Lanka, WI look to brighten semis prospects
After notching up contrasting wins in their opening Super Eight games, a stern test awaits the West Indies and Sri Lanka as they look to strengthen their semifinal chances in their Group 1 match of the ICC World Twenty20 on Saturday.
West Indies edged out defending champions England by 15 runs in an exciting finish, while Sri Lanka won in dramatic fashion after a 'Super Over' was required to settle the clash with New Zealand last night.
Both Sri Lanka and West Indies are known to raise the bar when it comes to performing at big-ticket ICC events and it would be interesting to see which of the two teams manages to go a notch higher in the battle on Saturday. Both the sides know the conditions well but the Islanders could bank heavily on the home advantage. The hosts need to quickly sort out their bowling woes if they fancy their chances of advancing to the semifinals of the tournament as the New Zealand batsmen took their pace and spin attack to cleaners. The form of Lasith Malinga, who has been very expensive in the competition so far, still remains a concern for Lanka. The hosts would hope that Malinga gets his act together against the West Indies and is well supported by the likes of Nuwan Kulasekara and Angelo Mathews. Mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis' return has also boosted the team and though he was off-colour against New Zealand, leaking 48 runs from his four overs taking just one wicket, the Lankan skipper would still be depending on him to deliver the goods on the slow Pallekele strip.
The return to form of opener Tillakaratne Dilshan also augurs well for the Lankan batting line-up as he single-handedly anchored the run-chase against New Zealand with his 53-ball 76. Captain Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara would again be expected to deliver the goods with the bat. Their lower middle-order also has enough fire power with the likes of Mathews, Lahiru Thirimanne and Jeevan Mendis in the ranks.