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'Sri Lanka's big-game experience can see them scoop T20 crown'

Features Posted 6th October 2012 view comments

The ICC World Twenty20 Final between Sri Lanka and West Indies should be a very competitive affair.

The two sides that have played the best cricket in the tournament have made it to the showpiece event and I think the experience their sets of players have gleaned from the IPL has borne fruit in Sri Lankan conditions.

Dilshan: part of an experienced Sri Lanka batting line-up

Dilshan: part of an experienced Sri Lanka batting line-up

There will be some very talented bowlers on show in Colombo, but I see this match being a showdown between Sri Lanka's batsmen's improvisation and West Indies' batsmen's brute force.

There is enormous pressure on host nation Sri Lanka and the country really expects but I think they have got the experience to absorb that now.

And in Tillakaratne Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara and Lasith Malinga they have some truly-world class performers.

I see this match being a showdown between Sri Lanka's batsmen's improvisation and West Indies' batsmen's brute force.

Bob Willis
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The first three names I've just mentioned will be charged with leading their side's batting attack and I expect West Indies skipper Darren Sammy, who has come along tremendously as a tactical captain, to hit them with spin early, a ploy that worked against Australia in the semis.

Sammy will be hoping that forces the Sri Lankans to play some rash strokes but the home side are pretty adept at dealing with spin and the Windies leader will need other ideas up his sleeve just in case.

West Indies will, of course, look to Chris Gayle for inspiration, with the powerful opener having been in tremendous form in this tournament.

The Jamaican is very difficult to contain - he mishits the ball for four and six - but he has shown during this event that he can bat in a responsible way.

He now realises his importance to the side and tries to bat through the innings, rather than just smack a quick-fire thirty.

Ability

Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard are also impressive boundary getters but the man who plays that steady role in the middle order is Marlon Samuels.

The 31-year-old, whose spin bowling was utilised in the Super Over against New Zealand earlier in the tournament, is someone the flair players can bat around and dislodging early him will be crucial for Sri Lanka.

I would say Sri Lanka have the edge in the bowling department; Windies seamer Ravi Rampaul pops up with important wickets but he does not have the ability to bowl seriously fast yorkers at will like Malinga.

And while spinner Sunil Narine has bowled very well lately, Sri Lanka's twirlers, Ajantha Mendis and Rangana Herath, should be more potent on their home track.

Sri Lanka will, therefore, want the Colombo pitch to offer some spin assistance, though I'm not sure West Indies will care what strip they are batting on.

Their mantra is 'see ball, hit ball', and they did that with devastating effect against Australia; to score 200 in 20 overs against an international side is a phenomenal achievement.

However, home advantage, the experience of playing in big finals and the fact Gayle surely has to falter at some stage, should see Sri Lanka get over the line.

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