26 April 2007

Can they be stopped?

Pakistan in '99, India in '03. Will the subcontinent be third time lucky? Will Bangladesh lose in the 2011 finals?

Will Sri Lanka suffer the same fate? Will the Aussie penchant for the big occasion prove too much to handle for Lankan wristiness, elegance and joy? For me, that is the key, and that is where India faltered in the 2003 final and how South Africa got so badly outclassed yesterday. Come the big occasion and at least three Aussies put their hands up, and usually that is enough. Where others wilt under the pressure of the spotlight, the Aussies have been able to raise their game. And that will be Sri Lanka's test too. Will they, like South Africa did, buckle under pressure and lose soft wickets at the top of the order? If they do, Shaun Tait will shoot to kill the middle order. Will Malinga, like Zaheer in 2003, lose it? What counts in Sri Lanka's favour is that they have three men who have been there and done that a decade ago.

Level-heads will help of course.