Kulasekara’s heroics almost negates Warner’s dominance

Australia played this match very well as a team too, which is why they eventually won.

By Jaideep Varma and Jatin Thakkar

Nuwan Kulasekara hits out in the first match of the best-of-three CB Series finals. (AFP/Getty Images)



Australia 321/6; Sri Lanka 306 (Australia won by 15 runs)

The scorecard of the match is here.


As Sri Lanka’s no. 8 and 9 began to explode in the latter stages of the match, with no. 6 anchoring the other end (while scoring himself), the first final came alive and demonstrated the most important quality that this Sri Lankan team has, or certainly has had more than the other two sides in this tournament – they play as a team. That is the reason why this team can never be written-off, despite losing this match. Australia played this match very well as a team too, which is why they eventually won, despite riding on the back of one outstanding performance.

Here is the match through the IMPACT lens.






Observations:

David Warner’s overbearing innings (163 off 157, IMPACT 6.44) seemed to have won the match for the Australians at the half-way stage. He was in the middle while all of Australia’s 321 runs got scored on the sort of pitch where the side batting first has the tougher task - of setting a target. As the later Sri Lankan batsmen demonstrated (after their senior colleagues had made a hash of it earlier), they may even have been 20-odd runs short, given what kind of pitch this was (or perhaps became, after getting wet in the
rain).

It will surprise many to know that Nuwan Kulasekara actually had a higher impact than even Warner in the match. His batting certainly made this a more even match for a while – as he came in at 144 for 6 (high Pressure IMPACT), scored 73 in 43 balls (high Strike Rate IMPACT) and left at 248 for 7, opening the match somewhat for Sri Lanka from nowhere (Batting IMPACT 5.15). Earlier, when Australia were merrily piling the runs, Kulasekara bowled well, not crossing 6 runs-an-over (a slight Economy IMPACT), taking the wicket of Wade (Partnership-breaking IMPACT) and completing his quota in tough circumstances (1 for 60, Bowling IMPACT 1.49). This combination actually took him ahead of Warner when it comes to overall impact in the match. It would never strike the eye, of course, given how much Warner’s innings dominated the match (and got him the Man-of-the-Match award).

The batting of Upul Tharanga (60 off 67, IMPACT 3.75) and Dhamika Prasad (31 off 21, IMPACT 1.44) took the match close. The top-order will rue not having made more of an impact, as the asking rate actually had looked much more do-able just before Tharanga got out (at 285; 36 off 25 required).

Matthew Wade (64 off 72, IMPACT 2.47) and Michael Clarke 37 off 25, IMPACT 1.72) were the only Australian batsmen besides Warner to cross an IMPACT of 1, while Hussey (19 off 10, IMPACT 0.99) almost did. Whereas five batsmen for Sri Lanka (Kulasekara, Tharanga, Sangakkara, Prasad and Dilshan) crossed a Batting IMPACT of 1, as opposed to three for Australia (and a near one in Hussey).

The only all-round performance for Australia in the match came from wicket-keeper Wade while Sri Lanka had two such performances (Kulasekara and Prasad) and a near one from their own wicket-keeper Sangakkara.

In bowling, however, Australia had three massive performers – David Hussey (4 for 43 in 8 overs, IMPACT 5.64), Brett Lee (3 for 59 in 9 overs, IMPACT 3.92) and Shane Watson (3 for 33 in 9.2 overs, IMPACT 3.36). Shane Watson produced his third consecutive high impact performance after coming back from injury, two with the ball, one with the bat; none together yet, which is an ominous sign for Sri Lanka.


Australia’s Team IMPACT in the match was 2.23 as compared to Sri Lanka’s 1.80 – the gap greater than what a difference of 15 runs should show, which suggests that Australia dominated the match and Sri Lanka did play catch-up almost right through.

Still, the second final should be interesting, as this Sri Lankan team can by no means be written-off.

For more information, please go to www.impactindexcricket.com.

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