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Super Eight: WI vs Sri Lanka


This is the match that is most likely to decide who takes the fourth semi-final spot. The team that loses this match will find itself in an uncomfortable position where it has to win a biggie against South Africa and/or Australia, and hope that their rival number lose most of their remaining games.
The West Indies has already lost to both, Australia and New Zealand. Perhaps it may not be so obvious now, or perhaps it may be, but the rum will lose it's kick if the Windies lose this.
Let's try and find out what are the chances of that happening.

Batting Might

Surprisingly enough, the West Indian seems much stronger than the Lankan line up on paper. The West Indian have the potential to score 231 in their 50 overs. Weighing that against the Lankan potential score of 223 gives a difference of 8 points that cannot be wholly negated even if you throw in an error margin.
The Bombing Squad
Apart from the projected total - which, of course, is subject to various factors such as the pitch, rain, Gayle's mood and so on - another factor in favour of the Windies is that they have more individual batsmen who can change the course of the game.West Indies have four batsmen - Gayle, Lara, Sarwan and Chanderpaul who have averages more than 15 points above the team's average, but more importantly, these are players who can change the course of a game pretty much on their own. And then there is also the dangerous Samuels, and Dwayne Bravo bringing up the rear.
Comparitively, Lanka have only two batsmen whose averages deviate from the team's average by more than 10 points (Tharanga at 12.49, and Sangakkara at
13.35). Besides, apart from the explosive Jayasuriya, there isn't one single player (perhaps Sangakkara to some extent) who can reverse the momentum and turn the match against the run of play.
Few and Far between
However, the reason the Windies haven't done too well despite having atleast four match-winners is that the match-winners rarely ever come to the party. The destructive, all conquering big innings comes only once in 15 innnings. Whereas the Lankan batting line up can be expected to fire as a unit more regularly. The only positive that the Windies can take out of this is that the big innings hasn't come in a while now, so maybe now is the time....
Bowling honours
The Lankans certainly have a much stronger bowling line up than the Windies. The Asians are expected to concede, on an average 231 as against the West Indian average of 238.
Almost every Lankan bowler except Jayasuriya - who is a part timer anyway - average more than the overall team average. Murali and Vaas have always been threats, but surprisingly Fervez Mahroof may be the one to cause greater damage - he averages 2.39 less than the overall team average, which is one whole point less than Chaminda Vaas.
More than the Lankan bowling being strong, it's about the West Indian bowling being weak. Three of their mainline bowlers ( Powell, Collymore and Dwayne Smith) average more than the team average. Besides, two of the three bowlers with averages better than the team's average include Gayle and Bravo - allrounders more than genuine bowlers.

 The picture is pretty clear. If they are to win - and they have to, to stay in the hunt - the West Indies will need a couple of big innings from their top 5, and will need to bowl better than their potential. Lanka hold the advantage, and if the Windies are to seize it, it is their batting that has to do it.

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