World Cup is back in subcontinent with its old format of knock out stages after 15 years. It was 1996 when this similar combination of hosts and format first appeared and in that Srilanka emerged as champions. Same stage is set once again for them to repeat the feat.
Unlike 1996 , this time they have started the tournament as the favorites to win the coveted title. They have some great skilled players who can lift them from any situations. They are also having a home advantage where they never lost a match in world cup except from Pakistan few days back.
In last world cup, Srilanka lost in final from Australia. Four years brings lots of changes in their side. They faced terror attack in Lahore in 2009. But they lifted themselves wonderfully to the world's most consistent performers overs the couple of years.
They had some issues with their final squad. People back home want Vass and Jayasurya in team but their selectors had done a commendable job by preferring current form rather than stats and reputation.
They had a good series against West Indies at home just before the world cup. They have some top batsman in their batting line including Sangakara ,Mahela and Dilashan. They also have slinga Malinga who is arguably the fiercest bowler in today's world. And of cource Murlitharan, best off spinner we have ever seen.
They started well in the tournament with comfortable victories against minnows Canada and Kenya. They lost their way in between against Pakistan. But Overall they seems to be a good unit capable of winning. Their actual strength test will come up in quarters.
They are very good in home. Unlike India they have few grounds which mean every player is well acclimatized with pitch and conditions. Their batsmen and bowlers have tremendous records in subcontinent which will certainly help them out in the tournament.
Their bowling line up seems very good in the presence of Malinga and Murlitharan. Malinga has already taken a Hatrick in his very first match of the tournament Mendis’s carrom ball is still a mystery for many teams. Their Batting lineup is the best in world after India. Dilshan, Sangakara, Samarveera, Mahela and Tharanga are best in their business.
Their Captain Sangakara is in great form which could act as a motivating factor for them and may lift them in difficult time.
They do not have regular fast bowler with Malinga if they persist with their three spinners strategy which could take the pressure away from the opposition. Kulasekara had done well in absence of Malinga but was not among the wickets. Murlitharan was economical but certainly lacking some wickets in his kitty.
Their batting revolves around Sangakara and Mahela. If one of them fails to deliver , automatically pressure builds on the other. Lower middle order haven’t came good against Pakistan. Dilshan is also not finding this tournament as his best one.
They may face England in the quarters which could be the easy task for them to go through. They look like as one of the finalist to me.
My Suggestions for Oppositon:
Beware of Malinga’s Yorker as rest bowlers can be dealt easily. Work out weaknesses against Mahela and Sangakara.
Next discussion will be on India.
Till then ….enjoy