Following mistakes made by SL during the the last match should be avoided in tomorrow’s match.
Penalty free hit was awarded to Afghanistan batsman for violating field restriction rules by SL, as during the second power play one extra fielder was placed outside the inner circle. I am surprised that in spite of having three past captains in the team this fielding error was not noticed by any of them either. These type of mistakes must be avoided in future matches, and it’s very important that all are playing as one team and give their fullest co orporation to Dimuth on the field.
As we were playing five seamers in the team, SL were well below the over rate and at one stage it was mentioned that we were behind by three overs. If the match was continued for 50 overs, Dimuth would have been fined with a suspension of not playing in the next match. Luckily Afghanistan was all out before completing the 50 overs, therefore the penalty was not imposed. However we will be in the same situation in future matches as well, as we are expected to play 4 / 5 seamers with our spinners doing only a few overs (may be even less than 10 overs).
Therefore Dimuth as well as all the other fielders (including bowlers) will have to be very quick on the field without wasting time in between every ball bowled / shot played. Situation will definitely be critical if we are going to play on a seamer friendly wicket tomorrow as we will definitely play 5 seamers.
There were some poor lapses on our ground fielding and 3 / 4 fielders leaked as many as 10 to 12 runs (In a low scoring match these runs are very crucial) allowing the opposition batsmen to score boundaries when each shot could have been restricted to 1 / 2 runs. Therefore we will have to raise the level of our ground fielding
Standard of our Batsmen is no where close to a level to produce a winning total of 330+ runs
As observed by every cricket expert, SL batting has to improve a lot on three fronts. Upper & Lower Middle Order batsmen (from no 3, 4, 5 & 6 positions) & Lower Power Hitting Batsmen (from no 7, 8 & 9 positions)
Only two openers positions are establishedup to now i.e. DIMUTH & KUSAL J
From the results of last few matches, Dimuth & Kusal J are established as the best opening combination. From the very first day since I joined this forum about four months back, I have been telling that Kusal Janith is the best opening batsman we have in our country for modern ODI format. I can remember how badly I was criticized by some “Tharanga Fans” but fortunately they are so silent these days after the rejection of Tharanga for the WC Squad.
Dimuth K; I am so impressed with his batting, except for one fault of his which was seen in the last two matches when Dimuth was out in soft dismissals.
He is not an attacking batsman like Kusal J. His ability of scoring sixes is very poor. It shows even in his statistical records. His sixes rate is less than 5% (whereas it is over 10% for Kusal J). So Dimuth has to avoid playing lofted shots. In the WC matches whenever he lofted the ball it ended as easy catches to fielders between the inner ring and fence. Probably if we have a very good score after loosing only few wickets or at some later stage he can try those lofted shots. But personally I would not advise on that. He has the ability to increase his SR from 40/50% to a very healthy 90%100% during a long inning by scoring only boundaries and quick ones & two. So why unnecessarily he gifts his wicket in trying to score unsuccessful sixes.
Advise to Kusal J: His only mistake I have seen in this WC is playing few unconventional shots like reverse sweeps & cross batted shots early in the innings before the team score has reached a healthy stage.
Middle Order Batting
This is our main concern. Thirimanna, Kusal M, Mathews & Dhananjaya have so far not produced any worthwhile score for the benefit of the team.
Following poor scores have been recorded by four of them:
Thirimanna: 4, 25
Kusal Mendis 0, 2
Angelow Mathews 0, 0
Dhanajaya De Silva 4, 0
All the above four batsmen (or at least three of them in every match) has to produce a 40+ score in future matches.
Our chances to reach the K/O stage depends purely on the performance of these batsmen as mentioned. However its very important that at least two of them will go for big scores of 60/80+ runs.
Preferred batting orders for upper & lower middle order batsmen can be as follows
No 3 Thirimanna
No 4 either Kusal Mendis or Mathews (My preference is for Mathews to bat at no 4 until Kusal M is into a good form so that he can be elevated to no 4 & Mathews can take no 5)
No 6 Dhananjaya
Although some are suggesting Dhananjaya to bat at no3 or 4, I would not think that’s a good idea, as he will be under tremendous pressure to perform immediately at a more critical position. Let him bat at no 6 now (where conditions are much easier for batting due to facing a softer ball)
Lower Order Power Hitters
No 7 Jeewan
No 8 Thisara
No 9 Udana
So far none of the above Power Hitters have performed up to the expectations. So their contribution in the next match will be very crucial to score 330+ runs in the next match. Pakistan scored 348 runs in few days back against a powerful bowling attack of England. They will play the same winning combination
No 10 Malinga
No 11 Pradeep
There is a good possibility to play 5 seamers on seaming conditions. In such situation I would play only Jeawan. And replace Dhananjaya with Lakmal. If rain is forecast it would be advisable to play Dhananjaya instead of Jeewan.
SO I HOPE OUR MIDDLE & LOWER ORDER BATSMEN WILL COME UP WITH A SUPER PERFORMANCE IN TOMORROWS MATCH SO THAT OUR CHANCES TO ENTER THE K/O STAGE WILL BE IMPROVED.