Lankans in do-or-die situaton against Zimbabwe
With their campaign derailed by a shock loss to New Zealand, Sri Lanka face a battle of survival against a confident Zimbabwe in their second Group B match of the Twenty20 World Cup in Guyana on Monday.
In their opening match, Sri Lanka had done most things right till the last over. The Islanders posted a good score on board and defended it well before Nathan McCullum stole the match with a six off Lasith Malinga in the final over.
That six of the second last ball has placed the Lankans in a do-or-die battle against Zimbabwe, who are coming into Monday's match after beating formidable Australia and defending champions Pakistan in their warm-up games.
Sri Lanka boasts of a very formidable batting line up with Mahela Jayawardene, who scored a 51-ball 81 against New Zealand, rock solid at the top and Dinesh Chandimal giving him good support in the last match.
But skipper Kumar Sangakkara has been battling with his form and it has continued till now in the World Cup.
Tillakaratne Dilshan is not the explosive self that he used to be until last year.
Sri Lanka wasted old war-horse Sanath Jayasuriya at number seven in the last match and Angelo Matthews, who performed well at the IPL, also flopped.
On the bowling front, spinners Muttiah Muralitharan, Ajantha Mendis, Chanaka Welegedara, Jayasuriya -- all have done a decent job on the slow wickets here.
Medium pacer Matthews has also chipped in with a wicket but Malinga's last match performance should be a cause of worry for the Lankans as the pacer went for 33 runs in 3.5 overs without a wicket.
Zimbabwe, on the other hand, have been quite phenomenal in their warm-ups and would come into the match high on confidence.
Despite being short of experience, Zimbabwe have beaten two formidable teams, which shows there is hardly any scope of error in this format of the game.
For the African team, Elton Chigumbura have done the bulk of scoring, hitting a 35-ball 76 against Australia and an unbeaten 35-ball 49 against Pakistan.
Craig Ervine, Charles Coventry and opener Hamilton Masakadza have also contributed with the bat.
On the bowling front, Prosper Utseya have been the pick of the bowlers taking six wickets, while Chigumbura have also picked up three wickets against Pakistan.