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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Sri Lankan pizzazz prevails in rain affected hitout: CB ODI#5

Sri Lanka 2/154 [19 overs] (T Dilshan 62 no) defeated India 5/195 [29 overs] (R Sharma 70 no ) by 8 wickets [ Duckworth-Lewis method] with 12 balls to spare at Canberra.

I was pleasantly surprised, after heavy rain this morning seemed to rule out any play at all, that a start, let alone a result, was achieved in the India - Sri Lanka game at Canberra. I was a few minutes late switching on the TV but Channel 9 had already read the skies and fell back upon its customary morning programs (I'm just curious, but can anyone identify the Cindy McCain lookalike who featured in the soap shown from 9.30 CST?)

Enough diversion. The weather improved to the point where the authorities decreed that a 29 overs a side match could begin.

Sri Lanka won the toss and chose to field: they struggled while the Indian batters made hay while the sun shone. The SL bowling was ordinary but wickets (Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar)
fell to outfield catches and (Gautam Gambhir and M S Dhoni)to run outs. The SL fielding was outstanding, and the runouts, apart from being extremely well executed, stopped two of India's most prolific batsmen in full flow. Yet Rohit Sharma 's 70/64b (6x4, 1x6) kept India well in the game and helped take the score to 5/195, after Richie Benaud had opined that 150 would be be a competitive total.

And so it seemed, but then the rain returned briefly, the Duckworth-Lewis method was invoked and SL needed only 154 from 21 overs. This was a considerable task, but in the brave new world of T20, was hardly beyond the bounds of possibility, or even probability.

Tillekeratne Dilshan and Sanath Jayasuriya's all out assault on the Indian opening attack saw 50 reached in 37 balls (India had taken 52 balls for theirs).
Everyone who watched it will remember Jayasuriya's 13 ball 27 (2x6,2x4), whereas Sree Sreesanth will want to forget, while statisticians will remember, his figures of 3-0-48-0.

With wickets in hand (the value of which this particular D/L calculation seemed to underrate) it was, in T20 terms, steady as she goes from there on. Risks still had to be, and were, taken but SL, ably guided by Dilshan (62 no/59b), who more often has played a supporting role but now stepped forward onto centre stage, cantered to victory with two overs to spare.

SL now have a chance of reaching the finals, though I'd like to see how they go in a full 50 overs match or two before I change my view that they don't have the depth or quality of either of the other teams.


Cricinfo Bulletin.


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