• Friday, March 06, 2015

Riverse Swing

Wasim Akram

Panic is not the state you want to be in a Twenty20 match. If you are in a hara-kiri mood, you can't go places in this rapid-fire version of the game.
True to their reputation as world number one Sri Lanka avoided that state and pulled off a narrow five-run win over South Africa.
I have highest of regard for the professional manner in which the Sri Lankans play their cricket. They always have a plan, they stick to it and that is why I see them as one of the favourites to win this World Twenty20.
Their new coach Paul Farbrace is an unassuming chap who works behind the scenes very well and in Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene they have two old foxes who, in this match may not have scored big, but were all the time available for their advice to a young captain, Dinesh Chandimal.
I was a bit surprised at Sri Lanka batting first after winning the toss, but I think they did it on their strength. South Africa were depleted as they played without their captain Faf du Plessis who failed to recover from a hamstring injury.
It changes your plans when your captain is not playing the game but luckily South Africa have AB de Villiers who is their one-day captain. Dale Steyn did recover before the match, but I think the South Africans risked him as this was their opening match and a crucial one for them. But it may prove a costly mistake because I felt Steyn wasn't 100 per cent. If he aggravates this cruel hamstring injury, South Africa may suffer badly in the longer run. He was hit for 17 runs in the opening over but he came back strongly and bowled Tillakaratne Dilshan off the final delivery.
I like the way Kusal Perera bats. He reminds me of the great Sanath Jayasuriya. The dashing style he bats put the South Africans on the back foot. AB did employ leg-spin of Imran Tahir to the best effect and he did put brakes on Sri Lankan progress. Angelo Mathews also batted sensibly, realising the fact that he needed to bat till the end to give some respectability. I see a very bright future for Mathews.

When South Africa batted, all their batsmen Quniton de Kock, Hashim Amla, Ab and Duminy -- all got good starts but none of them cashed in on it. Albie Morkel had hit two sixes in one over and it was futile to attempt another and once he departed the target became stiff for the Proteas.
A lot of people believe that this Group 1 is easier. It may look but don't rule out any team in this format. I would love to see upsets in the Super 10 stage so that we all can savour this format.
The writer is a former Pakistan cricket captain and one of the finest swing bowlers and currently a TV commentator and presenter

Published: 12:00 am Sunday, March 23, 2014

Last modified: 12:56 am Sunday, March 23, 2014

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