May 13, 2010

ICC World T20 - Semi Finals Preview

Alas, the semi-finals are here. Australia, England, Pakistan and Sri Lanka the final four surviving teams. Here on, the loser doesn't get another shot at the title. No more depending on results from other games. Every man for himself, rather every team must now win. The line-up suggests Sri Lanka take on England in the first of the two semi-finals and "defending champs", Pakistan face off against Australia in the other encounter.

 England Vs Sri Lanka

    Poms have looked very strong and only bad weather has resulted their only loss in this tournament. Form of KP, finishers in Morgan & Wright, seamers, spinners they have had it all. If there was a run the Poms ever dreamed of it would not be better than this. Facing Lnaka will be a sigh of relief for them. They need to crack the top-order early and apply pressure on the inexperienced and naive Sri Lankan line-up. Malinga-Mendis will have to be negotiated. Should play Mendis positively and as late as possible. With the Ashes still a while from now, we could have a T20 treat if the two teams Aus and Eng make it through. England clearly have the upper-hand in this encounter.

   Lankans have fought hard and made it to the semi-finals once again. The semis being played in St. Lucia will give them some high. But, they are still struggling with Jayasurya's form with the bat. Batting still depends on Sangakkara, Dilshan and Jayawardene. They have dont well till now(not all at once) and would like to carry on for two more games. Malinga was been used by S'kkara in one over spells against India. Not sure if that is effective enough. Sure he got the breakthrus but, as a batsmen if Malinga goes off after bowling 6 balls I'm more than relieved. King Kumar might have to think on those terms. Mendis most likely to play against the Poms, as they haven't seen much of him. As always the islanders should give a tough fight to any opposition and on their day triumph.

Australia Vs Pakistan

   Ozzies clearly ahead of the rest as far as form is concerned. Coming into the semis crushing every opponent by huge margins, Aussies would like to continue the juggernaut. Already faced Pakistan once in the competition, the Aussies were cruising at 10 r.p.o. until the last over where Aamir bowled the WWWW0W  over. Nevertheless, Aus had a huge total and pushed aside any hope from the Pakis of an upset victory. The Aussie bowling attack probably the most feared at the moment. Dirty Dirk + Sloon + Itchy Mitch + Twatto and spin from SPD Smith, Pup and DJ. Batting looks top notch as well, even White Bear and Mr. Cricket have bailed out the team when Twatto, Warner, Pup, DJ miss the bullet. Champion stuff!

   But, Aus will not take the defending champs lightly. No team will take Pakistan on basis of current form. They are one unpredictable side and lift their game when one least expects them to. Boom Boom Afridi the capt. in charge, leads the team on his own terms and conditions. He will take any steps that are required to win a game (read "even take a bite"). Batting however hasn't been their strength of late. Looks brittle, but with the Akmal bros., Butt, Misbah, Boom Boom, Hafeez, Razzaq  there is some depth. Bowling has been the key, Ajmal Aamir leading the attack, Hafeez, Boom Boom and Razzaq/anyone who can roll his arm. But like Deccan Chargers did in IPL3 the defending champs mite just bite the dust in the semis. Or will they?

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