Sri Lanka Vs Canada
Starting time: 14:30 pm IST
Noticing Sri Lanka's World Cup opening match against Canada, anyone would say there is not much of contest there. And they are probably right. After all, the last time these two sides met, Sri Lanka gave the Canadians a thorough hiding, bowling them out for a mere 36 in their World Cup 2003 league-stage encounter at Paarl, in South Africa and then reaching the the target without any problems. But since then, Canada has improved its cricket a fair bit.
And in the warm-up round of matches, the team from the Americas showed that it has hit a crescendo. Indeed, it came back from a 9 wicket drubbing (with over 30 overs to spare) by Bangladesh to stretch England in a very close encounter, losing it by all of 16 runs when the margin threatened to be nearly 200 runs at one point. The tenacity and defiance of vice captain Rizwan Cheema, who clobbered 93 from a mere 70 balls made the English sweat big time.
And it was not just the Canadians' batting that had the English in a spot. Khuram Chohan exuded all the hostility of a strike bowler when he rattled the English top-order earlier in the same match, picking up three prize wickets. And then later, with Cheema, he nearly took the match away from England when he hit a defiant 44. Middle-order batsman Zubin Surkari has also proved that he can play a useful role in dire situations with his 26 and 22.
So Canada has a lot going for them. But that shouldn't faze Lanka who are just reeking with confidence going into the global tournament. After simply annihilating the Dutch, they overcame a spirited showing from the Windies to win that encounter as well. Several of their batsmen appear to be in devasting knick with captain Kumar Sangakkara avergaing 71 in the warm-ups, Tillakaratne Dilshan, 70, Samaraweera, nearly 60 and the two Chamaras (Silva and Kulasekara) averaging over 50.
So Sri Lanka certainly look well and truly the favourites for Sunday's match. One will have to see if the Canadians succeed in at least unsettling them and making life just that little difficult.
Sri Lanka Vs Canada