Difficult to make personal choices | india | Hindustan Times
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Difficult to make personal choices

india Updated: Jun 21, 2009 00:20 IST
Ravi Shastri

Two Asian teams and both with identical strengths! Both Sri Lanka and Pakistan have variety in bowling, both have a very strong middle-order and both extremely creative. Both reserve their best bowlers for the final 10 overs. Not to forget Sanath Jayasuriya and Shahid Afridi, the two biggest hitters.

It’s difficult to make personal choices. Lasith Malinga or Umar Gul? Both almost impossible to get away with.

While Sri Lanka employ Malinga at the start and the end, Pakistan reserve Gul for the last eight overs. His pace, accuracy, upright action and, above all, the reverse swing can mess up the best of starts.

Between Murali and Mendis on one side and Afridi and Ajmal on the other, there are no easy choices. The Sri Lanka pair probably has taken more wickets but the Pakistani duo is similarly niggardly.

The riches in the middle-order too are balanced. Pakistan have Younis Khan, Shoaib Malik and Misbah-ul Haq, while Sri Lanka have stalwarts like Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene.

Sri Lanka though have two distinct advantages: opener Tillakaratne Dilshan is just about the best batsman of the tournament and their fielding is many notches superior. They are also unbeaten and consistent, while Pakistan are just about hitting the top form.

The team batting first would have an advantage.