Friday, Nov 28, 2014

ICC World Twenty20: Sri Lanka welcome ‘lovely’ spin headache ahead of semis

Rangana Herath ripped apart New Zealand's batting order, claiming five wickets for three runs in 21 balls to put Sri Lanka in the semi-finals. (AP) Rangana Herath ripped apart New Zealand's batting order, claiming five wickets for three runs in 21 balls, to put Sri Lanka in the semi-finals. (AP)
Reuters | Mirpur | Posted: April 2, 2014 6:41 pm | Updated: April 2, 2014 8:24 pm

Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath’s magical spell against New Zealand have presented Sri Lanka with a “lovely headache” ahead of Thursday’s World Twenty20 semi-final against West Indies, coach Paul Farbrace said on Wednesday.

Picked ahead of spin colleague Ajantha Mendis who had proved expensive against England, Herath destroyed New Zealand in a 59-run romp in Chittagong on Monday.

Farbrace conceded Herath had spun a selection dilemma after claiming five wickets for three runs in 21 balls to put Sri Lanka in the semi-finals.

“It’s a lovely headache to have,” the former Kent player told reporters at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium.

“We know we got some very high-quality spin bowlers in the team. It gives us a really good headache to have. There’s been plenty discussion and there will be plenty more before the coin goes up tomorrow night I can assure you.”

Sri Lanka will have to quickly adjust to conditions in Mirpur but at least their spinners would be spared the heavy dew factor which made gripping the ball difficult in Chittagong.

“We know here the wicket will turn but again it’s about making sure we get the right pace,” Farbrace said.

“It’s not just about getting the ball to the other end. You got to bowl the right pace and I think that’s what Herath did so well in Chittagong against New Zealand. Spinners need to bowl the right pace on the right surface.”

Over the past seven years, Sri Lanka have fallen agonisingly short at global events. They lost the finals of the 50-over World Cups in 2007 and 2011 and World Twenty20 in 2009 and 2012.

Englishman Farbrace would not call it a psychological barrier.

“You could also look at it and say ‘they have done really well in most of the competitions and got to finals’. That’s where teams want to be in big events,” he said.

“We had a big win here in Asia Cup a few weeks ago. We beat India, we beat Pakistan twice. Not just winning but winning comprehensively. That gave our team a lot of confidence.

“We’ve played a lot of very close games in the last three months. When you win the, the confidence you get (makes) you believe you can win from anywhere.”

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