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Lankans confident, but Aussies will be tough

Another exciting clash is on the cards in the ICC World Cup Twenty20 when Sri Lanka meet Australia in a Group C match today at Trent Bridge in Nottingham.

Before the Sri Lanka-Australia game, Bangladesh will play Ireland at 13.30 BST which is (6 p.m.Sl time). The Sri Lanka-Australia game will be at 17.30 BST - which (7 p.m.SL time).

Group C is probably the most tough group which finds Sri Lanka, Australia and West Indies and a team needs at least one win to move to the super eight. It is not easy to predict as all teams are evenly matched.

However it will be the teams playing the correct cricket, keeping their nerve and taking advantage and capitalising on the opportunities who will move on. My money is on Sri Lanka and Australia to go ahead. But at the same time I am not discounting the upsetting abilities of the men from the Caribbean.

England were tipped to roll over the Dutchmen in the opening game, but got the shock of their lives when the Dutchmen won on the final ball. From here onwards no team is going to be complacent, because in a game like the Twenty20 miracles are possible.

The Sri Lankans had mixed fortunes in the warm-up games beating Bangladesh in a close game and then capitulating to the South Africans.

But warm-ups are no big deal and how one performs in the real thing is what matters.

At the time of writing the Lankans havenít named their playing eleven.Ditto with Australia.

An opening win is essential and the Lankans would not want to experiment but have their best shooters out to target the kangaroos.

Like captain Kumar Sangakkara said the Lankans have beaten these teams in other forms of the game and there is no reason why it should not be similar this time round.

A lot will depend on openers Tillekeratne Dilshan and Sanath Jayasuriya to find form and show the way with a start that should paralyse the Aussies. This is the start that they need and would be hoping that it would materialise.

It is then for batsmen with the flair for this style of game Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardena, Indika de Saram, Jehan Mubarak who would be playing in the absence of Chamara Kapugedera and Faveez Maharoof to consolidate.

A close analysis would show that the batting is weak.

The Lankans, knowing the Aussie batsmen weakness against spin will go in with an all spin attack of Muttiah Muralidaran, Ajantha Mendis, Dilshan and Jayasuriya. They could go in wth one paceman in Lasith Malinga with Maharoof for support. It will thus be seen that the team is strong in bowing.

Malinga will be the bowler the Aussie bsatsmen will fear most. If he can find line and length, then with his toe and ankle crushing yorkers, and a well disguised bouncer could have the Aussie batsmen ducking and jumping for dear life.

It will also be interesting to watch how Sangakkara will go in his first outing as skipper.

He has the experience and a shrewd cricketing brain and as his captaincy begins to grow and progress, he has what it takes to join the illustrious captains that the country has produced.

Australia have a devastating batsmen and explosive fast men. David Warner and Michael Clarke or Shane Watson should strike first for the kangaroos with skipper Ricky Ponting, the Hussey brothers Michael and David, Brad Haddin and James Hopes to add muscle to the total.

Magic Johnson and the now fully recovered Brett Ďlethalí Lee with their dangerous pace and swing and the economical Nathan Bracken will target the Lankan batsmen, with Shane Watson, and another paceman or a spinner depending on how the Aussie selectors will go.

They will certainly miss the destructive alround ability of the temperamental allrounder Andrew Symonds. A drinking charge had been slapped on him and he has been sent home and could mean the end of the road for this alrounder who was more than a treat when he was performing..

The Trent Bridge wicket has the knack of being spin friendly with pace and bounce and with both teams being aware of this a blockbuster of a game is expected which should have supporters of both teams yelling their throats out

Not wanting to be accused of being unpatriotic, I would not want to hazard a guess on the outcome, but I would be delighted for a Lankan victory.

Trent Bridge, Nottingham, Sunday



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