Posts Tagged ‘kumar sangakkara’

  • South Africa have always been the nearly men of 50-over cricket, but they did win the Champions Trophy back in 1998, since when they have developed a reputation as big tournament bottlers. This is South Africa’s best chance in years to win some ICC silverware, as well as to cast off the ‘chokers‘ tag.
  • Sri Lanka could be dark horses, with Dilshan‘s firepower matched by the steadying hands of veterans Jayasuriya, Jayawardene and captain Sangakkara. The return of Murali and the recent form of the pace attack will worry opposing batsmen, but the side will need to take a step up to taste glory.
  • England, having been humiliated in the ODI series against Australia, and without their two best limited overs players in Flintoff and Pietersen, will do well to win a match. The batsmen seem to fail whenever the bowlers succeed and vice versa, so expectations, it’s fair to say, will be easy to live up (or down) to.

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Rain breaks have a habit of throwing up oddities, and yesterday’s washout at Edgbaston has enabled me to discover the below. I’m not sure whether that’s a good thing or not – the first is a video of Brett Lee singing the Backstreet Boys’ ‘I Want it That Way’ to Shane Watson (himself a keen strummer and Kumar Sangakkara, and the second is, if anything, stranger.

Enjoy, if that’s the right word:

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After their shocking display in the first innings, Pakistan fought back in their second innings of the Second Test against Sri Lanka, closing day 2 on 178/1, having clawed back the first day’s deficit through impressive displays with both bat and ball.

First, it was Umar Gul and Saeed Ajmal who took the game by the scruff of the neck, finishing with four wickets each as Sri Lanka were restricted to 240 all out, having been 164/3 overnight. Gul in particular was instrumental, kick-starting the comeback with the wicket of Sangakkara and ending with figures of 4-43 and as the cheapest of Pakistan’s bowlers.

After the innings break, it was debutant Fawad Alam (one of my ‘ones to watch’ from last year, albeit as an all-rounder – this was the first time he had opened the batting, as far as I can tell, in any form of the game) who took over, erasing criticisms and memories of his first innings failure with a fine knock, ending the day unbeaten on 102.

Pakistan are still only 28 runs ahead in the match, but the turnaround since yesterday has been dramatic -yet another compelling argument for the continuing primacy of Test cricket.

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Australia, as in any competition in any form of cricket, are amongst the favourites, but they are nowhere near as highly rated as usual. Most of the impressive Aussie performances in this year’s IPL were from players retired from international cricket or not included in the national team. Of course, there are enough top-quality players in the side to beat anyone else on their day, but a tough draw and the distraction of the upcoming Ashes may mean that this is not the Australia that usually turns up and dominates international tournaments.

The West Indies were disappointing in the last tournament, but given their captain’s recently-expressed view on the merits of Twenty20 cricket, they should presumably put in more of an effort this time around. If Gayle, Chanderpaul and Bravo all live up to their billing, then the Windies will be a force to reckon with, but none of them performed well in either  the Tests or the ODI series against England, so the pressure is on.

Sri Lanka will be playing their first international cricket since the team fell victim to a terrorist attack when on tour in Pakistan, and hopes will be high that the country can make headlines for the right reasons. Players like Kumar Sangakkara, Lasith Malinga and Ajantha Mendis are well-equipped for match-winning performances, and although the side has a tough draw, Sri Lanka could be the dark horses of the competition.

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After what seems like about a thousand games of cricket, the Indian Premier League has now reached the Semi-Final stage. Here’s a brief roundup of the teams still involved

  • Dehli Daredevils: Having Glenn McGrath in the side has obviously helped, but the Daredevils still had to wait on other results to make the final four after losing to Punjab. Dehli probably won’t be many people’s tip to win the whole thing.
  • Chennai Super Kings: After a strong start, the Super Kings suffered when all their Australians left part-way through the season to tour the West Indies. With Stephen Fleming also unavailable for the rest of the season, Chennai will struggle to replicate the explosive form of April, but they still have enough quality (especially in their bowling, with Ntini, Muralitharan and Balaji) to win.
  • Kings XI Punjab: Punjab should be strong on confidence after beating Rajasthan by 41 runs on Wednesday, and Luke Pomersbach is tailor-made for twenty20. With the likes of Pomersbach and Kumar Sangakkara (who’s made five 50s in 18 innings of twenty20), as well as plenty of young Indian talent, the Kings XI are serious contenders.

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