As the super eight stage moves to a conclusion, there are some mouth watering games on hand like the New Zealand - West Indies game, and the Sri Lanka - England game. Sri Lanka, with their massive win over West Indies, have pretty much qualified for the semi finals.
Of course, the fact that their first game against New Zealand was tied and had to be decided in the super over does not help their net run rate, and that’s why the win over West Indies by the margin that they did is going to be a big factor. For England too the win over New Zealand will serve them well, if they lose the last game of this stage to the hosts and the Kiwis beat the West Indies.
That will leave three teams tied with one win each in the second position and the net run rate will come into play. England will know by the time they step onto the field for their game against the Lankans what they need to do. If the West Indies have won, then they need to beat the hosts and by a goodly margin too.
Of course, when teams step onto the field these calculations are set aside as they first look to gain the advantage and then press on for a win. Apart from the hiccup against India, the defending champs have looked good with a fine combination of pace and spin and a batting line up that is fresh and exciting.
A little bit of experience in the form of Ian Bell or even Alastair Cook would have helped and made the unit even stronger for both these players are no slouches with the bat, and in the field Ian Bell is one of the quicker fielders in the world. The England fielding is top class and the effort level has been terrific.
Having seen the manner in which they tackled spin against India, Jayawardene will certainly pick two regular spinners to try and create the doubts again. Ajantha Mendis has been bowling well and Herath has given England trouble earlier this year in Test matches.
It is the New Zealand - West Indies match that looks intriguing. Chris Gayle’s rare failure may actually have shown a way to the world’s bowlers where to bowl to him. The practice in this format of the game for batsmen is to plonk the front foot away from the stumps and clear the way for a whole hearted swing of the arms to hit the ball as far as possible.
In doing so however if the ball is wide the batsman has to reach out for it as Gayle had to, and a slower delivery will mean that the timing goes off. Of course, it won’t work every time, but it is worth a try when the Jamaican is going great guns.
New Zealand’s bowling has not been its high point, but Franklin has been the go to man with both bat and ball for Ross Taylor, the Kiwi skipper. Taylor himself is not doing any good for his team by batting low down the order. He can be such a terrific hitter of the ball, but he needs to believe himself that he can do it.
If Sunday was billed as super then Monday won’t be too far behind with teams getting their last chance for a spot in the semis.
Professional Management Group