the passports of the countries they represent qualify for participation in their Games.

Any one of ten teams could win this ACC Twenty20, at least a hundred players will shine.

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Filed Nov 17th, 2009