June 19, 2009

The best Sri Lankan bowling attack I've seen - Muralitharan

Semi-finals are always special and this Sri Lanka team is really looking forward to today's clash with West Indies. Several of us have been here before so we know what to expect. There is an air of confidence in the squad and we are really looking forward to stepping out onto the field.

Confidence is important in all forms of the game but it is especially important in Twenty20 cricket. You need to believe in yourself and trust your team-mates. If you don't have that positive energy and intent then you risk losing your way during critical match-turning passages of play.

The fact that we have been unbeaten thus far in the tournament, coupled with the fact that we had beaten West Indies previously, is feeding this confidence. We have been playing some great cricket. This is the best Sri Lankan bowling attack I have played in and the top order is performing.

However, we are also aware that our earlier win against West Indies counts for little now. We can take nothing for granted and face a very good team. If we perform up to our potential then we will win, but if we lack discipline and make too many mistakes then we'll lose. We have to perform on the day.

West Indies have also been playing some good cricket after a slow start. Their batting is very dangerous with the likes of Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan. They have power-hitters and also classical players like Sarwan.

Their batting is their strongest suit and they lack the balance we have because their bowling does not have as much depth. If Fidel Edwards does not bowl then they'll be quite reliant on Jerome Taylor and Dwayne Bravo. We will need to exploit that and try to put them under pressure in the field.

This will be our first game at The Oval but I don't think we need to be too worried about this. We have a great history at the venue and thus far the conditions here have good for spin bowling. The pitch looks flat and I think it will suit Sri Lanka. It should make for a great semi-final.