They kick off the global showpiece in Geelong against a Namibian team looking for a new surprise after taking the Super 12 podium in their tournament debut last year.
Originally scheduled for 2020 before being moved due to Covid, the eighth edition of the event will kick off with a double-header at Kardinia Park with a capacity of 36,000 people outside of Melbourne.
Later on Sunday, the United Arab Emirates will face the Netherlands, before two-time champions of the West Indies, Scotland, Zimbabwe and Ireland join the fray in Hobart on Monday.
Despite the 2014 Sri Lanka champion failing to automatically qualify for the Super 12, skipper Dasun Shanaka believes they can go far after beating India and Pakistan to win the Asian Cup last month.
“The momentum is there and winning the Asian Cup really helps to advance to the World Cup,” he said.
“Qualifications will really help as we will be playing in the conditions before the main draw so it will be good for us.”
They first have to pass an experienced Namibia led by Gerhard Erasmus, who hopes for more big performances by talisman David Wiese and pacesetter Ruben Trumpelmann, who both played a leading role last year.
The Africans also played first against Sri Lanka in 2021, crashing by seven wickets, before beating the Netherlands and Ireland to qualify from the first round.
The eight teams in the first round are chasing four places in the Super 12, which kicks off on October 22 when defending champions Australia take on defeated 2021 finalists New Zealand in Sydney.
England, South Africa, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan are also waiting.
The top four will advance to the semi-finals for the final at Melbourne Cricket Ground on November 13.
Like Namibia, the UAE are only playing their second World Cup T20 and enter the league after two defeats against Bangladesh.
They last played in 2014 and suffered three convincing defeats, with every win this year being historic.
Ryan Cook’s Netherlands, who face the UAE first, are in their fourth consecutive World Cup, but triumph to their first win in the competition since 2016.
“We will try to continue the progression that was evident in the tournament over the summer,” said Cook, whose team went through the July qualifier to secure a World Cup spot.
The West Indies are the only two-time champions of the event but, like Sri Lanka, must play the first round. They are linked to Scotland, Ireland and Zimbabwe.
Nicholas Pooran’s men, who lost twice to Australia last week, face Scotland first in Hobart on Monday, while Ireland and Zimbabwe also meet in the Tasmanian state’s capital.
“We get used to the circumstances, put our egos aside and work on the team plans,” Pooran said.
Once qualifying is complete, Aaron Finch’s Australia will aim to make history as the first back-to-back world champions when they go head to head against Kane Williamson’s New Zealand.
England will take on Afghanistan on the same day in Perth.
A blockbuster clash follows in Melbourne 24 hours later when India, missing injured spearhead Jasprit Bumrah, meets arch-rivals and 2009 champion Pakistan, with more than 90,000 fans expected.