Would we win the Cup, seems to be the only question playing on everyone's mind. While the answer to that could be an emphatic yes, the bigger question that we should be asking instead is – how should we win the Cup? Here's a quick look at how we can aim to dissect and dismantle the game-changers in the Sri Lankan side.
Dilshan: He's perhaps the most dangerous batsman in the Sri Lankan outfit. He may not be the most attractive or the most technically equipped, but he's definitely a game-changer. He's a lot like Sehwag, who can take the game away if he gets going. But like most attacking players, he has his chinks too. Since off-side is his preferred area, he stays inside the line of the ball in order to create room, which allows his arms to move freely. The best way to attack him is to get as close to him as possible and keep it on the fuller side, for he's a lot stronger square of the wickets than in the front of them. Another reason for bowling fuller is that the moment you're too close to him and a bit short, he unleashes the 'Dilscoop', which he can't execute otherwise. Beginning with fine-leg inside the ring and the square-leg on the fence is a good strategy to deal with him.
Malinga: He's a freak. There're quite a few bowlers who bowl round-arm but nobody is even half as accurate as Malinga. If you haven't played Malinga earlier, it will take a while to get used to his action. A bowler has to release the ball a lot earlier to pitch it up and delay the release to bowl short. While it's relatively easier to decipher the release if the arm is next to the ear, it's almost impossible to gauge the length perfectly when Malinga is bowling. Then comes picking the line, which is again a lot easier if the ball is released with a high-arm action. These difficulties are because of the angles created by the slinging action and the paucity of such freaks. Batsmen around the world are so used to playing bowlers with nice high-arm actions that an aberration like Malinga becomes too tough to handle.
Since he has a lethal yorker, a well disguised slower-one and a decent bouncer, it's wise to keep the back-lift short and crisp. You must guard against being too late for the yorker and too early for a slower-one, which can happen if the back-lift is a bit too high. Malinga is a bigger threat if you go after him and hence playing him rather cautiously and attacking the rest would be a wise policy.
Sangakkara: He, along with Jayawardene, is the most technically correct batsman in the Sri Lankan team. There are no obvious flaws in his batting which could be exploited easily. But batsmen who play by the book rarely hit the good balls for fours, for their technical prowess teaches them to respect the good balls and make the bad ball count. He likes to play with the vertical bat more often and hence rarely plays in the second line. Now, the onus is on the bowler to pitch the ball slightly fuller (not a half-volley) and search for movement in the air and off the surface. Dhoni might be tempted to throw the ball to Zaheer Khan the moment Sanga walks in, and attack with at least one slip in place. It's important to dislodge him early, because he knows the art of building a big innings once he gets set.
Muralitharan: He's the biggest turner of the ball on the planet. Since his strength is the spin off the surface, you may assume that he flights the ball a lot too. But that's only an assumption, because he bowls a lot quicker and flatter than he looks. Ever since he's added the doosra to his armoury, it's almost mandatory to read the ball from his hand, for you'll get too late if you try to read it from the pitch. English batsmen are guilty of doing that, and hence have been at sea. Sehwag plays him beautifully because he's able to pick up the subtle variations at the point of delivery, and then plays him very late to avoid any miscalculations. Picking the ball is only one aspect of the issue, playing the ball is quite another. Another thing which often goes unnoticed is that Murali doesn't like to get hit, and goes on a defensive if the batsman is on the offensive. So, if you can pick his deliveries perfectly, like Sehwag or Sachin do, it's not a bad idea to go after him and put pressure.