Monday, March 28, 2011

World Cup 2011 .... Sri Lanka vs New Zealand - 1st Semifinal preview !!!

Sri Lanka take on New Zealand in the 1st semifinals of the World Cup tomorrow at Premadasa Stadium, Colombo.

New Zealand is a bits & pieces team, having players like Brenden McCullum, Guptill, Ross Taylor & Jesse Ryder, who on their day can post a big total or chase a big total, with the bat. When this adds to the all round performances of Jacob Oram & Daniel Vettori, the team looks formidable on paper. Add to this, their superlative win against favourites South Africa in the quarterfinals, & you would like to think that they are a strength to reckon with. Their fiedling was like dream against South Africa, where Oram took a fascinating running catch to dismiss Kallis & then Guptill ran out AB de Villiers, one of the fastest runners between the wickets....both the batsmen were well set & were coasting the Proteas to a easy victory when this happened, & the rest of the batsmen collapsed in a surprising heap.
However, the team, has been very very scratchy in their performances over the last one year. They have been thrashed by India, Sri Lanka, & Bangladesh in the subcontinent, & Pakistan also defeated them back home, down under. Some say, they were lucky to be in Group A, to manage a place in the last eight, & then faced South Africa, who have always choked in the knockout stages.
That said, the Kiwis would certainly have to be superlative & sensational to pull out an upset against Sri Lanka, & the country is hoping Daniel Vettori, pulls out a cat from the bag.
In contrast, the Sri Lankans are looking good & confident. They are gelling as a unit & batting, bowling & fielding is stacking up quite nicely. They are a little too dependent on their top four batsmen, but then, these four have been performing regularly & they also have Angelo Mathews, Chamara Silva & Samaraweera drawing up a formidable middle order. Dilshan, Tharanga & Sangakkara are amongst the top five batsmen in this tournament, & they have enough firepower to blow away the Kiwis attack, which lacks depth. Bowling looks facile & strong with Malinga, Kulasekhara bowling well  upfront & in the death overs, along with Murali & Mendis finding form. However, Murali struggled with his hamstring injury in the quarters, & there is quite a possibility that he may have to rest. In my opinion, Sri Lankans are formidable without him as well, & the think tank would be well advised to rest Murali & get him fit for the finals. His presence is more important for them in the finals, where, if they reach, they would have to face either Pakistan or India, both of whom are good against spin bowling.

My prediction would be 65 : 35 in favour of Sri Lanka