PALLEKELE, Sri Lanka /// Muttiah Muralitharan's lap of honour at the World Cup makes a stop in his hometown tomorrow when Sri Lanka take on Zimbabwe in a Group A match in a new stadium on the outskirts of Kandy.
The leading wicket taker in both Test and limited-overs cricket is retiring after the World Cup, and is desperate to help Sri Lanka win the tournament for a second time.
Knowing that a win over Zimbabwe will go a long way to securing a place in the quarter-finals, there is no chance Muralitharan and the rest of the Sri Lankans will take the struggling African line-up lightly.
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"Our focus is on the immediate game that's coming up," Kumar Sangakkara, the captain, said, cutting short questions about quarter-final permutations. "It doesn't matter really until you qualify. It doesn't really matter where you finish up, you need to beat every single team, every good team to get into the final to win the World Cup."
The Sri Lankans went into the tournament among the favourites for the title, but have already had a loss - by 11 runs to Pakistan, the 1992 champions - and had to share the points against Australia, the three-time defending champions. The Sri Lankans batted 32 overs in Colombo before the match against Australia was washed out by heavy rain.
It was an anticlimax to one of the most anticipated matches of the group stage, being a replay of the 2007 final which Australia won in Barbados.
That was the fourth consecutive World Cup final Australia featured in, starting the sequence with a loss to a Sri Lankan line-up featuring Muralitharan in 1996 before winning three titles in succession.
Even without a chance to bowl in their last game, Sri Lanka should be too powerful for Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe's batting line-up has twice crumbled in losses to Australia and New Zealand, but was solid enough to ensure a win over Canada.
Charles Coventry and Brendan Taylor, the opening batsmen, have failed so far to give their team a decent start and will again be tested by the likes of Lasith Malinga, the Sri Lanka pace bowler.
"It is always hard against a bigger team," Elton Chigumbura, the captain, admitted after a 10-wicket loss to New Zealand.
Zimbabwe recovered well after losing the openers against Canada with Tatenda Taibu and Craig Ervine scoring half centuries in a strong total of 298 for nine.
But against New Zealand, the top order again struggled against pace and they were dismissed for 162.
"Most guys have got 10 runs and get out, but if they get their eye in, they are capable of scoring," Chigumbura said.
Zimbabwe have not given up hope, and are trying to emulate the big upset win which Ireland produced against England when they chased down a target of 328 with Kevin O'Brien scoring the fastest World Cup century off 50 balls.
To even be competitive, Zimbabwe will have to rely heavily on Ray Price, their veteran left-arm spinner, to cause trouble for Sri Lanka.
He is expected to open the bowling again as he has in the last three matches.
But that could play into the hands of a Sri Lanka batting line-up featuring the likes of Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene and Thilan Samaraweera, all highly experienced against spin in all conditions.