Cricket T20 World Cup: Super Eight Big League Starts Today!
The Super Eight stage matches of the ICC World Cup T20 2012 in Sri Lanka start today with the big one coming between hosts Sri Lanka and spirited New Zealand in Pallekele. In the last match of the group league on 25th September buoyant Pakistan beat a fighting Bangladesh by 8 wickets. Bangladesh fought very hard trying to win by more than 36 runs which would have taken them into the Super Eight stage.
There is hardly much to choose between the two teams. While Sri Lanka would be looking for the home advantage with their specialized slow bowling that suffocates opposition on various occasions New Zealand is set to benefit too as they played their two matches here in Pallekele where they crushed Bangladesh and ran Pakistan to the wire in the second. Sri Lanka on their journey to the Super Eight bulldozed Zimbabwe in the first match of the tournament and then lost to South Africa in a ridiculous 7-over encounter.
The biggest plus for Sri Lanka would be the return of the magical spinner Ajantha Mendis who had the tournament best bowling figure of 6 wickets for 8 runs against Zimbabwe and was not fit for the South Africa match. If the out-of-form Dilshan delivers along with Mahela and Sangakkara in batting and if Malinga gets his ferocity back Sri Lanka looks formidable. With Brendon McCullum firing again if New Zealand can overpower their batting inconsistency they look formidable too. In fact, the Kiwis have won five out of the 9 T20 international encounters against Sri Lanka and won both matches played in Sri Lanka. In all, a tremendous prospect to look forward to today.
The second encounter tonight defending champions England will take on West Indies in Pallekele. While England would be smarting from their crushing defeat against India in the group league the West Indies team has not really been tested so far in the tournament. A surprise package this that could very well be a thriller or a hopelessly one-sided encounter.
|AB De Villiers|
And, tomorrow in Colombo there are two mouth-watering encounters coming up. The daytime match will be played between South Africa and Pakistan at 3.30pm Indian time.
The day-and-night blockbuster will be between India and Australia at 7.30pm. All these four top teams have won all their group matches and are the toughest unbeaten rivals. While Pakistan must get on with their current super cricket show South Africa looks the most consistent with incisively intense bowling and power packed batting. Indian skipper Dhoni must set his priorities right and field the best team possible for the day. Australia who never made it good in T20 World Cup so far has everything to gain from their powerhouse cricket. Meanwhile India climbed up to the third position in Reliance ICC T20 rankings thanks to their thumping victory over England. South Africa in No.1 and Champions England slips a position to second spot.
When rivals of super class clash with each other it no longer matters what format of the game they are playing in. It is only cricket that triumphs all the way. Enjoy!