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Preview Super Eight – Do Lions have enough firepower to ground mighty Aussies and firing Indians?

Well after rain had threatened to make Sri Lanka’s qualification doubtful, Sri Lanka somehow progressed through to the Super Eights, and Zimbabwe had to go home after only playing mere 48.2 overs.

On the other hand, clinical is the best word to describe New Zealand’s World T20 camp so far, but its often their case in global events. Only starting the camp with a bang, but cant go past the semi finals. So then now Sri Lanka is grouped with India & West Indies and these three teams eagerly waiting for the other almost certain qualifier from Group A, Australia.

So far Mahela Jayawardene single-handedly carried Sri Lanka through to the next round. Started off with a classical 81 against New Zealand, Jayawardene then played an even more astonishing innings and scored the finest T20 innings up to date. It was like a masterpiece from an artist like Leonardo or Picasso. Not a single rash stroke from the batting maestro in the 64 balls he faced.

While one opener is totally shining for Sri Lanka, other one is totally underwhelming. Dilshan found it really hard to even rotate the strike and so far the biggest failure of the tournament. Captain Sangakkara also couldn’t last long and have an aggregate of 7 runs from 2 innings. Dilshan and Sankgakkara together wasted 42 balls for just 12 runs. Its not false to say these two are replicating Chamara Silva and Mubarak’s horrible run in 2009 World T20 while Jayawardene started to repeat Dilshan’s heroics.

So as a result of Dilshan’s mediocre form, Jayasuriya or Chandimal may well replace him in the game against West Indies. Certainly Jayasuriya is the strong contender and we could see him opening the innings for first time in nearly 05 months for Sri Lanka. Sankgakkara has been heavily criticized for not using Jayasuriya as a batsmen. So far he could only face 03 balls and been used as No. 07 and No. 08. It is such a shame for the legend as he was the fifth highest run-getter in ICC World T20’s at the start of this tournament. Sangakkara now have to recruit the Master Blaster at the top. It would be the more comfortable game for Sri Lanka, as Australia & India being the other two, so Dilshan would get a last chance and could bat at No. 03 or in his more familiar No 06.

There is a big fuss about the failures of other batsmen in the camp, but as far as i’m concerned its not a huge problem. All the batsmen can’t succeed in a single game and others have to bat around the main batsmen with quick cameos. Batsmen like Perera,Chandimal,Kapugedara did exactly that against Zimbabwe by supporting to the in-form Batsman, Mahela. Batsmen like Kallis & Tendulkar did the same thing in IPL. I hope others will come with goods when Mahela fails, like Kapugedara in the warm-ups.

Bowling Unit looks settled with the omission of Welagedara. It’s highly unlikely that Murali will play the Super Eights games. So Randiv,Mendis & Jayasuriya will have to bowl out of their skins against Indians to reduce them to a par score. Lasith Malinga will benefit from the lively St Lucia pitch. Seamers like Tait,Johnson and Aamer succeeded there.

Sri Lanka have a game in St Lucia and two in Barbados. Though we don’t know how Barbados pitch will behave, St Lucia looks like a perfect track to bat on. There isn’t any wind going across the ground as in Guyana, So batsmen can attack both sides of the ground. In the last match Mathews played a clean heave, even the camera was focused to the stands, but only to find the fielder because of the heavy wind. So we can expect some big scores from our team.

Even though Australia and India are firing at full throttle ,I still believe SL can somehow make it to semi finals. India can be beaten in this format and West Indian’s bowling attack is quite weak. Only concern would be Australians and we must especially analyze how Two W’s(Watson & Warner) plays and make plans about their weaknesses. They spin bowling spearheads by Steven Smith and it would be an added bonus for us. So the onus is on Sri Lankans to make it. Come on guys and here’s the chance to make our country proud!

~TC~

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