ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / Features
Sri Lanka v Pakistan, Group B, World Cup 2011, Colombo
Strong home record favours Sri lanka
Sri Lanka are slight favourites owing to recent form, but the toss could play a very important role in this crucial clash
February 25, 2011
Considering that Sri Lanka and Pakistan play each other much more often than most other sides, it might come as a surprise to everyone that the two teams last faced off in a World Cup game in the 1992 edition. On that occasion, Pakistan won a tightly contested game by four wickets. Pakistan have won on eight of the nine occasions that the teams have met in a global tournament including six times in World Cups and two of the three meetings in the Champions Trophy. Sri Lanka, though, can feel confident because the only win they have recorded over Pakistan came in the 2002 Champions Trophy game in Colombo, where they will play Pakistan on Saturday. Sri Lanka have been the far more consistent side in World Cups since their 1996 win. After an early exit in 1999, they made the semi-final in 2003 and the final in 2007. Pakistan, on the other hand, did not make the semi-final in 2003 and crashed out in the first round in 2007.
The early dominance that Pakistan had in head-to-head contests has waned since 2000 with Sri Lanka winning 22 matches to Pakistan's 21 since then. Sri Lanka have performed much better in home conditions against Pakistan, winning nine and losing five of the 15 matches played since 2000. In matches played since the beginning of 2008, Sri Lanka again dominate; they have won seven matches to Pakistan's three and have a 4-2 record in ODIs in Sri Lanka. The striking factor about the head-to-head matches played since 2008 is that there have been four occasions when a team has won by a margin greater than 100 runs, which does imply the possibility of a one-sided contest.
|Since Jan 2000||44||21||22||0.95|
|Since Jan 2008||10||3||7||0.42|
|In Sri Lanka (overall)||27||12||13||0.92|
|In Sri Lanka (since Jan 2008)||6||2||4||0.50|
Sri Lanka dominant in recent matches
The recent record of the two teams has been completely contrasting. Sri Lanka have won 30 out of 53 matches since the start of January 2009 and have a win-loss ratio of 1.50. Pakistan have been extremely disappointing though with 17 wins and 27 losses in matches played in that period. After a 5-0 defeat against Australia in the beginning of 2010, Pakistan played spiritedly in three tightly-contested series against England, South Africa and New Zealand. They did lose the first two 3-2, but won the series against New Zealand by the same margin. Sri Lanka have had a much better time winning the tri-series at home followed by a maiden series victory in Australia.
Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara played superbly in the first match of the World Cup and have been impressive in matches against Pakistan in the last two years. Tillakaratne Dilshan stands out though with an average over 90 and a strike rate close to 100 in the last four matches against Pakistan. Younis Khan's return to form lends stability to Pakistan's middle order, but the key will be the form of Shahid Afridi and Umar Akmal, both of who have strike rates over 100. Misbah-ul-Haq, who otherwise has been prolific, has had a relatively quiet time against Sri Lanka.
|Mahela Jayawardene||Sri Lanka||9||315||35.00||87.25||1||1|
|Kumar Sangakkara||Sri Lanka||9||287||35.87||80.84||0||1|
|Tillakaratne Dilshan||Sri Lanka||4||273||91.00||95.78||1||1|
|Upul Tharanga||Sri Lanka||6||194||32.33||73.48||0||2|
Variety in attacks
Both teams possess excellent variety in the bowling attack with a good mix of pace and spin. The ability to reverse swing the ball consistently makes Umar Gul and Abdul Razzaq dangerous in the subcontinent. Afridi, who boasts two five-wicket hauls in recent years, has become an extremely important bowler in the attack. The economical Saeed Ajmal lends more potency to the attack and will be a huge threat if given the opportunity to defend a competitive target.
Nuwan Kulasekara and Lasith Malinga have been Sri Lanka's best fast bowlers in the last two years. Malinga's unorthodox action, coupled with his accuracy, is a huge asset in the end overs. Ajantha Mendis' variations and Muttiah Muralitharan's experience will be a huge factor in home conditions. Muralitharan, the highest wicket taker in ODIs against Pakistan, has not had a great record in recent matches, but will undoubtedly be aiming to end his World Cup career on a high.
|Nuwan Kulasekara||Sri Lanka||43||58||28.12||4.73||1||0|
|Lasith Malinga||Sri Lanka||24||35||30.28||5.16||1||1|
|Ajantha Mendis||Sri Lanka||29||35||32.54||4.80||1||0|
|Muttiah Muralitharan||Sri Lanka||24||31||31.58||4.68||0||0|
Evenly balanced teams
In ODIs since 2009, Sri Lanka have performed much better than Pakistan against both pace and spin. They average 30.54 to Pakistan's 25.25 against pace bowling, while scoring at a higher run-rate (5.62 to 4.97). They average higher against spin too (38.94 to 31.44), but Pakistan score at a slightly better rate (5.07 to 4.89).
Sri Lanka have by far been the better side in the first 15 overs, scoring at a better rate and possessing a better economy rate than Pakistan. Both teams have scored at a similar rate in the middle overs (16-40), but Pakistan have been slightly more economical in this phase. Pakistan's explosive lower order has boosted their total on many occasions and this is reflected in their run rate of 7.40 in the last ten overs. However, Sri Lanka have been the better bowling side in the final overs, conceding less than seven runs per over.
|Team||Overs||Run rate||Batting avg||Economy rate||Bowling avg||Run rate difference|
Batting first the better choice
Between 2000 and March 2006, the team batting first won 26 and lost 13 matches at the R Premadasa Stadium. Since July 2007, when matches resumed at the renovated ground, the record has been 14-3. Under lights, chasing has been near impossible with teams managing only two wins in 14 matches.
In matches till 2005, spinners performed slightly better than pace bowlers in matches played at the venue. But since 2007, though spinners remain the more economical, the fast bowlers have been much more successful, picking up a much higher number of wickets at a better average than spinners. Spinners though, have been exceptional in the second innings: they have picked up 54 wickets at an average of 22.64 and conceded just 4.34 runs per over.
The stadium has been thoroughly renovated for the World Cup, though and the pitch re-laid.
© ESPN EMEA Ltd.
Mustafizur, Mosaddek, Mehidy, Nazmul - where did they all come from? By Mohammad Isam
Mark Nicholas: England's recklessness in the name of positivity is a sign that the art of batting in the longest format is no longer given due attention
Imran Yusuf ponders an age-old question
The Cricket Monthly
On tour in the UK, Firdose Moonda witnesses a fine comeback, visits the country's oldest pub, and squeezes in some yoga lessons