This year’s World T20 certainly hasn’t been short of drama. From New Zealand’s shock opening day win against India to England’s monumental win over South Africa in which they successfully chased down 230, the showpiece event has already thrown up some exhilarating ties.
Sunday will treat us to yet another double-header. The first match of the day will see South Africa take on Afghanistan in Mumbai. That will be immediately followed by a clash between Sri Lanka and the West Indies. Let’s see whether or not we can find some winners.
South Africa 1/16 | Draw 35/1 | Afghanistan 8/1
The Proteas would have been left shell-shocked following their two-wicket defeat at the hands of England on Friday evening. Having lost the toss and being asked to bat, the South Africans wasted no time in taking on the English seamers, powering to 96 in the first seven overs. Quinton de Kock was the destroyer-in-chief during the power play overs as he powered to 52 off just 24 balls before caught by Alex Hales off the bowling of Moeen Ali.
Hashim Amla continued to profit from some pretty wayward England bowling as he too helped himself to a half-century before a late show by JP Duminy and David Miller pushed South Africa’s total well beyond 200 runs. In truth, though, the English bowling was well below par. The likes of Ben Stokes, Chris Jordan and Reece Topley offered the South African batsmen far too much width, something the Afghans simply can’t afford to do on Sunday afternoon.
The South Africans didn’t fare much better with the ball. They were comprehensively dismantled by the English top and middle order. Jason Roy (43 from 16) and Joe Root (83 from 44) punished an ill-disciplined South African seam attack that seemed to panic in the face of such belligerent batting. Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn, Chris Morris and to a lesser extent, Kyle Abbott failed to consistently hit their line and length as the English batsmen helped themselves the boundaries almost at will.
One positive the South Africans can take from their performance was the bowling of Imran Tahir. On a day of absolute carnage, the leg-spinner managed to return excellent figures of 1-28 in his four overs. One wonders whether or not we’ll see Aaron Phangiso crack the nod over one of the three under-performing seamers that started on Friday. The Mumbai wicket was offering quite a bit of assistance for the spinners last time out.
The Afghans come into this game following a disappointing six-wicket defeat to Sri Lanka earlier on in the week. While they failed to claim victory against the reigning world champions, they did give an excellent account of themselves with both bat and ball.
Their captain, Asghar Stanikzai showed just how well he can hold an innings together as his measured approach early on in the innings paid dividends as he accelerated toward the end of the piece. He was eventually caught behind off the bowling of Perera trying to ramp the ball over the wicketkeeper’s head.
The Asian’s also possess a deadly opening combination. Noor Ali Zadran and Mohammad Shahzad are not afraid to attack from the word go, and if they click into gear early on; the Proteas could well be in for a surprise or two. Keep an eye out for Rashid Khan too, the 17-year-old leg-spinner is being touted for big things and put in yet another magnificent display against the Sri Lankans earlier in the week.
Verdict: 12 or more Sixes to be hit in the match at 8/10
This game will be played on the same Mumbai wicket that the Proteas were in action on earlier in the week. It’s a veritable batman’s paradise, and with such a wealth of attacking batsmen set to take part in Sunday’s clash; we’re more than likely to see well over 12 sixes. Get on at 8/10.
Sri Lanka 27/20 | Draw 35/1 | West Indies 6/10
The second match of the day will see the only two undefeated sides in Group 2, the West Indies and Sri Lanka, go head to head at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore.
The Sri Lankans would have been happy enough with their performance against Afghanistan while knowing full well that there was still a lot of room for improvement. Angelo Matthews seems to be relishing the opportunity of captaining his country in the shortest format of the game. He bowled beautifully as the spearhead of the attack and smashed his way to an excellent 10-ball 21 toward the end of the Islanders’ innings.
The real star of the show, however, was Tillakaratne Dilshan. The diminutive opener’s 56-ball 83 was the cornerstone upon which the Sri Lankan’s run chase was built. He showed all of his experience as he rotated the strike regularly while punishing anything too straight, finding the mid-wicket boundary with relative ease every time the ball was angled in toward his pads.
The Sri Lankan coach, Marvan Atapattu, will be sweating on the fitness of his star bowler, Lasith Malinga who missed the opening game of the tournament with a minor knee issue. If the slinger is fit and firing, he could well prove to be the difference between the two sides.
The West Indies opened their account against England with a crushing six-wicket win in Mumbai on Wednesday. Chris Gayle stole the show on the day as destroyed the English bowling attack on his way to an undefeated 48-ball century. There was also a strong showing from Marlon Samuels who claimed a 27-ball 37 as the big Jamaican finally comes into some form following a bit of a lean run.
Much will hinge on whether or not the likes of Jerome Taylor, Andre Russell and Dwayne Bravo can keep the scoring down. The three seamers struggled a little bit against an immensely powerful English batting line-up. They should find a bit of respite against a slightly weaker Sri Lankan team. They will still need to be weary of guys like Dilshan, Matthews and Dinesh Chandimal though; who on their day can destroy just about any attack in world cricket.
The biggest concern for the Darren Sammy and his men will be the form of Samuel Badree. Much was expected from the leg-spinner, especially after the withdrawal of Sunil Narine – and his recent performances have left much to be desired. He’ll need to buck up and come good if the West Indies are to have any chance of winning this tournament. You simply can't win a massive showpiece event on the Sub-Continent if your star spinner is underperforming.
Verdict: West Indies 6/10
Although there are a few concerns for the West Indies coming into this game, they simply look too strong for a Sri Lankan side that made difficult work of beating Afghanistan earlier in the week.
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