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Pakistan V Sri Lanka – ICC World Twenty20 Final

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ICC World Twenty20 – Final, Lord’s 15.00, 21st June 2009

Match Betting Preview

Sri Lanka go into Sunday’s World Twenty20 Final as 8/11 favourites with the bookmakers against Pakistan at Lord’s. In a stroke of irony two countries with their own domestic problems have a chance to give their people something to look forward too in today’s Final – and also with the two sides contesting this Final, show the terrrorists who attacked Sri Lanka in Lahore earlier this year that they failed.

Sri Lanka added another potent weapon to their three reliable main bowlers in Angelo Mathews when he took three West Indies wickets in the opening over of their Semi-Final. Tillakaratne Dilshan also continued with his outstanding T20 form with an unbeaten 96, he is by far the highest run scorer in this tournament with 317 runs to date.

Shahid Afridi made a welcome return to form in Pakistan’s Semi-Final victory over South Africa with 51 runs with the bat and 2 wickets with the ball. His bowling to date has been fine, it’s with the bat that he has struggled so his 51 runs is an added bonus to the Pakistan team.

There are many key battle grounds in this contest, there will be Afridi taking on the spinners, Mendis and Muralitharan in the middle overs of the innings, this is an important time for Pakistan as most of Sri Lanka’s opponents have been bogged down during this period of the match – forcing players to throw away their wickets in a desperate pursuit of runs, meaning they can’t attack as strongly in the latter stages.

How the Sri Lankan openers get on against the opening bowling of Razzaq and Mohammad Aamer will be important as well as Umar Gul has been almost unplayable with his death bowling since the start of the Super Eights, as a result of Gul’s performances of late Sri Lanka will probally target the early overs to get the bulk of their runs, it is also where the Sri Lankans main batting strenghts are with Jayasuriya and Dilshan.

Gul’s recent performances have been remarkable, causing New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori to question the honesty of his skills. One thing that can’t be called into question is his remarkably accurate yorker which has become unplayable. If Pakistan bat first and I was in Sri Lanka’s boots I wouldn’t want to be needing many runs of his last over.

The fact that the tournaments top five wicket takers are playing in this match is no coincidence, in a format of the game once thought to be just a batsmans game, the bowlers have improved no end with developing new deliveries and tricks to regain some of the edge they lost when T20 first started. Mendis, Gul, Ajmal, Malinga and Afridi lead the way in the wickets and add to that the cunning of Muralitharan and you have six top class performers showing the rest of the worlds bowlers how to adapt to this format of the game. How the batsmen cope with and counter these inventive bowlers could be the key to this match and title.

Match Betting Odds

Sri Lanka are 8/11 with Paddy Power and Stan James
Pakistan are 13/10 with Totesport

The teams are expected to lin up the same as in their respective Semi-Finals.

Pakistan – Kamran Akmal (WK), Shahzaid Hasan, Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Younis Khan (C), Misbah-ul-Haq, Abdul Razzaq, Fawad Alam, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Mohammad

Sri Lanka – Sanath Jayasuriya, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara (C & WK), Mahela Jayawardene, Chamara Silva, Jehan Mubarak, Angelo Mathews, Isuru Udana, Lasith Malinga, Muttiah Muralitharan, Ajantha Mendis.

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