Has all the makings of a cracking contest
by Asher Wilson
DateLine: 22nd September 2012
Sri Lanka vs South Africa
T20 World Cup 2012
The 7th Match of the ICC World T20 2012 has all the makings of a cracking contest when hosts Sri Lanka take on a formidable South African squad at Hambantota in what will be the first of the two games today. Both teams in today's match came out as emphatic victors in their respective tournament openers while minnows, Zimbabwe became the first team to crash out of the event. There is therefore not much to choose between the sides ahead of this marquee Group C clash that will determine who wins the group going into the business end of the competition. Sri Lanka will be banking on home advantage to give them the edge over perennial under-achievers South Africa early in the tournament.
The hosts have made a solid start to the tournament with a comprehensive 82 run win against Zimbabwe and will go into today's game with the right frame of mind. Their batting will once again hinge on the experienced trio of Kumara Sangakkara, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Mahela Jayawardene for this big game and one feels that at least one among these 3 will need to make a big score for Sri Lanka to put adequate pressure on the South African attack. Angelo Matthews will have to play a key finisher role while Lahiru Thirimanne and Jeevan Mendis's support in the lower order would be more than welcome. Young rookie opener Dilshan Munaweera looked decent against Zimbabwe but one expects that Dinesh Chandimal will return to the side at his expense for this game to push Mahela Jayawardene to open the innings with Dilshan.
Although most of the Lankan batsmen looked in good shape and got starts against Zimbabwe. But come today, the scenario will be different as they face a more potent bowling attack which has the capability of dismantling any batting line-up.
The bowling looked sharp too with the likes of Ajantha Mendis getting some much needed form back, thanks to a stupendous bowling spell of 4-0-8-6 against Zimbabwe. All eyes will be on him to see if he replicates that performance and can be the same force against an established champion side while the likes of Lasith Malinga too will give the side the X factor. Nuwan Kulasekara and Thisara Perera will be the other seam bowlers in the setup with Jeevan Mendis and Angelo Matthews playing the all-rounder roles.
Opening their campaign in the tournament yesterday, South Africa first restricted Zimbabwe to 93 for eight courtesy of veteran all-rounder Jacques Kallis who stole the show with the ball for South Africa picking up four wickets for 15 runs, while Morne Morkel (2/16) came up with a lethal opening spell to dismantle the Zimbabweans. The openers Hashim Amla and Richard Levi piled up the runs without breaking into a sweat with 10 wickets in hand which means that the middle order comprising of Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers and JP Duminy will have to be on their toes for this game. Young middle order batsman Farhan Behardien didn't get to prove himself against Zimbabwe so he might well keep his place for this game too. All rounders Albie Morkel and Robin Peterson lend enviable balance to the side that will bat as deep as No.9 with Johan Botha also in the side as the off spinner, who could be used as a floater given his proven batting ability. The feisty pace duo of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel round off the XI that looks as ideally balanced as ever.
With the wickets in Sri Lanka showing a bit of spite of-late, the pace trio of Steyn, Morkel and Kallis could well prove to be a handful in this tournament.
AB de Villiers (c), Hashim Amla, Farhaan Behardien, Johan Botha, JP Duminy, Francois du Plessis, Jacques Kallis, Richard Levi, Albie Morkel, Morne Morkel, Justin Ontong, Wayne Parnell, Robin Peterson, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe.
Mahela Jayawardene (c), Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Shaminda Eranga, Rangana Herath, Nuwan Kulasekara, Lasith Malinga, Ajantha Mendis, Jeevan Mendis, Dilshan Munaweera, Akila Dananjaya, Thisara Perera, Kumar Sangakkara, Lahiru Thirimanne.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
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