History suggests Sri Lanka have always done well at home
by Asher Wilson

Ground:Mahinda Rajapaksha International Cricket Stadium, Hambantota
Scorecard:Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe
Event:ICC World Twenty20 2012/13

DateLine: 18th September 2012


Sri Lanka vs Zimbabwe, Preview, 18 September 2012
T20 World Cup
1st Group C Match


The hosts Sri Lanka, will begin their journey on the twisty road to possibly become the T20 World Champions with the added big advantage of playing in home conditions as the T20 World Cup 2012 kick starts today. History suggests they have always done well at home.


Lasith Malinga's unplayable yorkers, Tillakaratne Dilshan's quick accumulation of runs, the spin of Ajantha Mendis and cool captaincy of Mahela Jayawardene count as the other advantages. Kumar Sangakkara, Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal also provide stability to their batting. Once settled in a rhythm, Thisara Perera's big shots are a treat to watch. Almost all their players are in supreme form following the involvement in the recent SPL but Malinga's recent poor form could bring some frowns on Sri Lankan brows. On top, bearing the pressure of playing and performing in front of home fans could also be a bit troublesome.


Unorthodox spinner Ajantha Mendis has also been recalled for the event. The 15-member team will include two new faces, 19-year-old off-spinner Akhila Dhananjaya and Dilshan Munaweera. Akhila Dhananjaya was rewarded with the position in the team after his impressive performance in last month's Sri Lanka Premier League Twenty20 competition.


Sri Lanka Squad for T20 World Cup 2012: Mahela Jayawardene (captain), Kumar Sangakkara, Angelo Mathews, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Dilshan Munaweera, Lahiru Thirimanne, Jeevan Mendis, Thisara Perera, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Kulasekara, Ajantha Mendis, Rangana Herath, Shaminda Eranga, Dinesh Chandimal and Akhila Dhananjaya.


On the other hand, Zimbabwe have the oft demonstrated ability to surprise. Nobody will ever forget how they stunned Australia in the inaugural World T20 in 2007. Brendan Taylor, a strong performer led the side through to a successful comeback and has kept the badge for longer than most of his counterparts. Taylor's multi-tasking ability which includes batting and wicket keeping and the guile and experience of left-arm spinner Ray Price, would be crucial strength in the team while Tatenda Taibu, who has retired, will be missed. The team lacks big names and has several players who do not have much international T20 experience. The fresh blood in the team will be craving to showcase their talent and skills and it's great opportunity to be part of a good tournament. Hopefully they can live up to their 'causing an upset' reputation.


Zimbabwe Squad for T20 World Cup 2012: Brendan Taylor (capt), Vusi Sibanda, Hamilton Masakadza, Stuart Matsikenyeri, Malcolm Waller, Elton Chigumbura, Craig Ervine, Graeme Cremer, Ray Price, Kyle Jarvis, Chris Mpofu, Richard Muzhange, Brian Vitori, Prosper Utseya, Forster Mutizwa


In this Group C, pundits predict that the Mahela Jayawardene-led hosts and the Proteas should walk into the Super Eight stage. But first they need to contend with Zimbabwe who have much to play for.


Sri Lanka, again have an opportunity to deliver on home turf and enthrall fans in ICC World Twenty20 2012.

(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
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