Monday, March 17, 2014

Review of Group 1 for WT20 2014 – Part 2, South Africa and Sri Lanka

The teams that make up the Group 1 – England, New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Qualifier B1

  • South Africa

They are the perennial under achievers in the global tournaments. They have the ability to waltz through to the knock stages only to blow the fuse when the silverware is in sight. The past must haunt this team as they begin their sojourn to complete the jigsaw puzzle, to win an ICC major event, to shake off the chokers tag bestowed on them.

The baby faced Quinton de Kock packs a punch and provides an attacking option for the Proteas right at the top. Complementing him is the serene Hashim Amla who can play the anchor role on the Bangladeshi pitches so that others can relentlessly attack around him. AB de Villiers is one of the most complete batsmen going around at the moment and he will need to be at his best. He can manipulate the field at will and once he gets going there is practically no stopping him. Faf du Plessis, JP Duminy and David Miller are all capable of upping the ante and their services will be called upon to close out the innings.

Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel both sat out of the recent T20 series against Australia due to injuries but they are expected to be back. One out of Wayne Parnell and Lonwabo Tsotsobe will provide the left arm variation. Imran Tahir will lead the spin attack and though he can run through teams but he can be highly generous with his economy rates on most occasions. JP Duminy will provide back up for him.

They will face stiff opposition from both New Zealand and the Sri Lankans in their quest to making the knock out stage. They have the fiendish ability to stutter, stumble and collapse like a drunken man out on a wild night. Will they be able to overcome the recent poor form and the history of their glorified shortcomings or will they choke again?

Team Rating – 7/10
  • Sri Lanka

The Lankans are the epitome of consistency but how their fans must hate them for that. Finalists of the 50 Over ICC World Cups in 2007 and 2011, finalists of the ICC WT20 in 2009 and 2012, but nothing to show for in the trophy cabinet. They suffer from the finals hoodoo and the spell was recently broken when they won the Asia Cup and returned home to endearing fans lined up in the streets welcoming them. The Sri Lankan boards is one of the most demonic cricketing boards going around, the Lankans players are embroiled in a contracts issue with them even as they prepare to leave their country to arrive in Bangladesh.

Dilshan, their dynamic opener is nursing a broken thumb and his participation is in doubt. If he fails to recover then I would assume they will open with the experienced Jayawardena with Kusal Janith Perera. Perera is already been talked about as the next Jayasuriya and he does seem to have modeled his batting on that of the now Sri Lankan Chief Selector. Sangakkara is someone who has improved his attacking game by leaps and bounds and he will be a vital cog in their batting line up. They have a slew of all rounders in Thisara Perera, Angelo Mathews, Chaturanga de Silva and Sachithra Senanayake who can all blast bowling attacks to shreds as well as bowl their overs economically. Surprisingly, their captain Chandimal, super talented no doubt from what I have seen of him is woefully out of form.

The bowling is manned by Lasith Malinga whose variations are yet to be deciphered by other teams and he still has the ability to win matches single handedly in a matter of overs. Then there is Ajantha Mendis, the mystery spinner whose tricks are no less obscured but he is still a mighty potent force to reckon with on the Bangladeshi pitches.

I think that the Sri Lankans will once again do well at the WT20 2014. They are the form team having spent close to two months in Bangladesh recently and winning all the games. Can they give their fans a truly memorable moment to celebrate?

Team Rating – 8.5/10

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