KARACHI: The 2010 ICC World Twenty20 has come down to its final three matches and setting off the tone for the knock-out round will be last year’s losing finalists Sri Lanka and surprise, but worthy, entrants England.
Form favours England who scraped through to the Super Eight without winning either of their group matches. Sri Lanka, too, did not fare much better as after being beaten by New Zealand in the tournament- opener, they edged past Zimbabwe.
England demolishing opposition
England have been demolishing opposition and plan on carrying that trend in the semi-final. The return of Kevin Pietersen to the line-up after the birth of his son will boost the squad that has already seen Eoin Morgan slaughter the opposition with utmost ease. England will also be pleased to see Graeme Swann featuring highly in the top wicket-takers in the World Twenty20 with three spinners featuring in the top eight.
Swann has taken eight wickets so far, at an average just above 13, and hopes to play an important part in taking England through Tim Bresnan has put the rest of the cricket world on notice to expect something “more special” from him as England go in search of their first major trophy. And he insists England are unconcerned by who they now come up against at the World Twenty20 - even an inform Australia - after reaching the last four in the Caribbean. “We’re not finished yet,” said Bresnan.
“We don’t want to be the team that gets to the semis and says ‘that’s a pretty good effort’. We’ve actually come to win this thing. If you keep winning, you get on a roll and it’s difficult to stop. If we keep playing the brand of cricket we can play, it doesn’t really matter who we play against. We’ll do our homework before, put our plans in place; we’ll have respect for the opposition but we won’t be scared of anyone.”
Jayawardene remains the key for
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka feature the tournament’s top-scorer Mahela Jayawardene. Promoted following his antics in the IPL, Jayawardene blasted 81, 101 and 98 in his first three matches but has failed in the last two, much to his team’s detriment. However, the work put in by the batsmen has not been aptly reflected by the bowlers with their highest wicket-taker, Lasith Malinga, managing only five wickets in as many matches. Captain Kumar Sangakkara was all praise for the underfire Tillekaratne Dilshan who revived the Sri Lankan innings following Jayawardene’s early departure.
“You never want to lose guys early, especially Mahela, who is in top form,” said Sangakkara. “But Dilshan got the momentum back for us and we talk about how capable our younger players are and they have shown how they can handle the pressure. “Mathews and Kapugedera are going to be around for a long time.”
Published in the Express Tribune, May 13th, 2010.
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