Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Consistency vs Unpredictability at the World Twenty20 Semi Finals

At the business end of the World Twenty20, we have two teams that have displayed consistency and professionalism to reach the semi finals on the back of unbeaten runs.

On the other hand, we have two teams that at best are unpredictable and volatile that have got this far through their inconsistent bursts of flair, aggression, and individual brilliance.

Here's a look at the two semi finals of the World Twenty20.

South Africa vs Pakistan

Billing: Battle of the Bowlers

Pre-Tournament Calls: One was labeled as the favorites for the title; the other I labeled as the favorites.

The Past: They have clashed only once before in a T20 international that South Africa won, almost 3 years ago. South Africa have never gone beyond the semi final stage of an ICC World Cup tournament. The last 3 times Pakistan reached the semi finals of an ICC World Cup, they went on to play the final.

The Now: South Africa are unbeaten and also in the middle of a 7-match winning streak in T20 internationals, the most by any team. Pakistan have had an easy route to the final four having beaten only New Zealand, Netherlands, and Ireland.

Key Players: 2 of the 3 leading run scorers are from South Africa - AB and Kallis; top 2 leading wicket takers are from Pakistan - Gul and Ajmal.

Strengths: 6 of the 10 leading wicket takers are from Pakistan and South Africa - Afridi, Van Der Merwe, Parnell, and Steyn in addition to the above 2.

Weaknesses: While South Africa's batting on paper looks extremely powerful, their 128 against New Zealand, 19 overs to chase 112 against England, and 130 against India were hardly convincing.

Pakistan's batting has hardly fired with their highest scores coming against Netherlands and Ireland, and their key batsmen failing miserably in run chases against England and Sri Lanka.

Meaning of Victory: South Africa to shed the chokers tag, Pakistan to show that they can compete with the best.

Q's Call: The team that bats first will win. I don't think either team has the batting to chase down a total, while both have the bowling to defend any kind of score.

Sri Lanka vs West Indies

Billing: Battle of the Dark Horses & Survivors of the Group of Death

Pre-Tournament Calls: Neither was expected to get this far, while one was expected to go home before the Super 8s.

The Past: They have clashed only once before in a T20 international, a week ago in a match that Sri Lanka won. The last time West Indies played an ICC World Cup semi final was 13 years ago, while Sri Lanka played one in 2007 and went on to play the final.

The Now: Sri Lanka are unbeaten. West Indies have only lost to the unbeaten teams and have come this far by beating Australia, India, and England against all odds.

Key Players: Dilshan is the leading run scorer; Bravo is the 4th highest run scorer. Malinga and Mendis are among the 5 leading wicket takers; Bravo is in the top 10.

Strengths: Sri Lanka have relied on Dilshan for fiery starts, while Jayasuriya, Sanga, and Jayawardene have chipped in every now and then; the Triple Ms have been completely unplayable with the ball.

West Indies, on the other hand, have relied on the individual brilliance of a Gayle, a Bravo, or a Simmons to win them games.

Weaknesses: Sri Lanka's batting is very top heavy; early breakthroughs could leave them in dire straits. West Indies need to rally around like a team and not rely on individuals to take them through.

Meaning of Victory: West Indies to play a final at Lord's after 26 years, Sri Lanka to set right a 10-year old title defence gone wrong.

Q's Call: Tough one. Majority of my calls have been wrong and I don't want to jinx the team I would like to see in the final.

For more about the 10 years of unfulfilled dreams of the 4 nations involved in the semi finals, read this.

It all gets underway tomorrow; will the role models of consistency trump the flair, or will the unpredictables rise to the occasion?

Make your pitch on this post...

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6 Pitched:

  1. ZQ said...

    Tough to call either game!


    If I am not mistaken the '96 WC semifinals were SL V IND and AUS V WI. So both SL and WI made it to the semifinals togethor and ofcourse SL went on to win that WC.

  2. Wasim said...

    I think SriLank will win against West Indies and South Africa against Pakistan.

    Pakistan can beat South Africa but my only concern is their top batsmen always score heavily against our bowlers.

    If Razzak and Aamer manage to bowl a good opening spell and manage to get two early wickets Pakistan will have a good chance but if SA got a good start then it will be hard for Pakistan to make a come back.

    I really don't expect Shahzaib to fire against South Africa. Even sending Afridi at #3 or #4 will not work as he has never been comforatble against the short stuff. Ideally he should be sent in when the spinners are on.

    Pakistan's top batsmen Akmal, Younis, Malik and Misbah will have to score. I expect Malik and Misbah to deliver in this match one of them will have to pull out a special performance.

    Personally I am expecting a lot from Malik and Misbah they cannot disappoint their fans.

  3. Q said...


    U r right abt 96.. I missed that for some reason. Have changed it in the post. Thanx!

  4. Q said...


    Lets hope ur wrong :-)

    I am also expecting a lot from Misbah and Malik - I hope they come good.

    Afridi up the order may also be a risk.. may be razzaq this time.

    Lets c what strategy they go in with and hope for the best!

  5. straight point said...

    Q...its pak vs sri lanka...

    perfect mix of consistency vs unpredictability... :)

  6. Q said...


    Aapke mu mein ghee shakkar! :-)

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