Afghanistan's rise in world cricket is one of the most exciting developments in a sport that is attempting to break new ground.
A war-ravaged nation, they go to Sri Lanka for their second World Twenty20, having made their debut in the Caribbean two years ago.
Twenty20 cricket suits the maverick style of Afghan cricketers. Their batsmen take great delight in smashing the best bowlers out of the ground.
The batsmen to watch out for are opener Karim Sadiq, wicketkeeper Mohammad Shahzad, Mohammad Nabi and Asghar Stanikzai, who are all attractive strokemakers.
Skipper Nawroz Mangal leads the spin attack alongside Sadiq and Samiullah Shenwari, while the big-built Shapoor Zadran and Dawlat Zadran are new-ball bowlers capable of striking vital blows.
Former champions and one-day World Cup-holders India will bank on their depth in batting and cancer survivor Yuvraj Singh's all-round excellence to regain glory in the shortest format of the game.
Batting will be India's main strength as Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj and Dhoni are all capable of dominating any attack with their exciting strokeplay.
Yuvraj impressed with his power-hitting in the inaugural edition and also played a big role in India's 50-over World Cup triumph at home last year to be named man of the tournament.
The spotlight will also be on off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, who is making a comeback after being ignored since August last year.
England defend the World Twenty20 title they won in the Caribbean two years ago without 2010 man of the tournament Kevin Pietersen.
Much will depend on how the likes of Alex Hales, Pietersen's replacement, and the rest of the top order cope on the kind of spin-friendly pitches where England's batsmen have so often struggled in the past.
Left-arm spinner Danny Briggs, a star performer for domestic Twenty20 champions Hampshire, could be important especially if experienced off-spinner Graeme Swann remains troubled by an elbow problem.
Pace bowling all-rounder Stuart Broad captains the side, with Jade Dernbach's various slower deliveries set for their sternest test yet.AFP