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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Preview:1st Semi-Final - Sri Lanka favourites against jubilant Kiwis

Beating lion in his own den is not a easy task. Sri Lanka is lion and very difficult team to beat at home. England lost convincingly other night. Will Kiwis beat the  the mighty Lankans in Colombo today? Majority of the people will find the answer simple and that is 'No'. Kiwis can't beat Lankans in Colombo because they never won in Sri Lanka since 2003. But Kiwis are the same team which knocked out tournament favourites from the tournament other night at Mirpur and based on that performance Kiwis cannot be written-off easily. Also cricket is great game of uncertainties and nobody can predict its outcome.

I believe this Kiwi team has found the much needed momentum in last match against South Africa and now this team has certainly become dangerous. They are playing as a unit and their bowling has been improved tremendously under the supervision of legendary  South African fast bowler Allan Donald. Taylor, Guptill, Ryder, Williamson, McCullum, all are among the runs and batting looks far more formidable, thanks to the efforts put in by ex-India coach John Wright who is their current coach. Wright has just put in oxygen in this down and out Kiwi team and awakened the hunger to excel. Southee is their most successful bowler in this tournament with 15 wickets from 7 games and lot of Kiwi hopes depends on his bowling.
I think Kiwis are putting emphasis on basics and keeping things simple. They have simple plan which was visible against Proteas and that was just to keep attacking and piling up the pressure and they going in with the same plan against Lankans as well. I think if Kiwis beat Lankans then that won't be a surprise, however, road to the finals for Kiwis is difficult but not impossible. Daniel Vettori and his men are upbeat and confident after their victory over Proteas. But they have to play Lankan spinners well and have to attack them from the very beginning. If Muraltharan don't play due to injury than that will make Kiwi job bit easy but yet they have to face Malinga, Mendis, Herath alongwith Angelo Mathews. I believe, Kiwis play to their potential and put in little more effort than they can easily beat Lanka and make it to the finals.

As far as Lankans are concerned, they are tournament favourites and have all the ingredients to go into the finals. Conditions. pitch and home crowd are all in their favour and Premdasa Stadium is their fort where Lankans can't be defeated easily. Lankans have the team which suits to the conditions and they are heavily loaded with the spin which is the weakness of their opposition. Lankan opening pair is leading the charts in terms of opening stand in the tournament. Both Tharanga and Dilshan are in superb from and batsmen following them in Sangakkara and Jayawardene are deadly customers. They have superb allrounder in Angelo Mathews who can turn the match with the bat as well. 
Lanka bowling is by far the best in the tournament. They possess lethal weapon in Lasith Malinga who is dangerous with new as well as old ball. His toe crushers are nightmare for the batsmen. He has the great variation in his bowling and his unique action itself pose lot of problems to the batsmen. Although Lankans will suffer little bit if their master spinner Muralitharan miss this game due to injury. Lankans although have the fire power to dismiss the opposition and if Lankans beat Kiwis, then they will reach the World Cup finals for the 3rd time.

Good contest in prospect as Kiwis found some momentum and looking keen to reach finals this time after missing it for 5 times and Lankans will be determine to reach finals for the 3rd time.

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