Time: July 28, 8 PM IST
Venue: R.Premadasa Stadium, Colombo
The ball swung beautifully in the powerplays on Sunday. The pitch had more grass resting on it than what we saw in the ODIs, and perhaps, the ball moves more under the lights at Colombo. In addition, the spinners continued to make breakthroughs. All in all, it’s a sporting wicket.
Sri Lanka missed Bhanuka Rajapaksa’s aggression at the top. Sri Lanka went on the defensive after losing the first wicket.
Probable XI for Sri Lanka: Avishka Fernando, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Minod Bhanuka (wk), Dhananjaya de Silva, Charith Asalanka, Dasun Shanaka (c), Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Isuru Udana, Dushmantha Chameera, Akila Dananjaya
Probable XI for India: Shikhar Dhawan (c), Prithvi Shaw, Sanju Samson, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan (wk), Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Varun Chakravarthy
India did not change the winning XI after the first ODI and are likely to approach the same process in the T20I series.
Probable 11 for India:
We have opted for a fantasy cricket team based on the recent performances, overall impact, and credit points.
Players To Watch Out For
Bhuvneshwar Kumar has now won the Player of the Match award in consecutive matches, for his 2 for 15 in a high-scoring game against England and 4 for 22 in the previous match. He swung the new ball and later bowled change-of-pace deliveries at the death.
Suryakumar Yadav’s scores in T20Is read 57, 32, and 50. In the ODIs, he scored 31*, 53, and 40. Everything he touches turns to gold.
Charith Asalanka kept Sri Lanka’s hopes alive, despite losing wickets at the other end. For him, the pitch was featherbed. His 44-run knock included 3 sixes and as many fours.
Wanindu Hasaranga continued to be the game-changer for Sri Lanka. He took two important scalps of Sanju Samson and Suryakumar, bringing Sri Lanka back in the game.
Dushmantha Chameera has been Sri Lanka’s best bowler in white-ball cricket this year. He sent back Prithvi Shaw with a lovely away-going delivery off the first ball and then choked Hardik Pandya at the death. A bowler that strikes in the powerplay as well as at the death is a fantasy player’s delight.
The pitch is tailor-made for the in-form Deepak Chahar. He deserved more than just 2 wickets in the last game. Edges flew off his out-swingers in the powerplay.
Shikhar Dhawan started slow but picked up pace as he got his eye in. More importantly, he never played defensive cricket. He knew it was a bit challenging to score runs on this wicket but made sure he kept playing attacking cricket to never let the opposition take charge. He has been in good form since the 2020 edition of the Indian T20 League.
Sri Lanka bowled well throughout 20 overs. Had Suryakumar not played a breathtaking innings, India would not have surpassed 150 runs. The Sri Lankan bowlers had done their homework. However, their batting lacked teeth. Barring Asalanka, none of their batters could launch a counterattack.
Sri Lanka might as well change their tactic: batting is their vulnerability and hence it would not be wise to chase a score. They managed to beat India in the final ODI and have been getting better with each game.
Otherwise, there’s no margin for error. India have been playing a fearless brand of cricket.
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