India-Sri Lanka match would have been worthy final

Last Updated: Thu, Jun 20, 2013 05:09 hrs

Going by the form book, it’s rather unfortunate that the group results pitted India against Sri Lanka in the semifinal as it would have been a worthy final. These two are the competition’s two most in-form sides and are pretty evenly matched in all departments.

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They both possess great batting strength, rely on spin and have some decent fast bowlers in their ranks. I imagine they are both very comfortable playing against each other as they are each familiar with the other’s strengths and weaknesses. India have played well in every game while Sri Lanka seem to have come good at the right time, so it’s really hard to predict a winner.

Another notable trait they have in common is their consistency in this format since contesting the World Cup final two years ago. Sri Lanka, in particular, always get themselves in the reckoning when it comes to the big tournaments. They have a very good nucleus of talented players and, to their credit, always seem to have their best players available at all times.

India too are a team with great depth as they have so strongly shown on this UK trip. These are two teams that have traditionally been very strong in sub-continent conditions but have struggled a bit overseas. However, given that conditions have been unusual by English standards with pitches being fairly dry, both India and Sri Lanka have felt right at home.

India’s top-order of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma have been enjoying such a purple patch that you could argue the middle-order hasn’t really been tested so far. That said, they will still be reassured by the fact that they have good depth to their batting.

India have unearthed some fine youngsters to replace the old guard but Sri Lanka are hardly lagging behind in this regard. It’s a shame we haven’t quite seen the best of 22-year-old Kusal Perera in this tournament. He served notice of his talent in Australia earlier this year on a couple of occasions, and if you didn’t know better, you’d really think you were watching Sanath Jayasuriya.      

Sri Lanka might hold the slight edge in the bowling department, thanks mainly to Lasith Malinga, but at this stage where it’s do or die, the team that is better able to execute their plans under pressure will prevail.

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