Sri Lanka cool and committed

It will come as a surprise to the billion and more people who were consumed by Wednesday’s semifinal in Mohali, India, but the tournament does not end there.

The winner of that match, India, has to duel with an ever impressive Sri Lankan outfit, which may not garner the same obsessive passion from their fans, but which has a hungry public that loves the sport just as much.

Sri Lankans have struck a good balance between the fanatical and the interested and the tournament has done just as much for them as it has for the other two host countries, India and Bangladesh.

This is the first major sporting event held since the tsunami and the end of a bitter civil war. It’s Sri Lanka’s chance to show off the progress it has made towards peace and its development since then. It built two new stadiums for the event: the first in Hambantota, a town that was destroyed after the tsunami and a venue that is being primed to host the Commonwealth Games; the second up in the hills of Pallekelle, a ground that will probably play a part in the World T20 next year.

Both grounds and the others that have hosted matches in this tournament have been packed to capacity, even when teams like Zimbabwe have been playing. The people have embraced the event in a lighter way than those in India and Bangladesh. They enjoy the game in an almost West Indian style: relaxed, carefree and with a touch of fun. They don’t have the same dark seriousness the other two hosts have, the kind that turns cricket into life or death, not sport.

It doesn’t mean they don’t revere it. The Galle Face hotel, one of the most popular in Colombo, is best known for having hosted Donald Bradman. The Cricket Club café in the same city is dedicated to the sport, with memorabilia like Rodney Hogg’s rebel tour jacket and the bat Sir Garfield Sobers used to hit his six sixes in the 1960s. It’s all there as a reminder that Sri Lanka has as much interest in cricket and that winning the World Cup will mean just as much, if not more, than it did in 1996.

The national team knows exactly what is expected of them, as captain Kumar Sangakkara explained after their semifinal win. “Cricket has always been the panacea that has healed Sri Lanka’s wounds. Whenever cricket is played it seems as if life is back to normal and we carry that responsibility as individuals every time we play.” The word “normal” makes all the difference in that statement. It means that when the Sri Lankans walk out to a frenzied Wankhede Stadium on Saturday they will likely be the ones with the air of calm around them because of the wonderful ­normality of their beautiful island.

For all the latest Cricket World Cup news, in-depth features, match reports, scoreboards and more click here:

Advertisting

Mabuza’s ‘distant relative’ scored big

Eskom’s woes are often because of boiler problems at its power plants. R50-billion has been set aside to fix them, but some of the contracts are going to questionable entities

ANC faction gunning for Gordhan

The ambush will take place at an NEC meeting about Eskom. But the real target is Cyril Ramaphosa

What the law could clarify this year

Lawfare: Major developments are on the cards where law and politics meet, including the first amendment to South Africa’s Bill of Rights

The secret ‘Warmonger’ at the SSA

A listening device acquired by the agency is at the centre of an alleged R600-million fraud operation
Advertising

Press Releases

New-style star accretion bursts dazzle astronomers

Associate Professor James O Chibueze and Dr SP van den Heever are part of an international team of astronomers studying the G358-MM1 high-mass protostar.

2020 risk outlook: Use GRC to build resilience

GRC activities can be used profitably to develop an integrated risk picture and response, says ContinuitySA.

MTN voted best mobile network

An independent report found MTN to be the best mobile network in SA in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Is your tertiary institution is accredited?

Rosebank College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education, which is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training.

Is your tertiary institution accredited?

Rosebank College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education, which is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training.

VUT chancellor, Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi, dies

The university conferred the degree of Doctor of Science Honoris Causa on Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi for his outstanding leadership contributions to maths and science education development.

Innovate4AMR now in second year

SA's Team pill-Alert aims to tackle antimicrobial resistance by implementing their strategic intervention that ensures patients comply with treatment.

Medical students present solution in Geneva

Kapil Narain and Mohamed Hoosen Suleman were selected to present their strategic intervention to tackle antimicrobial resistance to an international panel of experts.