The 2011 World Cup finalists had contrasting victories on Sunday. Sri Lanka had to dig deep in order overcome a resurgent Afghanistan bowling attack. India, on the other hand made a statement of intent and authority by running rampant against the South Africans.
Jayawardene and Mathews got together to steer the Sri Lankans within distance of a below par Afghanistan total. Then came in Thisara Perrera and made short work of the total by dispatching the bowlers to all corners of the park. In the end Sri Lanka chased down 233 with ten balls to spare, but the top order was rattled by some fine bowling by the Afghans. A pity that they couldn’t cross the finish line.
Shikhar Dhawan led India’s charge against South Africa by scoring a beautiful 137. His shot making was majestic but the best thing about his innings was that he looked in total control throughout, which is not what you expect from Shikhar Dhawan. Rahane provided good support at the other end and his timely big shots helped India put up a score of 307 on the board.
The South African chase lacked fluency, it lacked application on the part of the batsmen and boy did they have to pay for it. Only Du Plesis got going but he too looked shaky and out of sorts. De Villers’ run out was the turning point of the game and from then on Ashwin just dominated the lower middle order.
We sometimes underestimate the Indian bowling attack. Or did they just pull off a performance that is hard to replicate in the near future? We hope not.
England vs Scotland
So much of tension and despair surrounds the English camp at this stage. It becomes really difficult to think straight when clouds of self-doubt hover around. But such a situation demands bold decisions and England have to take some.
Alex Hales should come in for Ballance and Finn should make way for Jordan. Finn was woeful in the previous game and even though he has a hattrick to his name in this tournament, he has been bowling pretty ordinary stuff.
Scotland haven’t shown much promise. Yes, they did give New Zealand a scare by picking up 7 wickets in a short run chase but then that was because of the needless urgency that the Kiwis tried to employ while chasing 142.
Again, everything depends on the toss.
The swing friendly conditions in Christchurch would assist the team who bowl first. England have been awful in this tournament but I expect them to get their act together and beat Scotland tomorrow. Anderson and Broad could be lethal tomorrow.
Scotland got bowled out against New Zealand the last time round and I don’t expect them to bat the full 50 overs this time too. Bring in at least two English bowlers in your side, go in with three if you are feeling a bit greedy. I already have Broad in my team and I’ll bring in Anderson. If England bowl first, get Woakes or Jordan too, and you might end up with a 500-700 point game tomorrow. Also, I already have Joe Root in my side.
But if England bat first, you need to get one Scotland bowler in your side. The added advantage being that Scotland play Afghanistan on Thursday in Dunedin. Josh Davey and Iain Wardlaw could make it to your side. Davey would be a better pick as he has a better career average and strike rate than Wardlaw.
Power Player pick
James Anderson is my Power Player for the day.
Trump Card for the day
Josh Davey is my trump card for the day.
With just 8 games left in first stage, switch gears, put your foot on the pedal and go for the win. Do check out this space for Day 10 analysis and Day 11 fantasy picks.