Related Link : World Cup 2007
After more than a month of one sided clashes, the World Cup has come to a pass where things look to go for another formality in the shape of an Aussie win in the final. We can complaint so much about this World Cup such as lack of crowd enthusiasm, spineless competitions, big talks and tame resignations, but at least we cannot challenge the skill and grace of the two teams who reached the final. The way things were unfolding in the past few days situation could have been lot worse. After the South Africa loss to Bangladesh, permutations of West Indies, England and even of Bangladesh to reach Semi-finals looked possible which could be not less than a nightmare for cricket world because if they had been there, we would have had much less competitive Semi-Finals than what we had. We can now safely say that two of the best contenders are in the place to fight for the biggest prize in World cricket.
If you ask anyone today who would lift the cup? Riposte should be simple, one-liner, and quick, Australia. It should be like that. They really do not allow anyone not even to come close and expose the chink in their armor which according to the most is non-existent. Their mantra is to do first things best whatever they do either bowling or batting. If they bat first, they look to scare the hell out of opponents by murderous approach of Hayden and Gilchrist and same they want to do when they bowl first; they go for early wickets and making the new ball count. Sri Lankans need to control that part of innings.
Barbados will provide some assistance to the new ball bowlers in the morning. Ponting will definitely go to bowl first which could easily create a situation similar to Proteas in Semi Finals. If Jayasuriya and Tharanga survive that first half an hour, then Aussies will definitely find themselves in a hole. They never tasted that kind of resistance in any of the matches except against South Africa in group match where if Kallis had carried on the same momentum given to the team by Smith and AB de Villiers, then other teams could have taken a leaf out of their book. In that match, South Africans resisted their game plan with masterful stroke play and we saw the other side of the coin. It does not necessarily mean that Sri Lanka look to attack Aussie new ball bowlers which could be lot more risky earlier in the innings. They just have to remember Gavaskar saying “Give the first hour to the bowlers, and then take all other sessions”.
They have to understand that there is nothing too much behind in the stocks if they survive that opening burst from Aussies. Try and don’t give them early wickets at all. They have the batting that can tackle Symonds, Hogg, Watson and Clarke. If they score around 275 or 300, they have top-notch bowling which can cause the roadblocks and they have shown what they can do if they have a competitive total in the bank. In the second semi-finals, we saw that South Africa scored a dismal 149, but when they came out to bowl with discipline and control they managed to take two early Aussie wickets. If they had scored anywhere 240, then we would have had some other scenario.
They are beatable. They have areas which are needed to be probed. It seems all too silly to you after their thumping performances since 13 March, but it has something to do with the lack of discipline and below par exhibitions of other teams that have turned them into invincible. It is rightly said that loss of one is gain of the other. But things were not as overwhelming as they were made out by characterless show by other teams. Teams have to see them as they see any other team. They carry their reputations in the ground and bank on them. They are winning their battles in the minds which are translating themselves in the ground. Other teams have to break that jinx. May be we would see something similar on 28th April. Try and stretch them to the limits at least for the sake of romanticism.