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Super Eight : Sri Lanka vs England

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Things are now fairly clear. The problem with losing three games - well, one of the problems with losing three games is that you are left at the mercy of other teams. So, today's game holds great importance for the Windies. For, their consistently dismal batting performance has put them at the mercy of the other teams' performances, and a Lankan victory today will not do any good for their world cup hopes. Not the kind of feeling a home crowd would like to entertain.

 

Lanka has put up a fairly convincing performance in this tournament.Typically, an Asian countries are supposed to be  weak fighters, relying more on individual skill and natural talent than on character and mental strength. But the Lankans seem to have come to the West Indian shores with a lot more determination, focus and discipline. Their victory against the Windies and a strong performance against the Proteas has put immense pressure on England and the Windies. A Lankan victory will mean these teams will have to beat Australia, Africans and the Kiwis between them. An uphill task, given their current form.

 
But an England victory turns the equation in their favour. After this victory even if England lose to the mighty Australians and Africans (to whom Lankans and Windies have already lost), they still hold an advantage over their two rivals as they get to play both the minnows in the Super Eight, of which one they have already defeated. More importantly, they will bring hope to the Windies  hope.

 Let us see what the 'Squadstats' have to say about the chances of these teams in today's game.

 

 I) Bowling Potency

England looks a bit weak in the bowling department. Flintoff and Anderson are the only bowlers having an average above the teams bowling average, both by 7+ pts. For England, the positive side of this story is that both of them have performed well so far in the World Cup.  On the other end, with 4 bowlers performing above the team's average,the Lankan bowling line-up is much stronger on paper. Of the four, Maharoof is yet to find his form so far in the World Cup. However with Jayasuriya chipping in,  the weakness seems to have negated.


 II) Batting advantage

With their bowling being weaker than that of the Lankans,the English batsmen will have to rise to the occasion and perform. The good news is they seem to be on track.

With 5 batsmen averaging 10 points more than the team average, with Pietersen on a phenomenal 33 points above the team average, the sucess for the team lies in their batting. He remains the key batsmen for Lankans to target. A dismal batting performance and England may well be written off for the rest of the match. Possibly, the rest of the tournament.


For Sri Lanka, Dilshan seems to hold the middle order very well, having been involved in partnerships of 83, 97 and 17,35* against India, SA and Windies respectively.

III) Projected scores

Not much to choose between the two teams as both score around 230 and concede around 240. The Lankans hold a slight advantage, but one that gets negligible when you throw in an error margin.

IV) Consistency

However, the Lankans show lot more consistency with big inninngs per 5 matches as compared to England's one per 7 games. This is clearly visible from their current performances.

On the whole, the Lankans thus look strong and well poised for a victory. But in a game like cricket, miracles do happen. Like England winning the Ashes in 2005.     



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