Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Toss proved vital

image courtesy

Once Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to bat, the result was a foregone conclusion. What made it a miserable semifinal was the inability of the Kiwis to challenge the Lankans and the resigned look on Stephen Fleming’s face after the spin of the coin.

New Zealand almost accepted defeat once Lanka made first use of the wicket. The last 15 overs were gift wrapped for the Islanders to run amok with. The body language of the Kiwis left a lot to be desired. The medium pacers lacked the fire-and-air speed on a slow wicket. The Shane Bond phenomenon was brutally exposed. A bowler is expected to have his off days at the office but that Bond failed to fire on D-day put Fleming's plan in disarray. A team cannot afford to go into a crunch game with one strike bowler.

Mahela Jayawardene's knock was an education, and proved yet again that one need not resort to the power game to be successful in the shorter version. He took his time in building his innings and nearly took 40 balls to reach double figures but thereafter paced his innings brilliantly to make up for lost time. He led from the front and the team took pace along with him. What stood out in the innings was his placement and timing. Sanath Jayasuriya's failure was made up by Upul Tharanga who was due for a big one against a strong side. Once the duo of Tharanga and Mahela helped the total go past the 250-run mark the result was hardly in doubt.

With nearly a run to be taken of every ball, the Kiwis needed a strong start but they were hardly given the luxury to free their arms against some tight and imaginative bowling by Malinga and Vaas.

With a steeply increasing asking rate to contend with, the top-order had its task cut out, but Muralitharan coming in after the initial overs had plugged the run flow. It was always going to be a tough ask and the questions he posed was too much for the middle order. The win will give a lot of confidence to the Lankans going in to the final where if they have the luck with the coin, who knows there could be title No. 2 waiting for them.

For many followers, the real final might be today, where the top two sides in the world lock horns. Australia will definitely start as favourites. South Africa, on the other hand, would love to shed off the 'choker' tag. If the Proteas can restrict the Australians to a sub-300 total, we have a great match on our hands.


Indyank said...

Lankan lions roar - Jayawardene leads from the front.


Anonymous said...

Aussies, Be Aware. Be Very Aware.
When It Comes To FINALs, Sri Lankans Will Roar Into the Game.

If You Have Forgotten Check This Out :

Sri Lankans Play Real Cricket. Real Cricket Which Attracts Real Cricket Fans.
Remember Those Two Matches Against England and South Africa. That's Real Cricket.

Sri Lanka Will Win This World Cup..!!

Sri Lankan Lions Will Roar in the World Cup 2007.

Himanshu said...

Hey Krish ...This is an excellent blog !!!

Himanshu said...

Excellent Blog for Cricket Lovers

karthi said...

Black caps may have laong batting lineup... but againt some one like murali who can spin the ball in cement si pretty difficult