Sri Lanka v New Zealand, World T20 2012, Super Eights, Pallekele September 26, 2012

'Oram's SLPL experience handy for us' - Taylor


Jacob Oram's Sri Lanka Premier League stint was a stroke of good fortune. He had made himself available for the draft, but none of the teams much liked the idea of an aging, fragile seam bowler on their payroll. Oram's batting had lost its lustre since his youth and though he had become a wily limited-overs operator since, he is hardly a cricketer that will daunt opponents - even in a domestic tournament. Thankfully for him, New Zealand teammate James Franklin had his Test career resuscitated, and the Uva Next franchise were short of one player who could contribute in both disciplines. Oram, who was called up days before the tournament began, became one of the league's standout players and an integral part of Uva Next's victorious campaign over the next three weeks.

What made him so potent, Uva Next captain Thilina Kandamby said, was bowling with the new ball - an opportunity he does not often get when playing for his country. At the top of the innings, he was parsimony personified. Oram found an effective length on the reforged Sri Lanka pitches that suddenly favoured seam bowlers, and plugged away predictably. The extra movement and improved bounce made him difficult to get away, and he reaped a tournament record of 11 wickets with a barely believable economy rate of 3.82. Though he has not been at his best in the group matches in the World Twenty20, Oram will hope the confidence and experience from his SLPL exploits will aid his cause in the current tournament, because that was the point.

"One of the reasons I wanted to come here was that it's the perfect preparation for the World Twenty20," Oram had said.

"Missing out on the tournament initially was disappointing, because it meant preparing for the World Twenty20 indoors in New Zealand's winter, which is obviously not ideal preparation. Once I got picked up as a late replacement, it was the ideal scenario to have a month over here before the World Cup, that is in these conditions, so it really couldn't be any better."

Oram's involvement in the SLPL was also something of a reconnaissance exercise for New Zealand. He had hoped to collect information about the changed conditions to notify the New Zealand camp, and as captain Ross Taylor said on the eve of New Zealand's Super Eights match against Sri Lanka, Oram's knowledge was proving handy to his side's preparation.

"He's been telling us about the local players we might not have heard much of as well," Taylor said. "He was probably the form bowler [in the SLPL], and he plays a vital role in our team as well. Wickets are probably a bit flatter than when he played, and it's a different time of the year. But he's a key part of our team and hopefully he can replicate that form that he showed in the Sri Lanka Premier League."

New Zealand may also have insight into the better known players in the Sri Lankan side, with several of them having played alongside Sri Lanka players in the IPL. Taylor, who played for the Delhi Daredevils alongside Mahela Jayawardene said it could be an advantage to have that knowledge of an opponent's game, but was wary of the knowledge Sri Lanka players would be bringing to the encounter as well.

"You learn a lot about those players, but the flipside is, they know a lot about you too," Taylor said. "It's tit-for-tat when it comes to that. It's an exciting time. It's always nice to play the host country when it comes to the World Cup. They are going to be a tough opposition, but we have some form players who are doing well at the moment, so it's time for some of the other players to step up and contribute to a team win."

New Zealand head to the Super Eights, like they have often done, as unlikely semi-final candidates. On paper, they are thoroughly inferior to Sri Lanka in both the batting and bowling. If they are to inflict an upset on Thursday to begin a familiar underdogs' charge to the knockout stages, they must gain an advantage in whatever peripheral area they can. Perhaps knowledge of conditions that aren't altogether familiar to the home side either, and an understanding of their opponents' game will give New Zealand the edge to run Sri Lanka close.

Andrew Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's correspondent in Sri Lanka

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Nisal on September 27, 2012, 9:44 GMT

    dananjaya""" he is a man of tonight

  • BJ on September 27, 2012, 8:14 GMT

    To right @cuzzie1988 this is a mean looking side on paper without the hang ons's +Ryder of course thats guy is a rockstar

  • Lily on September 27, 2012, 8:08 GMT

    Looks like a wee bit of complacency here from a few fans. To early to say who'll win the tournament, but NZ have got a definite chance tonight! Would love to see my team progress, and Sri Lanka are a huge mountain to climb. Without Mendis, there's a huge let off for the Kiwi batsmen, and a bigger chance of victory!

  • Dummy4 on September 27, 2012, 8:02 GMT

    If McCullum fire again than it dosen't matter mendis is playing or not ............. game will already be over before can understand the situation ........ and if mcCullum goes cheaply than than there is a chance for Sri lanka

  • parakrama on September 27, 2012, 7:27 GMT

    In the last WC, NZ outclassed PAK in Pallekelle. Celebrating his BDay, Ross made a brilliant inning. It will be a tough day today for SL as NZ have good record in this venue.

  • Kunal on September 27, 2012, 7:01 GMT

    This group is so easy. Sri Lanka and West Indies will go through. Sri Lanka will top the group by CRUSHING minnows New Zealand, GAYle dependent WI and Lucky England. We are Lankan LIONS and WE ROAR!!!!! MEEEOOOW!

  • padmal on September 27, 2012, 3:44 GMT

    Sorry to say.... all the party's are over Sri Lanka is going to get the trophy T20, 2012. this is real start my dear.

  • Marty on September 27, 2012, 0:25 GMT

    We're not far off what our top team would be. If Jesse was available we would be at our peak. Ryder, McCullum, Guptill, Taylor, Franklin, Nicol, Oram, McCullum, Vettori, Southee, Mills should be our top XI for T20. With Williamson coming into the side for Ryder at the moment in the middle order and for Oram in the ODI side. It's about time we stopped mucking around with the likes of Ellis, de Grandhomme, McKay etc in the national setup. No more classic bits n pieces cricketers please NZC.

  • Jordan on September 26, 2012, 23:55 GMT

    Going to be honest. NZ could win tonight.

  • Corey on September 26, 2012, 23:39 GMT

    I really hope he retires after this T20 World Cup. Hes served us well when he hasn't been injured over the years but its been a steady decline over the past 2-3 years and now he is very ineffective with bat and ball since his best years of 2005-2008. he is all reputation now and cant deliver to that standard any longer

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