Asian giants clash at Lords

Published: Sunday, June 21, 2009, 10:37 [IST]
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The clash of the sub-continental titans

London: Tilakaratne Dilshan and Shahid Afridi are bound to play key roles in the final, when Sri Lanka meet in Pakistan the Twenty20 World cup at the Lords on Sunday.

Pakistan who lost narrowly lost to arch-rivals India in the inaugural edition in South Africa, would be eager to win the hounour in a bid to bring the cricket back to the centre-stage and their country after the recent political turmoil that hit Pakistan recently.

Return of all rounder Shahid Afridi to form just at the right time with a 34-ball 51 in their semifinal against South Africa is also a good news for Pakistan, who would not want to be on the losing side for third time in a World Cup. Pakistan will also depend on Afridi"s leg-spin which turned to be fatal for famed South African batting line up.

For Sri Lanka, Tillakaratne Dilshan will be a massive factor at the top of the order. Dilshan is in terrific form and his innings ( 96*) against West Indies in the semi fianals is considered as one of the classic innings in the T20 history.

Sri Lanka will once again look forward to Dilshan to get a fanatstic start to their innings. However, lack of depth in batting after the first four Dilshan, Jayasuriya, Sangakkara and Jayawardene is still a huge concern for Sri Lanka.

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If any aspect is going to prove Pakistan's downfall, it's their batting department. Apart from Akmal and Younis, no other players were consistent on English tracks which offer somewhat more bounce than they're used to back home.

This is something they'll have to quickly come to terms with against Muttiah Muralitharan and the like and beyond if they hope to eventually adopt England as their 'home' away from war-torn home.

Forecasts predict a day of both sunshine and clouds. Pressures of the chase in a big final suggest that batting would be a better option. But then, there could be some assistance for the pacemen early on.

The Teams:

Sri Lanka (from): K. Sangakkara (captain), S. Jayasuriya, T. Dilshan, M. Jayawardene, C. Silva, J. Mubarak, A. Matthews, I. Udana, M. Muralitharan, A. Mendis, L. Malinga, F. Maharoof, I. De Saram, T. Thushara, N. Kulasekara.

Pakistan (from): Younis Khan (captain), K. Akmal, S. Hasan, S. Afridi, S. Malik, Misbah, A. Razzaq, F. Alam, S. Ajmal, M. Amir, U. Gul, A. Shahzad, S. Tanvir, R. Iftekar, S. Butt.


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