I’m sure everyone was watching today, but it’s great to see Sri Lanka through to the Cricket World Cup Final again – here’s hoping it’s a different result to 2007!
Despite the nerves that crept in today, there seems to be a real confidence in the way the team are playing. Yet again the bowlers strangled the opposition, the fielding was tight, and the top order batsmen all got in and looked confident. Though he got out to a great catch, Tharanga seems to be in as good form as he’s ever been. And together with Dilshan and Sangakarra, the three have been the most prolific top order in the tournament. Their only misstep today was losing their wickets at a crucial period in the game.
Samaraweera and Silva seem to be the only two in the team not firing – it’s not as if they’ve let the side down, as they’ve rarely been needed in the tournament, but it’s obvious the two seem a bit out of touch – singles and boundaries both seemed hard to come by. But then Samaraweera has bags of experience and a cool temparament, and there’s no obvious replacement for Silva. Their frailties are all the more nerve-wracking given the length of our tail; Kulasekera, who might come in to the side given our subcontinental opponent’s confidence against spinners, would provide some batting stability. Plaudits again for Mathews, whose late on boundaries really assured the victory, and who is becoming such a crucial part of the team. Hope he’s fit for the final! And obviously I must mention Murali – much like his remarkable exit from Test cricket, a world cup final will be a fitting send off for the greatest servant of the Sri Lankan game.
In any case, at least today gave us some experience of overcoming tense situations, as there will be plenty of nerves for the final and we haven’t really been troubled in the last few weeks. Barring a spell against Pakistan, we’ve looked like the team of the tournament and would be deserved winners in the eyes of many neutrals.
There is of course another reason we have to win the final, because if recent facebook statuses are anything to go by – the Indians and Pakistanis aren’t gonna shut up about it if they win!