Sri Lanka run into hot Australia
Match FactsSunday, May 9, Bridgetown
Start time 1330 (1730 GMT)
The Big Picture
The last time Australia and Sri Lanka played in Barbados was the 2007 World Cup final, an ODI which finished in darkness and with a third global trophy in a row for Ricky Ponting. Both teams have changed considerably since then, with Australia having only four players in the Caribbean who appeared in that game and Sri Lanka six.
Each side enters their second Super Eight encounter with bright hopes after they were successful in the opening fixtures. Australia have shown their power and no signs of the slips that have softened up their previous two World Twenty20 campaigns. Following group victories against Pakistan and Bangladesh and a convincing 49-run win over India, they are the form team of the competition.
Sri Lanka, who stumbled in the tournament-opener against New Zealand, lost the rust that their board complained publicly about with a 57-run thrashing of West Indies on Friday. Both teams have on-song batsmen at the top of the order while their bowling attacks are also clicking. Whoever wins will probably have done enough to earn a spot in the semi-finals, so there is extra motivation in this compelling fixture.
Form guide (most recent first)Australia WWWTW
Sri Lanka WWLLW
Watch out for...
Mahela Jayawardene is the player of the tournament so far and a shining example for the team. In only three matches he has flooded 279 runs at 139.50, with a strike-rate of 163.15, and done it while being true to the roots of his traditional technique. If Jayawardene can keep his streak going - he has scores of 81, 100 and 98 - he can carry Sri Lanka to the final.
In comparison to Jayawardene's heroics, Shane Watson isn't doing anything that stunning. However, Watson and his partner David Warner are quickly forging a reputation as the most feared combination in the game. Watson has two half-centuries in his collection of 139 runs at 46.33, along with a strike-rate of 157.95. Sri Lanka will increase their chances of success if they take care of this brutal pair.
Mitchell Johnson returned against India as Australia chose their preferred XI, and there will be no need to change unless Johnson's elbow infection flares. With their batsmen and bowlers firing, Australia have no concerns.
Australia (probable) 1 David Warner, 2 Shane Watson, 3 Michael Clarke (capt), 4 Brad Haddin (wk), 5 David Hussey, 6 Cameron White, 7 Michael Hussey, 8 Steven Smith, 9 Mitchell Johnson, 10 Dirk Nannes, 11 Shaun Tait.
Muttiah Muralitharan is out of the tournament after re-injuring his groin against West Indies and will leave a big hole. This should give another chance to the offspinner Suraj Randiv, who stepped in for Murali against Zimbabwe, or the last-minute replacement Thilan Thushara.
Sri Lanka (possible) 1 Sanath Jayasuriya, 2 Mahela Jayawardene, 3 Kumar Sangakkara (capt, wk), 4 Chamara Kapugedera, 5 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 6 Angelo Mathews, 7 Thissara Perera, 8 Lasith Malinga, 9 Ajantha Mendis, 10 Nuwan Kulasekara, 11 Suraj Randiv.
Pitch and conditions
This is the final game of the Super Eight stage in Barbados before the tournament heads back to St Lucia. The surface has suited the bounce of the Australian fast bowlers and the Sri Lankan batsmen can expect a lot of short balls. Another warm day is predicted for Kensington Oval.
Stats and trivia
- Mahela Jayawardene needs another 39 runs to overhaul Tillakaratne Dilshan's World Twenty20 tournament record of 317, which was set last year. Jayawardene has already passed Matthew Hayden's haul of 265 in South Africa in 2007
- The last time the teams played Sri Lanka knocked Australia out of the 2009 World Twenty20 in Nottingham. Australia won the only other exchange they have had in this format, which occurred in the 2007 event
- Michael Clarke dropped himself down the order and didn't get a hit against India. He hasn't batted in T20 internationals six times and on five of those occasions Australia have won
Quotes"Whatever the role you're given, you back yourself to contribute. Opening the batting gives you more time, it suits my game."
"If we can continue to make totals like that, with our bowling and the way we're fielding, it's going to be hard for opposition teams to beat us."
Michael Clarke has faith in his men after they disposed of India
Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.