World Twenty20 team profiles - Group C
Captain: AB de Villiers. Coach: Gary Kirsten
Adjusting to conditions in Sri Lanka, especially the slow wickets, after a long tour of England, will be crucial to South Africa's chances in the tournament.
South Africa remain strong contenders in any form of the game, including Twenty20. Opening batsman Richard Levi is able to hit ferociously in the power-play overs and is backed by more orthodox world-class batsmen in AB de Villiers, Jacques Kallis and Hashim Amla. Then there is Albie Morkel, the hard-hitting 'finisher'.
Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel provide top-quality fast bowling, Lonwabo Tsotsobe is a naggingly accurate left-armer and there are capable spin bowlers in Johan Botha, Robin Peterson, Faf Du Plessis and JP Duminy.
South Africa have not won a 50-over World Cup or the World Twenty20 despite consistently being among the favourites. They now get a chance to set the record straight as they go into the World Twenty20 as international cricket's most feared side.
South Africa squad: AB de Villiers (capt), Hashim Amla, Farhaan Behardien, Johan Botha, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Jacques Kallis, Richard Levi, Albie Morkel, Morne Morkel, Justin Ontong, Wayne Parnell, Robin Peterson, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe.
Captain: Mahela Jayawardene. Coach: Graham Ford
Hosts Sri Lanka have already showcased their all-round skill in the World Twenty20, reaching the final in England in 2009 and the last four in the next edition in the West Indies the following year.
Inspired by crowd support and aided by familiar conditions, Mahela Jayawardene's team start as unofficial favourites with batsmen and bowlers to rise to the big occasion.
The home team will not be short of T20 experience, having played two matches against Pakistan and one against India in recent months. Most of their players also recently figured in the inaugural Sri Lankan Premier League.
They have excellent batsmen in Tillakaratne Dilshan, Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, and talented all-rounders in Angelo Mathews and Thisara Perera.
Sri Lanka also have a match-winning paceman in Lasith Malinga, and the return of unorthodox spinner Ajantha Mendis adds variety to their attack.
Sri Lanka: Mahela Jayawardene (capt), Angelo Mathews, Kumar Sangakkara, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Lahiru Thirimanne, Jeevan Mendis, Dilshan Munaweera, Thisara Perera, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Kulasekara, Rangana Herath, Ajantha Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal, Shaminda Eranga, Akila Dananjaya.
Captain: Brendan Taylor. Coach: Alan Butcher
Zimbabwe are not expected to trouble the big boys, but the 20-over format provides lot of scope for upsets. Zimbabwe proved the point when they shocked Australia in the inaugural World Twenty20 in South Africa in 2007, with current captain Brendan Taylor sealing a five-wicket win with an unbeaten 60 off 45 balls.
Zimbabwe have only a small number of potential match-winners, but if they perform at their peak they are a side that cannot be discounted. Their bowling is steady, with the spin of Graeme Cremer, Prosper Utseya and veteran Ray Price likely to be a key factor on the slow pitches of Sri Lanka, and they are an athletic fielding team.
Although Zimbabwe have lost their last 12 official T20 internationals, they had two morale-boosting wins in three matches against a strong South African XI in a triangular tournament in Harare in June. Zimbabwe cruised to a nine-wicket win against their neighbours in the final, with their top three batsmen, Hamilton Masakadza, Vusi Sibanda and Taylor all making runs. They will rely heavily on these three in Sri Lanka, with Elton Chigumbura also capable of hitting hard in the closing overs.
Zimbabwe squad: Brendan Taylor (capt), Vusi Sibanda, Hamilton Masakadza, Stuart Matsikenyeri, Malcolm Waller, Elton Chigumbura, Craig Ervine, Graeme Cremer, Ray Price, Kyle Jarvis, Chris Mpofu, Richard Muzhange, Brian Vitori, Prosper Utseya, Forster Mutizwa.