India vs Sri Lanka Cricket Team 2011 | Compare India vs Sri Lanka Strengths and Weaknesses in World Cup 2011
The road to the finals of the Cricket World Cup 2011 for the two finalists has been different. Where Sri Lanka has played nonchalantly, and won their games with clinical precision, India has progressed with shades of brilliance with an occasional off day on the field, as when they tied with England and lost to South Africa in the group stage. Sri Lanka has been quiet efficient; so much so that nobody paid any attention while they were silently marching to a second successive World Cup final. With the final to be played on the 2nd of April 2011, it becomes necessary to have a close look at the two teams and what could be in store for these Asian neighbors who have traditionally been involved in some epic clashes down the years.
It may be surprising, but Sri Lanka has always had the upper hand when it comes to games played in World Cups. Right from the first World Cup in 1975 till the last edition it was that ousted Men in Blue unceremoniously, Sri Lanka have beaten India in World Cup encounters barring the match in the 1999 World Cup which India won handsomely because of a brutal century by Sourav Ganguly and a surprisingly fast century by Rahul Dravid. Even in the last World Cup in the Caribbean, India went with high hopes but lost tamely to Sri Lanka and even Bangladesh. In this context, it is prudent to make an in-depth analysis of the two teams with their strengths and weaknesses. This assessment will help in coming up with a likely winner, at least on paper, as cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties and nothing can be said with certainty what is going to happen at the Wankhede stadium, Mumbai.
On a swan song
Ever since Grieg Chappell handed over the reins of the Indian Cricket team to Gary Kirsten, India have been playing some solid cricket not only at home but even oversees. They have slowly but surely, under the astute captaincy of M.S. Dhoni, beaten all other cricket teams in their own backyards in both test matches as well as ODI’s. It goes to the credit of the coach Gary and the self confidence that this well knit unit has in itself that Indian cricket Team today finds itself perched atop the rankings in Test cricket and second from the top in the ODI rankings.
Sri Lanka has been impressive too
If one looks back at World Cup history, it becomes clear that Sri Lanka has been a feared opponent for all test playing nations for a long time. And after winning the trophy in 1996, Sri Lanka has the confidence and the ware withal to test any cricket team in all conditions. Kumara Sangakkara, the wicketkeeper captain has a formidable record in the last 3 years since he took over the reigns from Mahela Jayawerdhene. Sanga has one of the best captaincy records among test playing nations and has led from the forefront, lending solidity to the middle order, scoring at will literally in all parts of the world.
Plusses for India
India has the best opening pair at the top with Sehwag and Sachin. These two have the talent and the capacity to torment any bowling attack and if Sehwag stays for any length of time, he can seal the fate of the match. Sachin on the other hand has been the backbone of Team India for the last 20 years and his presence alone lends confidence to team mates and his is considered to be the most prized wicket. The middle order, comprising dashing Gambhir, elegant Viraat Kohli and seasoned Yuvraj Singh, along with Dhoni and Raina chipping in at number seven is considered to be the most feared batting order in the world.
As far as bowling is concerned, Zaheer Khan has been in the form of his life and is passing through a golden phase in his career. He has been ably supported by the wily Harbhajan, but the surprise package has been Yuvraj Singh, who has scalped 12 wickets in the tournament so far with his innocuous looking spin bowling. The biggest plus point is the cool captaincy of Dhoni, who has impressed one and all with his tactics and use of bowlers to trouble all the batting line ups.
Bowling looks weak
Despite Zaheeer bowling at his best, he does not have the support of any other fast bowler. Harbhajan, though he has been miserly, has not been able to take wickets, which is the biggest headache of the management.
Sri Lanka’s strengths
Sri Lanka too has a solid opening pair in Dilshan and Upul Tharanga, and has a settled look at the top. Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawerdene are one of the best middle order batsmen in the world, and provide solidity in the middle. All four have scored a century in the tournament so far which indicates the form they are in.
Sri Lankan bowling has a lot of variety with the old fox Murali playing his last international match. He has in the past toyed with Indian batting and has especially scalped the left handers, which spells trouble for Gambhir, Yuvraj and Raina. In Ajantha Mendis and Rangana Herath, they have some very good spinners but one should not underestimate Lasith Malinga who has the potential to rock any batting line up in the world with his slinging, fast in swingers.
Chinks in the armor
The only shortcoming in this Sri Lankan lineup is their shaky middle order which has not been tested so far in the competition. But we all saw what happened when the top order got out in the semi final against New Zealand.
In conclusion it can be said that both India and Sri Lanka appear to have peaked at the right time and we have a thrilling prospect at out hands in Mumbai on 2nd of April, 2011. The world is waiting with baited breath if Sachin is able to score a century of centuries on the final. On the other hand, if Murali clicks, it could be Sri Lanka’s cup this time. It is a battle of nerves and the team that can play better on the day is going to be the winner in this World Cup.