Sri Lanka’s loss to New Zealand will galvanize them into a better performance. The Lankans just did not seem to be there after they had been restricted to a paltry score. Any total that asks a scoring rate of less than seven runs an over is not challenging.
Though it’s been defended before, the fact is that on West Indian pitches the ball comes on better than in the sub-continent, though there maybe spin on offer.
Sri Lanka were impressive last year in England where their seam bowlers along with Muttiah Muralitharan were a handful. Their batting was also better but here, in their first game, they were disappointing and need to pick themselves up to qualify for the knockout stage.
Zimbabwe may not have played Test cricket for some time, but they are a team to watch out for in limited-overs cricket. Their fielding is top-class, which gives their limited bowling attack an edge, as runs are not easily given. The ‘offie’, Prosper Utseya, has not been given the credit he deserves for he consistently bowls his quota of overs in limited-overs cricket for less than five runs and also takes wickets.
How he bowls in the ultra short format will decide how many runs Zimbabwe concede. Their batting lacks experience but they make up for it with enthusiasm and that’s why they are an attractive team to watch. Their performance will either strengthen or weaken the case for readmission to Test cricket.
Hosts West Indies looked in a tight spot when they were batting with the Irish fielding like tigers and not conceding runs. However, with the pitch offering some bounce, the West Indian quicks were just too good and the 70-run winning margin is a clear indication that Ireland maybe out of their league.
The West Indians too seem to keep the big-hitting Pollard for the last few overs and he has responded quite well as also Darren Sammy, who is a useful player with both bat and ball.
England have not won anything of note since the ICC competitions began in 1975, but as usual the team will come with plenty of hype. The fact that some of their players were part of IPL will mean they would have had some useful practice in demanding situations.
Well begun is half done and who knows England may well pull off the improbable even when their die-hard supporters are not giving them a chance in hell of winning it.