Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Ben on...getting to the final

Sri Lanka rested themselves out of their chance to make it to no. 1 on the points table, which means we won't be playing Australia in the semis, which increases our chances of making it to the finals greatly.

We have the slimmest of slim hopes of making the no. 1 spot ourselves. Doing some calculations on the back of an envelope, I've concluded that if we were to score 300-odd in our match against Australia, we would have to bowl them out for about 180 to shift the net RRs enough for us to overtake the Aussies. If we were to chase, we'd have to catch their total by about the 30th over. So we should just assume we'll be meeting Sri Lanka at Sabina Park.

So what do we need to do to beat Sri Lanka in the semi?

The Cricinfo bulletin for today's match made the interesting point that Sri Lanka is prone to batting collapses. They did it today, and collapses against South Africa (195 for 5 to 209 all out) may have lost them the game and against England (175 for 3 to 235 all out) made that game much closer than it should have been. Their middle and lower order batsmen are fragile. And we have wicket taking bowlers who can take advantage of this by knocking off the top order (Bond) and exposing the middle order to be cleaned up (Vettori). In addition, we are the only team that has restricted our opponents to under 4 runs an over overall. Even with Sri Lanka's big hitters, we should expect the semi to be a low scoring affair.

The biggest danger for us of course is the Sri Lankan bowlers. For which I have no specific answers. In truth, the news is bad. In the 2000s, our batsmen averaged 23.9 against SL, while they averaged 29.3 otherwise. Surely we can rely on Scotty though, and we'd probably only need one other to go with him. Perhaps if we could hold Fleming back until Vaas has lost his venom.

No comments: