Zimbabwe Vs Sri Lanka
Starting time: 2:30 pm IST
Venue: Pallekele, Kandy
Pallekele, March 9: Sri Lanka will go into their match against Zimbabwe on Thursdsay, March 10th as overwhelming favourites to win. The host team needs to revive its winning trend after thrashing Canada and Kenya, losing narrowly to Pakistan and then having their match against Australia washed out.
Now, they will be licking their lips at a ripe opportunity of notching up 2 more points and moving up in the Group A points table. Whereas Zimbabwe, that has managed just one win (that too against Canada) in three matches, are looking down in the dumps.
Sri Lanka have beaten Zimbabwe 38 times overall and lost on just 7 occasions and since May 2007, their win:loss ratio is 8:1. The Sinhalese thrashed this opposition 5-nil in a series back in Nov 2008 and won three out of four matches against the Zimbabweans since then.
In the last series in which the two sides faced off in, which was in June last year, Sri Lankan opener Tillakaratne Dilshan emerged the highest run-getter with an aggregate of 328 runs from three innings at a staggering average of 109.33 and a strike rate of over 100. He was followed quite suprisingly by Zimbabwe's Brendon Taylor with a run-tally of 295 (avg: 73.75) Lanka fellow opener Upu; Tharanga with 209 (avg: 41.80).
Dilshan and Tharanga have been fairly consistent in the ongoing global event as well with averages of 45.00 and 39.66 respectively from three matches. But the man to watch out for is captain Kumar Sangakkara who averages 80.33 from four robust innings. Mahela Jayawardene also has been doing well, making 41.66 per match.
For Zimbabwe, the ability in their batting apears to come down the order with middle order men Tatenta Taibu and Craig Ervine notching up averages of 37.66 ansd 32.00 respectively,with latter-order bats Prosper Utseya (27.33) and Graeme Cremer (28.00) making useful contriutions. But no Zimbabwean batsman has really made his mark in the Cup so far.
In the bowling department, Sri Lanka's pace-house Lasith Malinga will be the key man for his side, especially after his outrageous 6/38 against Kenya. Zimbabwe's batsmen will have to be more than wary of his deadly yorkers. Meanwhile, slow-left-armer Ray Price has been Zimbabwe's most successful bowler so far in the tournament with 4 scalps from 3 matches at an average of just over 20.
All in all, Zimbabwe will have to bat and bowl out of their skin on Thursday if they are to have any chance of overpowering the Lankans, although an upset here seems most unlikely.