Lanka, Australia to battle for spot in semis

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Australia and Sri Lanka face off on Sunday in a Super Eight game with the winner's prize being a semifinal berth in the World Twenty20 here.

Updated: May 09, 2010 06:31 IST
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High on confidence after imposing wins in their previous matches, Australia and Sri Lanka face off on Sunday in a Super Eight game with the winner's prize being a semifinal berth in the World Twenty20 here.

Considered Twenty20 duds before they landed in the Caribbean, the Australians have done well so far and are fast emerging as title contenders.

The Sri Lankans, on the other hand, have been their usual consistent self, quietly making their progress in the tournament.

With both the teams in fine form, it's hard to pick a favourite for tomorrow as they seem evenly matched in all departments of the game.

The Aussies, led by Michael Clarke, have a power-packed batting line up and perhaps the most destructive opening pair in the tournament in David Warner and Shane Watson.

Warner, who dealt mostly in sixes against India yesterday, has been unstoppable so far and it would be quite a task for the Lankan bowlers to contain the stocky left-hander, who is an excellent fielder too.

Watson, on the other hand, adds value to the Aussie team with not just his batting but also his medium pace.

The imposing all-rounder, who struggled with injuries in the early part of his career, has become almost indispensable in the Australian line-up.

Adding to their batting power are the Hussey brothers --David and Mike -- with the former being the big-hitter and the latter being the partnership-builder.

Clarke himself is an established batsman and with all-rounder Cameron White coming in late in the order, Australia have a fairly long and formidable line-up.

The bowling too is equally well-balanced. The pace trio of Dirk Nannes, Shaun Tait and Doug Bollinger have rattled opposition batting consistently though the spin department remains slightly suspect as Steven Smith is yet to make much of an impression.

The Lankans, meanwhile, also have a strong batting order to boast of with Mahela Jayawardene and skipper Kumar Sangakkara in fine form, as was evident in their 57-run triumph over the West Indies yesterday.

But ageing warhorse Sanath Jayasuriya's form remains a concern for the Islanders. On the bowling front, they have pretty strong pace attack in Nuwan Kulasekara, Angelo Mathews and Lasith Malinga. With confusion continuing over Muttiah Muralitharan's fitness status, Ajantha Mendis has been spearheading the spin department.

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