CWC Elite Sri Lanka vs Zimbabwe : Scintillating Game At Pallekelle
The Sri Lanka vs Zimbabwe game which was played out in Kandy provided sparks that haven’t been evident in games gone in the past between these two sides. Zimbabwe having claimed a victory over Sri Lanka in Harare last year were clear underdogs coming into the tournament, and after todays events that billing has been justified.
Zimbabwe’s problems mounted at the toss, where Elton Chigumbura chose to bowl playing into Sri Lanka’s strength of batting first and defending targets. The dew factor may have caused that decision on a flat deck,but local opinion in Kandy is that the dew comes down far later there at around 8.30 p.m
Zimbabwe’s Bowling Verdict :- Poor (3.9/10)
The opening pair of Christopher Mpofu and Tinashee Panyagara started off preceding, in an opening burst which say the openers get off the blocks quickly. Panyagara especially was short in length and short in mettle to handle the flair of the Lankans and buckled under pressure early.
Elton Chigumbura’s bowling plan was clearly unwise,and his ineffective usage of Raymond Price early signifies his inexperience in crunch matches.When the Run rate hovered around 6 for the first 25 overs of SL’s innings,his bowling changes had to be swift,taking a leaf out of Ricky Ponting‘s guide of bowler rotation.Graeme Cremer and Greg Lamb bowled long spells letting Dilshan and Tharanga to pace their innings and sail to their respective centuries.
Cremer and Lamb gave away 93 off 15 overs in the non-power-play stage
In the slog overs, Mpofu and Company gagged Sri lanka to 43-5 in the last 5 overs,causing local media in Sri Lanka to once again raise concerns over their brittle middle order.
Zimbabwe Batting Verdict :- Improved (5/10)
In an ground dominated by Taylors,Brendan showed his class and experience to smack 80 off 72 to give Zimbabwe some early joy.He caressed gorgeous cove drives,pulled off a square hit for a six and negotiated Malinga well.
Regis Chakabva showed raw talent but what followed the openers was saddening as they were skittled out for 188.Craig Ervine , Greg Lamb and a surprise No.4 Utseya symbolized why Zimbabwe needs much more international exposure to fight it out against good teams.
The idea to send out Utseya at 4 was odd to say the least, given that an accomplished batsmen could have carried the game forward effectively.
Sri Lanka Batting Verdict :- Top Heavy (6.5/10)
At the end of the day all seemed well for Sri Lanka,but their batting needs much more fine tuning.Dilshan was frequently hitting the ball in the air uncontrolled and was very fortunate to survive at the start.His mis-timed hook off a pleasant Panyagara delivery showed why he’s found out on the bouncers by the better teams.
Tharanga played a much more elegant and pure innings, stroking it to the off side to achieve his well deserved first CWC century.In the end he managed to strike 17 fours,beating Dilshan’s 16 fours.
The last five overs brought out the ugliness of SL’s batting as the revolving doors of the changing room was kicked off by the likes of Thisara Perera and then finished off by Silva.
Samaraweera and Sangakkara played the best apart from the openers as they conjured out 19 runs off the last two overs by playing the seamers as offies and playing with a horizontal bat and scoring runs square to the wicket.
Sri Lanka Bowling Verdict :- Bailed Out (5/10)
After an frightening start to the proceedings by the quickies off Sri Lanka where they conceded 103 runs in the first 17 overs,the wizard Muttiah Muralitharan showed up in his backyard to dismiss Chakabva,which was the decisive brakthrough.
Sri Lanka were nervous early but Vice Captain Mahela Jayawardena brought back the magic of 2007 by really taking matters into his own hands and inspiring a comeback.
The bottom line of affairs in this Group A encounter is that SL have gone through to the knock-out stage, and nothing matters to the Sri Lankan public than getting their World Cup back to Colombo on April 2nd.