Sri Lanka vs Zimbabwe 1st T20 Live : ICC T20 world Cup 2012 Live
Hosts Sri Lanka are all set to take on Group C minnows, Zimbabwe in the 2012 World T20 curtain raiser, to be played at the Mahinda Rajapaksa Stadium in Hambantota today, September 18.
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Mahela Jayawardene-led Sri Lankan contingent is one of the favourites in the global event. Though the hosts blew hot and cold in the warm-up matches – nine-wicket win over West Indies and 26-run defeat at the hands of India – they remain a strong contender for the coveted trophy.
Batting remains the strength of Sri Lankan line-up, featuring likes of world class batsmen in Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene. Opener Dilshan is one of world’s most destructive batsmen and there is hardly a bowler in the world who could stop the 35-year-old Kalutara right-hander after he gets going. The hosts will hope he remains in the top form over the next couple of weeks. Uncapped Dilshan Munaweera is likely to open the Sri Lankan innings alongside Dilshan.
Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara are the two men in the middle on whom the Sri Lankans can rely in any format of the game. No. 5 Lahiru Thirimanne is also a dangerous batsman and the Zimbabwe bowlers would find it hard to contain him once he gets going.
Presence of a plethora of pace-bowling all-rounders gives the Lankans an advantage over the rest of the World T20 participants. Angelo Mathews is one of the best all-rounders in the world while Thisara Perera has also established himself pretty fast over the past couple of months as a potent all-rounder.
Sri Lanka’s pace arsenal will be led by T20 specialist Lasith Malinga, who will have support of Perera, Mathews and Nuwan Kulasekara, while fit-again Ajantha Mendis and uncapped Akila Dananjaya will comprise the spin attack.
Zimbabwe, on the other hand, will be banking on experience rather than the exuberance of youth. Hamilton Masakadza, Brendan Taylor and Vusi Sibanda make a quality top order. But their middle order does not have much to offer. Experienced duo of Craig Ervine and Stuart Matsikenyeri will in all probability comprise the Zimbabwean middle order. For the all-rounder’s role, Taylor may have to make a choice between Elton Chigumbura and Malcolm Waller.
Prosper Utseya, Ray Price and Graeme Cremer are the three frontline spinners in Zimbabwe’s touring party, but Cremer may miss out if the tourists opted to play three seamers.
Traditionally the Hambantota wicket assists the seamers. The last match played at this venue was a low scoring day and night ODI between India and Sri Lanka in July, when the tourists were bowled out for just 138 in 34 overs. But Jayawardene is expecting a high-quality surface in Hambantota this time around.
"Having looked at the wicket I'm pretty confident that it will be much better than what it has been, and there should be plenty of runs," Jayawardene told media reporters on the eve of the match.
Temperatures are expected to remain between 26 and 28 degrees Celsius, with 80 percent humidity level.
Sri Lanka (probable): 1 Dilshan Munaweera, 2 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 3 Mahela Jayawardene, 4 Kumar Sangakkara, 5 Lahiru Thirimanne, 6 Angelo Mathews, 7 Nuwan Kulasekara, 8 Thisara Perera, 9 Lasith Malinga, 10 Ajantha Mendis 11 Akila Dananjaya,
Zimbabwe (probable): 1 Hamilton Masakadza, 2 Vusi Sibanda, 3 Brendan Taylor, 4 Craig Ervine, 5 Stuart Matsikenyeri, 6 Elton Chigumbura/ Malcolm Waller, 7 Prosper Utseya 8 Graeme Cremer, 9 Richard Muzhange, 10 Kyle Jarvis, 11 Chris Mpofu