Cricket World Cup 2011

Preview: Sri Lanka vs Zim

2011-03-10 10:30
Ajantha Mendis might prove too tricky for Zimbabwe. (AFP)

Pallekele - Sri Lanka are on course for the quarter-finals, but a slip up against Zimbabwe, although unlikely under the current conditions, could be costly.

However unlikely, it must be borne in mind that over the course of their clashes, the Zimbabweans have managed to beat Sri Lanka 7 times in 46 ODIs, with the most recent being last year in Harare.

Form guide

Sri Lanka WLWWW

Watch out for...

Ajantha Mendis may have been worked out by some of the top international teams, but against lower-ranked opponents his unique variety of wrist and finger spin still proves a handful. He surprisingly went wicketless against Kenya, did not play against Pakistan and took just one wicket against Canada. He'll hope for a chance to make his mark on the World Cup and build confidence ahead of the knockout stages, but faces competition for his place from left-arm spinner Rangana Herath.

Elton Chigumbura needs to lead from the front. The captain has struggled so far with three low scores and it means Zimbabwe's middle order is lacking someone to either rebuild after early problems or increase the scoring rate later on. Chigumbura has the talent to be a major run-scorer which is why his lean World Cup is such a frustration, and perhaps the stresses of captaincy are weighing on his shoulders. Conditions haven't proved conducive to his medium-pace, either, which makes it even more important that he delivers with the bat.

Team news

If Sri Lanka want three spinners in their XI again it means the new ball is either in the hands of one of them or Angelo Mathews. With Malinga also more of a threat with the older ball it can leave Sri Lanka a little light early on, so it may be an opportunity to assess the balance of their team. Mahela Jayawardene hinted that Dilhara Fernando could earn his first outing although Nuwan Kulasekara provides more batting.

Sri Lanka: Tillakaratne Dilshan, Upul Tharanga, Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Mahela Jayawardene, Thilan Samaraweera, Chamara Silva, Angelo Mathews, Nuwan Kulasekara, Lasith Malinga, Ajantha Mendis, Muttiah Muralitharan

Zimbabwe: Brendan Taylor, Charles Coventry, Tatenda Taibu (wk), Craig Ervine, Elton Chigumbura (capt), Regis Chakabva, Greg Lamb, Prosper Utseya, Graeme Cremer, Ray Price, Tinashe Panyangara

Pitch and conditions

Pallekelle will be staging its second ODI following the match between Pakistan and New Zealand. Ross Taylor didn't have many problems with the conditions - and comfortably cleared the ropes - but batting proved trickier under lights when the ball zipped around.

Stats and trivia

Thirteen of the 16 wickets Zimbabwe have taken at the World Cup have gone to their spinners

Compared to their record against some other major nations, Zimbabwe have had their moments against Sri Lanka, with seven victories in 46 ODIs, with the most recent an eight-wicket win at Harare last June. 


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