Spin & sling to stem a storm


Jayawardene has the unenviable task of choosing which way to try and get rid of Gayle early, spin or speed. It’s likely he’ll choose a mixture of both, as he did so cleverly for much of the semifinal against Pakistan. The next question is which spinner and fast bowler? Jayawardene will have to resort to the Army tactic where he points to two poor unfortunates and says, “You and you, have just volunteered.”

It may well be Malinga, with his ability to swing the new ball back into Gayle, and Dilshan, who spins away from the left-hander, who are the best choice. That pair also have another advantage; they are highly experienced and have faced numerous challenges with courage and conviction.

 Normally I’d back brains over brawn but having seen Gayle combine the two in the semi, I don’t envy Jayawardene and his task.

Chris Gayle has 20 overs to bat if the West Indies are to take the final. Fifteen overs may suffice but if he can duplicate the performance of the semis, the Windies will win.

How can one describe an innings of 75 off 41 balls? It defies cricketing logic. But that is exactly what we saw against Australia. The numbers with his strike rate of 182 demand that you are operating in a high risk area where you are up against the odds. However, such is the talent and the ball-striking ability of this superstar that his innings appeared safe and calculated.

Earlier in the group stage, Sri Lanka nabbed Gayle early and although Samuels’ 50 and Bravo’s 40 consolidated, the West Indies could only scrape together 129. On form and at home, they start as favourites but a final and T20 pays scant regard to the tag.

Finals are often decided by the performances of your big players. Jayawardene has led Sri Lanka to four limited-over world finals but is yet to hold the cup. Have those defeats left stubborn scars of "here we go again"?

He has the bowling and the fielding at his disposal and the last time they met the Windies, they made the batting of their opponents look silly. It's up to him, Dilshan and Sangakkara to lead the batting.

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