Saturday, March 26, 2016

England Look to Seal Semi Final Berth, Sri Lanka to Stay Alive at Kotla

England Vs Sri Lanka – Feroz Shah Kotla, New Delhi 26th March 2016 - ICC WT20 Match Preview

Another knock-out game stares at us in this ICC WT20 2016. After South Africa stuttered and stumbled against the West Indies at Nagpur yesterday to lose by 3 wickets, all England need now is a win against Sri Lanka to go through to the Semi Finals without any drama. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, need to beat England to stay alive and then hope that they either defeat South Africa to storm in the Semi Finals or lose by a small margin to them to ensure a higher net run rate as compared to the Proteas!

Sri Lanka would be confident of rattling the English team on a Kotla track which is known for its slow and low nature and especially after watching how the England batting line up was brought to its knees by a spirited Afghani spin attack. Sri Lanka would rely heavily on the wily old fox Herath and the young leg spinning wizard Vandersay and would also likely bring in the off-spinner Senanayake on this track.

How the Lankan batsmen deal with spin though might decide if they can beat the English as this is probably the first time that England have two quality spin bowlers amongst their ranks. Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali have combined well in this ICC WT20 2016 so far, strangulating opposition batsmen in the middle overs while also picking up wickets thus pegging them further back.

Dilshan and Mathews hold the key as far as the Lankan batting is concerned as their young batsmen, Chandimal and Thirimanne have struggled to even get the ball off the square. Kapugedera, forever an enigma for the Lankan fans and officials alike might be on his final few chances as well as he has not made the most of his latest comeback. The bright point is the sensible batting of hard hitting all-rounder Thisara Perera and the Lankans will bank on him to provide a few lusty blows down the order.

Alex Hales is expected to be back for the English after he missed out on the last game with a bad back, James Vince most likely to sit out. Joe Root is a classy player of spin bowling and he will need to share the bulk of the load if England is to wade through the Lankan spinners with success. Buttler and Stokes remain a potent threat lower down and cannot be taken lightly at all.

The game promises to be a close affair especially given how the pitches have behaved in this tournament so far. I’m expecting another surface which is slow and where the ball will keep low and the shot making will be difficult. It will be a mouth watering clash between two past WT20 champion teams and one that I am eagerly awaiting for!!

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