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Aussies walking a fine line against Sri Lanka

Australia is on the brink of an early exit at the Twenty20 World Championship ahead if its do-or-die clash with Sri Lanka on Monday evening.

They say that Twenty20 cricket tosses up plenty of surprises.

Well, try this one for size.

Sri Lanka will play its first match of the T20 World Championship on Monday evening at Trent Bridge against Australia.

Win it and they are guaranteed a spot in the Super Eights.

That's right - one match, one win and they are through to the next phase of the tournament.

It's all due to Australia's drubbing at the hands of West Indies at The Oval on Saturday.

Another Australian loss and their tilt at the title will be over.

Despite being the number ranked Test team in the world and the winners of the past three 50-over World Cups, the Australian team has never quite looked at ease in the game's most abbreviated format.

They head to Nottingham looking to snap a four-match losing streak in the 20-over format.

The key areas of concern for Ricky Ponting is clearly the way his team performed in the first six overs of both innings against the Windies.

Ponting, along with Shane Watson and Michael Clarke, all fell inside the first four overs of Australia's innings.

That prevented them from applying any pressure during the powerplay, where just two men are allowed outside the field restriction circles.

A score of 3 for 35 after the initial six overs left them playing catch-up for the remainder of the innings.

Then, when it was the Windies' turn to bat, the pyrotechnics were really on display.

Chris Gayle and Andre Fletcher thumped 83 runs off the first six overs.

Brett Lee was reduced to cannon fodder, with his first three overs going for 10, 14 and 27 runs.

Surely, he'll be rested for the Aussies' second match with either Peter Siddle or Ben Hilfenhaus to get the nod.

Interestingly, already in this tournament the spinners have had an impact, often going for les than the quicks, which may see Australia lean towards the team's only specialist tweaker, Nathan Hauritz.

The Australians will walk a fine line at Trent Bridge.

Firstly, they must win.

Secondly, they need to do so in a fashion that gives a fillip to their parlous run-rate as a result of their first-up capitulation.

But, even if they do post their first victory of the tournament, they'll have a nervous wait to see what happens in the final match in their pool when West Indies take on Sri Lanka at Trent Bridge on Wednesday.

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