Team profiles and squad lists of the fours groups
Captain: Stuart Board. Coach: Andy Flower England defend the World Twenty20 title they won in the Caribbean two years ago without 2010 man of the tournament Kevin Pietersen, who remains in international exile after repeated run-ins with team officials.
Much will depend on how the likes of Alex Hales, effectively 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 English 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, one of eight survivors from the 2010 squad, captains the side, with Jade Dernbach's various slower deliveries set for their sternest test yet.
England squad: Stuart Broad (capt), Jonathan Bairstow, Ravi Bopara, Tim Bresnan, Danny Briggs, Jos Buttler, Jade Dernbach, Steven Finn, Alex Hales, Craig Kieswetter, Michael Lumb, Eoin Morgan, Samit Patel, Graeme Swann, Luke Wright.
India won the inaugural World Twenty20 in South Africa in 2007, but couldn't live up to their billing in the next two editions as they failed to qualify for the semi-finals in England and the West Indies.
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, smashing six sixes in an over from England paceman Stuart Broad at Durban in his 16-ball 58 to set up his team's victory. He also played a big role in India's 50-over World Cup triumph at home last year, scoring 362 runs and grabbing 15 wickets in nine matches 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.
India squad: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt), Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Irfan Pathan, Ravichandran Ashwin, Zaheer Khan, Lakshmipathy Balaji, Ashok Dinda, Rohit Sharma, Piyush Chawla, Harbhajan Singh, Manoj Tiwary.
Twenty20 cricket suits the maverick style of Afghan cricketers. Their batsmen are not afraid to play shots in the air and 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. Both England and India can ill-afford to take the Afghans lightly in the preliminary group stage.
Afghanistan squad: Nawroz Mangal (capt), Dawlat Zadran, Gulbodin Naib, Hamid Hassan, Izatullah Dawlatzai, Karim Sadiq, Javed Ahmadi, Mohammad Nasim Baras, Mohammad Nabi, Mohammad Shahzad, Asghar Stanikzai, Najibullah Zadran, Samiullah Shenwari, Shafiqullah Shafaq, Shapoor Zadran. Top Group B