England and Pakistan have qualified to play in the semi final round, while Australia who lead group “F” by a big margin are almost certain to qualify. Sri Lanka and India are fighting to stay in contention, hence today’s encounter between the Asian giants can be considered as a quarter final.
Beausejour Stadium, Gros Islet at St Lucia is an oasis for bounce – weary teams; hence India and Sri Lanka will battle it out on conditions familiar to them. The conventional wisdom about the venue for today’s game is as follows.
1) The pitch is slow
2) The outfield is slower
3) It is a big ground, boundaries aren’t going to be easy to come by
4) Spin should dominate.
Both India and Sri Lanka are so determined, one wonders if the above, wisdom of the conditions will be thrown out of the window.
Both teams are evenly matched. Sri Lanka will hope that their batting comes good, if they click, India will have a challenge in their hands taking into consideration that they need to beat their opponents by 20 runs or win the game in 18.3 overs.
Mahela Jayewardene is the leading run scorer in the tournament by a big margin. His only failure was against Australia. Sangakkara found touch against the Caribbean’s scoring 68 runs from 49 balls. Dilshan looked good for his 20 against Australia; hence there is a window opening for him to open the innings with Mahela. Sri Lanka has the fire power in the batting arena. Mathews, Kapugedera and Dinesh Chandimal are very capable of upsetting the Indian plans. Jayasuriya has always been a thorn in the flesh for the Indians. It will be very interesting to see what role he will play in this game. Sri Lanka has a better bowling unit than their opponents, but they will have to be spot on, bowling to a strong Indian batting line up.
India has World class batsmen capable of scoring big runs against any opposition. They have an additional advantage at this venue. They know how this ground well since they have played three games at this venue already.
Suresh Raina made a century against the Proteas in their group encounter. The rest of the batting is very strong. Gautam Gambhir, Murali Vijay, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni, Yusuf Pathan and Rohit Sharma are very good players.
Sri Lanka has a better bowling option. Lasith Malinga is yet to fire, Mathews has done a decent job with the new ball. Suraj Randiv who replaced spin king Muralitharan looks a good prospect, Ajantha Mendis is due for a good spell as well.
India has Harbhajan Singh, he is a World class spinner, Ashish Nehra, and Zaheer Khan have been effective when it matters.
Today it is a do or die battle between the two teams.