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Oz fight Lanka for semis berth

cricket Updated: May 08, 2010 23:59 IST

PTI
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High on confidence after imposing wins in their previous matches, Australia and Sri Lanka face off on Sunday in a Super Eight game with the winner's prize being a semifinal berth in the Twenty20 World Cup Bridgetown.

Considered T20 duds before they landed in the Caribbean, the Australians have done well so far and are fast emerging as title contenders. The Sri Lankans, on the other hand, have been their usual consistent self, quietly making their progress in the tournament.

With both the teams in fine form, it's hard to pick a favourite as they seem evenly matched in all departments of the game. The Aussies, led by Michael Clarke, have a power-packed batting lineup and perhaps the most destructive opening pair in the tournament in David Warner and Shane Watson.

Warner, who dealt mostly in sixes against India on Friday, has been unstoppable so far and it would be quite a task for the Lankan bowlers to contain the stocky left-hander, who is an excellent fielder too.

Watson, on the other hand, adds value to the Aussie team with not just his batting but also his medium pace. The imposing all-rounder, who struggled with injuries in the early part of his career, has become almost indispensable in the Australian line-up.

Adding to their batting power are the Hussey brothers — David and Mike — with the former being the big-hitter and the latter being the partnership-builder.

Clarke himself is an established batsman and with all-rounder Cameron White coming in late in the order, Australia have a fairly long and formidable line-up. The bowling too is equally well balanced. The pace trio of Dirk Nannes, Shaun Tait and Doug Bollinger have rattled opposition batting consistently though the spin department remains slightly suspect as Steven Smith is yet to make much of an impression.

The Lankans, meanwhile, also have a strong batting order to boast of with Mahela Jayawardene and skipper Kumar Sangakkara in fine form, as was evident in their 57-run triumph over WI on Friday.