Thursday, May 13, 2010


World Twenty20 Championship:

1st Semi - Final on 13th May at St. Lucia: England v Sri Lanka
2nd Semi - Final on 14th May at St. Lucia: Australia v Pakistan

World Women's Twenty20 Championship:

1st Semi - Final on 13th May at St. Lucia: Australia Women v India Women
2nd Semi - Final on 14th May at St. Lucia: West Indies Women v New Zealand Women

Preview of ENG v SL:

England are one of the two form teams of the tournament. Before their match against New Zealand, I had a feeling that they were over reliant on their star player Kevin Pietersen. But the way they went about dashing the Kiwi hopes of a semi-final was an eye opener. Rarely has the world seen an English cricket team so clinical and methodic in execution of its plans!

Apart from the limp to a mediocre 120 / 8 against Ireland, the English batting line up has never failed to cross 150, their best being 191 / 5 against West Indies in a match which they lost due to the anamolies of Duckworth Lewis method. Their bowling was untested during the initial group stages as the persistent rains at Guyana meant that their bowlers managed only 8.4 overs in the first 2 matches. However, the most striking feature of their bowling in the Super Eight stage has been the fact that they have managed to pick 25 wickets out of a possible 30. Its hard to imagine that at one stage of the tournament, they were in danger of being knocked out due to one bad batting performance and the numbers of Duckworth Lewis!

Sri Lanka, on the other hand, have had an up and down journey to the semis. They lost their first match - a low scoring thriller against New Zealand lost in the last over. Then they rode on the brilliance of Jayawardene to defeat Zimbabwe and West Indies, the latter in the Super Eight. But then came a very embarassing loss to the Aussies - a loss of 81 runs after being bundled out for 87. Fighting for survival, Sri Lanka then pulled off a last ball win with a six against India just after having knocked them out of the tournament. It was exactly the kind of win they needed to boost their confidence. Such close finishes intill in teams a new belief and a greater momentum. Sri Lanka will try to make the most of it.

The match promises to be an exciting affair. England will have the services of Kevin Pietersen once again... but there will also be a lot of expectations from them, a situation that they are not used to. Most observers believe that England deserve to be in the final... I feel the same - they deserve to be there, but I doubt that they will win the semis. Sri Lanka have a better track record at handling the kind of pressure that a semi-final carries. Mendis, dropped from the game against India, might make a return. Can KP be the talisman that many English sides of the past have longed for?

Preview of AUS Women v IND Women:

I have not followed the Women's version of this tournament as closely as the men's... but I have kept an eye on all the results. Australia has been unbeaten so far. They were lucky to take the 2 points in their opening match against the defending champions England after a tie even in the Super Over (they won on the rule of Sixes Countback). However, they were exemplary in their next match, beating the South Africans by 24 runs - the only blemish being that they couldn't bat out the 20 overs (bowled out with 3 balls to spare). They then went on to defeat the hosts West Indies by 9 runs to determine the group toppers and the chance to play in the 1st semi-finals.

India started disappointingly, losing to the Kiwis by 10 runs. However, they followed it up with demolition jobs over the neighbours - Pakistan and Sri Lanka. For the second time in as many years, this team has outperformed their more fancied male counterparts. In the semi-finals, the key will be to target the fragile, yet combustible, batting line up of the Australians. The Australians have been dismissed twice and have lost 27 wickets out of a possible 30 on their way to the semis.

India, on the other hand, have lost only 12 wickets in the tournament so far and the top order has clicked well. The flip side is that the middle order has had only one below par outing against the Kiwis. Their batters, revolving around Mithali Raj, will have to be wary of the fact that Australians are capable of scoring at a very fast clip. They will be hoping that their bowling partnership of captain Jhulan Goswami and Amita Sharma will take care of that problem.

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