Daijiworld Media Network
Kandy, Sep 29: Hello everyone. A big game tonight between the hosts and one of the favorites. As Luke Wright showed us, the track is still very good for batting. There will be something on offer for both spinners and pacers alike. The duel between Gayle and co against the Sri Lankan spinners is already very intriguing. Stay tuned as we bring you the toss and other updates. If Sri Lanka lose this game then New Zealand are out of the tournament. Guess the Kiwis will stay back to cheer the hosts.
West Indies have won the toss and elected to bat.
West Indies (Playing XI): Johnson Charles, Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels, Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo, Darren Sammy(c), Andre Russell, Denesh Ramdin(w), Sunil Narine, Ravi Rampaul, Fidel Edwards
Sri Lanka (Playing XI): Mahela Jayawardene(c), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara(w), Jeevan Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Thisara Perera, Lahiru Thirimanne, Nuwan Kulasekara, Rangana Herath, Lasith Malinga, Ajantha Mendis
Mahela: 'We would have batted first as well, but the wicket is holding up well. We will look to do well in this match, unfortunately Dananjaya is not fit, he has a small fracture, we want to give him some time to recover. Rangana Herath will replace him.'
Sammy: 'We will bat. We played on this pitch in the last game and we will look to defend a score. Just one change, Edwards is back in place of Badree.'
Preview by Vishaal Loganathan
Sri Lanka and West Indies will look to put one foot into the semi finals with another win when the in-form sides meet at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium. Sri Lanka registered a hard-fought win over New Zealand in their opening super 8 game, while West Indies saw off a determined challenge from defending champions England to win by 8 wickets. Another win will more or less seal a spot for the victors.
West Indies came into the super eights without a win under their belts but soon set the record straight with a morale-boosting win against England. Jonathan Charles and Chris Gayle sparkled for the Windies but they will be concerned by their power packed middle-order not capitalizing on the start provided.
Marlon Samuels, Dwayne Bravo, Darren Sammy and Kieron Pollard all added just 18 runs off 24 balls hurting their chances of posting in excess of 190. Only Charles' brilliant effort after the departure of Gayle saw WI reach a good target and Sammy's men will hope it was just a one-off incident.
West Indies will have a lot to worry on the bowling front as they struggled to stamp their authority and put the game to rest in spite of having the defending champions in deep trouble early on. The mystery spin of Sunil Narine was not that effective while Ravi Rampaul too faltered after starting well. But they will be happy with the bowling of Gayle and Samuel Badree who were instrumental in checking England's progress.
Sri Lanka's performance in their game against NZ mirrored West Indies' against England. Their bowlers struggled, the openers sizzled while the middle order failed to deliver what was expected off them.
The Sri Lankan bowlers were carted around the ground by the New Zealand top order and the hosts will hope there is no repeat against the likes of Gayle and Pollard. Ajantha Mendis was woeful in the last game and Mahela Jayawardene will have think hard about including him for the next game. Akila Dananjaya impressed in his first outing and would be expected to hold his place for the 2nd Super 8 game.
While batting, Sri Lanka were put in a comfortable position thanks to their openers. Tillakaratne Dilshan looked in fine form while Jayawardene's class was also on display. The hosts will be eager for the openers to carry on in the same vein. Their worry will be their middle order. Should the openers fail, much will depend upon Kumar Sangakkara and Angelo Mathews. The duo were unable to make much of an impact in the last game and saw the game slip away from them before they eventually managed to win the in the Super Over.
Both the batsman have not had the best of tournaments and that could prove to be Sri Lanka's undoing during this world cup.
Watch out for:
Chris Gayle: The big hitting Jamaican has already showcased his class with some superb knocks and he looks set for more. Sri Lanka will be wary of the threat he carries and will want to see his back early.
Lasith Malinga: Slinga Malinga will be key to Sri Lanka's fortunes in the super 8s and the Islanders will be eager for the right-armer to show why he is renowned as the best limited overs bowler in the world.
Sammy - It is a good opportunity for us to do that here. We've been playing well as a team and we have to take it one game at a time.
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