West Indies v Sri Lanka, Super Eights, Guyana March 31, 2007

Lara and the Murali factor

Dileep V

Brian Lara averages nearly 51 against Sri Lanka © Getty Images

  • West Indies and Sri Lanka have played 42 one-day internationals of which West Indies have won 24 and Sri Lanka 17. However, the majority of West Indian wins have come before 2000, since then Sri Lanka have won eight of 11 matches. They've met five times in World Cups, West Indies winning four times and Sri Lanka's only win coming in the 2003 World Cup.

  • West Indies haven't had steady openers against Sri Lanka and this has affected the outcome of their clashes. They average 29 per wicket against Sri Lanka since 2000, which is significantly lower than the overall 35.19 for the first wicket. Their run-rate in the first 15 overs has been only 3.4 an over at 23.96 per wicket.

    Sri Lanka's openers have fared only slightly better than their West Indian counterparts. Since 2002 they average 30.72 for the first wicket against their 25.95 against West Indies. Sri Lanka have scored at 4.11 per over during the first 15 overs but they have lost fewer wickets during this period and average 56.54 per dismissal.

    Performance of openers in the first 15 overs since Jan 2002
    Batsman Innings Runs Dismissals Average Balls Strike Rate
    Chris Gayle 119 2890 71 40.7 3665 79
    Shivnarine Chanderpaul 63 1022 21 48.66 1711 60
    Sanath Jayasuriya 125 2996 83 36.09 3356 89
    Upul Tharanga 42 935 26 35.96 1284 73

  • Even with the class of Brian Lara, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Marlon Samuels, West Indies haven't been able to stamp their authority on Sri Lanka's spinners during the middle overs. Since 2002 they have scored at 3.80 per over between the 15th and 40th overs. During the same period Muttiah Muralitharan has conceded just three runs per over and has taken 6 wickets at 23.33. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, have played marginally better. They score at just over four an over at a healthy average of 38.25.

  • Neither team has power-hitters to boast of during the slog, though in Dwayne Smith Windies have a genuine belter of the ball. West Indies have scored at 6.09 per over during the final overs, which is far higher than Sri Lanka's 5.52.

    Players' performance in the last 10 overs since Jan 2006
    Batsman Balls Runs Dismissals Average Strike Rate
    Tillakaratne Dilshan 288 298 14 21.28 103
    Farveez Maharoof 230 245 11 22.27 107
    Dwayne Bravo 165 192 6 32 116

  • West Indian fortunes will hinge on how Brian Lara handles both Chaminda Vaas and Muralitharan. Lara's facility with spin makes him a crucial factor in today's game. Since 2002 he has not been dismissed by Muralitharan and his strike rate against him is 77. However, to get to Muralitharan, Lara will have to see off Vaas, against whom he averages only 15 with a strike-rate of just 21. Lara isn't the only West Indian batsman to struggle against Vaas in recent matches.

    Chaminda Vaas v West Indies batsmen since 2002
    Batsman Innings Runs Dismissals Average Balls Strike Rate
    Chris Gayle 7 42 3 14 107 39
    Brian Lara 6 15 1 15 70 21
    Ramnaresh Sarwan 5 11 1 11 29 38

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