|HOME | WORLD CUP 99 | SRI LANKA | OPINION | ASANKA GURUSINGHE|
|April 14, 1999||
The 1996 World Cup was a batsman’s tournament. Stars like Sanath, Sachin, Aravinda, Mark Waugh and Gary Kirsten were all in the running for the coveted ‘Player of the World Cup’ award. Fighting off strong competition from Sachin and Mark, Sri Lanka’s master blaster Jayasuriya walked away with the award plus the beautiful Audi.
With the 1999 World Cup just days away, there’s plenty of speculation as to who will take the honours this time. Its no secret that one day cricket is dominated by batsmen -- however, in the 1999 World cup, I believe that the key to the success of the winning team will be in the hands of a bowler.
The best one day cricketing talent from twelve countries will be on show from the 14th of May until the 20th of June to decide who will be crowned as the World Champions. One-day cricket is undoubtedly the best form of entertainment for the cricket lover, who thrives on the suspense and the thrills that it brings. Each ball bowled and each catch taken could change the game so much, that no one can predict how the game would end until the last ball is bowled. What brings the excitement to a climax is when individual battles are fought between rivals, sometimes deciding the final outcome of the game.
Lets look at some of the individuals that will be worth watching. Sanath versus Pollock is going to be a good battle. Sanath has not performed well against South Africa. Pollock has always troubled him by bowling very straight and fast, not giving him enough room to play his favourite cut shot. This tactic has worked well for the Proteas as a frustrated Sanath has, more often than not, gifted his wicket to them. Sanath, being aware of this, will be making every effort to get on top of Pollock's bowling and give Sri Lanka the start they desire.
How about Sachin versus Donald? Against the South African swing and pace attack, Sachin has been somewhat vulnerable. If Sachin is given the opportunity to settle in, he will demolish any bowling attack. Donald is no newcomer to the game, and therefore will be going all out to get Sachin's prize wicket, as the Proteas know that Sachin alone holds the key to India’s success. Sachin, who had a brilliant World Cup in 1996, will be hoping to do the same if not better to ensure India makes it to the finals.
Lara is in cracking form. If he’s able to continue in the same vein during the upcoming World Cup, he’s sure to have the opposing teams on a leather hunt. There is one bowler who has troubled Lara right throughout his brilliant career, namely, McGrath. Both being brilliant in their own fields, it has always been a hard fought battle for supremacy. Neither party has succumbed easily to the other, which makes the tussle ever so entertaining. This would be one encounter that I would pay money to watch as there’s bound to be a few pleasantries exchanged as well.
The most eagerly watched battle in the sub-continent would be the one between Sanath and Sachin. There have been many comparisons made between these two players in one day cricket. Whether it be with the ball or the bat, both these players can turn a game in their favour. In the 1996 World Cup semi-final, Sanath took three crucial wickets that helped Sri Lanka into the finals. Sachin will not want a repeat of this performance as he would not want to finish in the losing side again.
If there is one game I’d like to watch from the grandstand, India versus Sri Lanka will be my pick.
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