Preview-Sri Lanka versus New Zealand
The anticipated clash between South Africa and Sri Lanka didn’t happen with the New Zealanders spoiling the party.So in many eyes it has gifted the Sri Lankan’s free passage to the Final.Though the Kiwi’s aren’t a Team to be disrespected.So if the Sri Lankan’s take this game as a walk in the park. They have a chance to lose it.
So here is my take on the clash
World Cup Form
The Sri Lankan’s with every match have got stronger and stronger culminating in the near flawless display against the English in the Quarters.They have every aspect of the game covered with their bowling being particularly strong.The only query of them going forward is the injury to master spinner Muttiah Muralidaran.Though it would make sense to rest him for this game for their depth is strong enough to cover him.Plus a fit Murali will be needed in the Final against anticipated stronger foes.
The only change is likely to be Nuwan Kulasekera in for the ailing Murali.So the Team will be as follows
Tharanga, Dilshan, Sangakkara, Mahela, Samaraweera, Mathews, Silva,Kulasekera, Malinga, Mendis, Herath
The Keys For Sri Lanka
1,The Fielding Needs To Lift!
The only criticism in the Quarter Final mauling of England was the fielding with 4 catches being dropped.Which is very strange for this Sri Lankan Team for they usually are a very fine fielding side.In a clash that they should win easily they don’t want to give the opposition any changes to rise up and bite them.So from ball one the fielding has to be 100%.
2,No Complacency-100% in the Mind
Though none of the players would have admitted it they would have been anticipating a tough Semi Final against on paper a very complete South African Team.Its just a pity that the South African’s were complete on paper, but a mess in the mind.Thus inexplicably imploding and gifting New Zealand the win.So the Sri Lankans will see this opponent as easy prey and duly should make easy work of them.Though if they have an off day mentally by underestimating the opposition. It might allow the Kiwi’s into the contest to cause another monumental boil over.
3,Can The Openers Keep Dominating?
The quarter Final partnership between Tharanga and Dilshan was not only remarkable,but smacked of class.The fact that this opening partnership has been such a success has allowed Sri Lanka to cover up it’s one slight weakness.That of a touted fragile middle order that was exposed in the Group stages against Pakistan.The fact that the openers have been dominating covers this weakness.For with them being hard to get through it has a domino effect.Making the regal duo of Sangakkara and Mahela coming in with such good starts makes them even more effective.Then if the middle order comes in with the batting on top they are more likely than not going to perform.
So if these two openers keep dominating,Sri Lanka are almost impossible to beat.
4,The Pitch And The Spinners
Even if Murali is either unfit to play or wisely rested.The Sri Lankans still have a host of quality spinners to exploit the situations.In the spinners favour is the fact that the same pitch that was low and slow and so difficult to score on in the Quarters will be used here.So with further wear and tear it will be lower and slower and take more turn.So the spinners will be an even bigger factor.
So if they dominate as expected it will be hard to see how New Zealand can win.
The World Cup Form
The New Zealand Team has exceeded all expectations.Especially with the remarkable victory against South Africa in the Quarter Finals.So here against a Team that will not be as weak in the mind as the South Africans were.It will be interesting to see how they go.
The New Zealanders main point of conjecture is whether to play 3 spinners or include an extra paceman.I think on the basis of Sri Lanka’s skill in playing spin the paceman with get the nod.So this will be the likely Team
The Keys For New Zealand
1,Brendom McCullum NEEDS To Fire
In this World Cup the man known as ‘Big Mac’ was touted to be one of its major stars.Though he has flattered to deceive and for the most part done nothing.Here in a classic David versus Goliath clash.If he can find the type of form that has made him into one of the most feared players in International cricket.It might actually redress the balance and give his Team a chance to compete. For the Kiwis he is a huge factor in this contest.
2,Tim Southee versus Sri Lanka’s Top Order
Ive been a huge fan of Southee since seeing him as a talented 17 year old and here at this World Cup.He has started to turn potential into performance.In this clash with how dominant the Sri Lankan top 4 have been.He is the key man for the Kiwis.For despite conditions he is an old style type bowler in terms of being very skilled.In regards to being able to swing the ball both ways at decent pace.If he can get a few of the Sri Lankans in the early overs.It will expose the questionable middle order and give the New Zealanders their best chance to win. This stage is your chance for super stardom Mr Tim Southee
3,The Fielding Needs To Keep Being Stellar
In the Quarter Final we saw what was arguably one of the most impressive fielding displays by a Team in a good long time.Many will say South Africa’s loss was because of their implosion,but don’t deny the role that the NZ exceptional fielding played in the lead up to the implosion.For with the amount of runs stopped through expertise and desperate dives the pressure mounted and mounted on South Africa.Until they inevitably succumbed.
Here against Sri Lanka if they can uphold the same loft standards they can be a factor.
4,Bat Kane Williamson at 3
The Kiwis have been batting Jesse Ryder at three which has been ok,but he is very much a one dimensional player.In regards to he is a hitter and rarely runs the quick singles.So if he’s hitting successfully the Team is going great,but if he’s tied down the scoring stagnates.It would be wise to have Williamson bat at three and Ryder at 5 behind Taylor.For Williamson is an old style batsman in the busy accumulating style of getting quick singles and turning over the strike.Then classy enough to put away the bad balls.He would be in perfect partnership with the Kiwi openers for if they were on the attack he could give them the strike.Or if their bogged down he could keep the scoreboard ticking with quick singles.
It be a very wise move for the New Zealanders to have this precocious young batsman bat at 3.
Sri Lanka should and will win easily