Monday, March 28, 2011

Sri Lanka Vs New Zealand – 1st Semi Final, Match Preview

Sri Lanka Vs New Zealand – 1st Semi Final of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011

The first semi final of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 is upon us. It is a repeat of the 2007 edition when Sri Lanka beat New Zealand comfortably riding on a century by the then Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene and 4 wickets from the spin master Muttiah Murlitharan.

New Zealand batting has been firing in patches and one can say that all their batsmen Brendon Mc Cullum, Jesse Ryder, Martin Guptill and Ross Taylor have had decent hits in the middle. The middle order of Scot Styris, Jacob Oram and Kane Williamson played well in the last match Vs South Africa. Their bowling is led by talismanic skipper Daniel Vettori and he will be ably supported by Tim Southee, Nathan Mc Cullum, Jacob Oram and Scot Styris. But it is their fielding which is their strongest suit. Guptill in the game against South Africa was just awesome, he was everywhere… diving, flying, sliding… One of the most brilliant fielding displays of recent times!!!

The Sri Lankans on the other hand have all their top order batsmen in a pink of form with Upul Tharanga, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene all having scored hundreds at some point or the other till now in this World Cup!! Infact the opening combo has two 200 run partnerships in the current tournament, one of them unbeaten!!! The middle order though is a bit of a concern for them as they have not spent enough time in the middle till now. The bowling is led by the eccentric Lasith Malinga and he has for support the old war horse Muttiah Murlitharan. They also have Angelo Matthews, Rangana Herath and Ajantha Mendis who can deceive the Kiwis with their variations. But the fitness of Murli will be an issue. They also dropped a few catches in the last match Vs England.

On paper this may seem like a pretty one sided affair with everything stacked up against the New ZealandersThe pitch, the conditions, the quality of players, the weather, home crowd support…. But it is who plays better cricket for the duration of 100 overs, soaks up the pressure well and remains calm under tough circumstances will come out trumps.

Key Battles to look out for in the match between Sri Lanka Vs New Zealand, 29th March - R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo, Sri Lanka

1. Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene Vs Daniel Vettori, Nathan Mc Cullum

2. Lasith Malinga Vs Brendon Mc Cullum, Jesse Ryder, Ross Taylor

3. Muttiah Murlitharan, Ajantha Mendis, Rangana Herath Vs Kiwi Middle-Lower Order

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