Gayle’s appetite for T20s appears undimmed. Gayle racked up the highest ever score in T20s while playing for Bangalore in IPL three years ago, hitting an unbeaten 175 off 66 balls. And he lit up the first World T20 by notching up the format's first century. It could be the last chance for glory for a player, aged 36, that captain Darren Sammy describes as "the most destructive" in T20 cricket.

With paceman Dale Steyn struggling with injury, the hopes of South Africa's bowling attack will rest largely on the shoulders of leg-spinner Imran Tahir. The 36-year-old has been in the form of his life in 2016 and was the stand-out bowler in the recent T20 series against Australia and England.The stylish spinner wears his heart on his sleeve and is a natural entertainer.

He may have the appearance of a choirboy but the chirpy Yorkshireman is a steely competitor who gets up the noses of opponents. Widely seen as a captain-in-waiting, Root has excelled at all forms of the game and appears to relish the more aggressive style of cricket that England have pursued in the last year. Still only 25, he has already scored more than 6,000 international runs.

The batting all-rounder has been handed the unenviable task of ensuring the struggling islanders at least make a decent fist of trying to defend the World T20 title they won in 2014. Sri Lanka have been on the decline since their triumph in Bangladesh. Progressing to the semis is seen as a tall order, so if Sri Lanka succeed, then their new skipper will regard it as a job well done.

A self-proclaimed fan of Indian skipper MS Dhoni, wicketkeeper-batsman M Shahzad has not only copied his idol's 'helicopter shot' but possesses a similar never-say-die attitude. The portly opener has been in the form of his life and is the main reason Afghans made the Super 10 cut. With scores of 61, 41 and 40 in the qualifiers, Shahzad is sure to make any opposition wary of his presence.

Key players in Group 2

With question marks over India's pace attack, Ashwin will be the team's go-to man in home conditions. The off-spinner comes into the tournament as the top-ranked Twenty20 bowler in the absence of the West Indies' Sunil Narine. With many variations including the 'carrom ball' up his sleeve, Ashwin is feared on Indian wickets and he's also handy with the bat lower down the order.

Forget Kane Williamson, Martin Guptill and Corey Anderson, New Zealand suddenly has another big-hitter in the form of Munro, 29. The unheralded left-hander has been in sensational form this year. Anderson callem him "one hell of a player". His form is timely for New Zealand, after the retirement of their swashbuckling captain Brendon McCullum.

Arguably the most brutal opener in Test cricket, Warner has been handed a new role in the middle order of Australia's T20 side. A blistering 77 off just 40 balls against South Africa last weekend showed how quickly he has adapted to the change and he says he is relishing the opportunity to face more spin bowling. As vice-captain much responsibility now rests on him.

The middle-order batsman made his debut in 1999 when still a teenager, beginning a rollercoaster ride which seems to be drawing to a close. Still only 34, he remains a key member of one-day and T20 squads and a calming influence in a crisis situation. After Pakistan's disastrous performance in the recent Asia Cup, Shahid Afridi will be looking to Malik to mentor the side's young batsmen.

Widely regarded as the best cricketer Bangladesh has produced, Shakib is a canny left-arm spinner and a power middle-order batsman. Shakib is also Bangladesh's most experienced T20 campaigner and has played in domestic leagues in four different countries. He has been the main factor behind the team's sharp improvement in one-day cricket in the last two years.