Time: July 29, 8 PM IST
Venue: R.Premadasa Stadium, Colombo
Batters have to rely on finding gaps rather than hitting sixes to put up a competitive total on this wicket. The ball turned square last night, challenging the batters’ technique and grit. The pacers too were effective: they got swing in the powerplay and grip for off-cutters at the death. Select only those batters who like to play spin.
Chamika Karunaratne deserves to bat up the order – perhaps ahead of Ramesh Mendis.
Probable XI for Sri Lanka: Avishka Fernando, Minod Bhanuka (wk), Dhananjaya de Silva, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Dasun Shanaka (c), Ramesh Mendis, Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Isuru Udana, Akila Dananjaya, Dushmantha Chameera
India did not use Navdeep Saini’s services at all. To make matters worse, he injured his left shoulder while taking a tough catch. Given the pitch is favourable for spinners and that India are in dire need of a batter, they might opt for Ravisrinivasan Sai Kishore.
Probable XI for India: Shikhar Dhawan (c), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Devdutt Padikkal, Sanju Samson (wk), Nitish Rana, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Rahul Chahar, Navdeep Saini/Ravisrinivasan Sai Kishore, Chetan Sakariya, Varun Chakravarthy
We have opted for a fantasy cricket team based on the recent performances, overall impact, and credit points.
Players to watch out for
Kuldeep Yadav has taken 2 or more wickets in 7 of his last 9 T20Is. He could have wrapped up with more wickets had India taken DRS and held on to their catches. The pitch is tailor-made for his wrist-spin.
Wanindu Hasaranga continues to impress us. There are reports that as many as four Indian T20 League franchises are looking to sign him for the remainder of the 2021 season. His bowling figures in the last three matches read 3 for 37, 2 for 28, and 1 for 30.
In the 8 matches of the Indian T20 League this summer, Shikhar Dhawan scored 380 runs at 54 – the most by any batter. In the ODI series, he scored a fifty and now has scores of 46 and 40 in the T20I series. He has been India’s best batter in the format since April.
Devdutt Padikkal hit only six of the Indian innings. On such a challenging wicket and in his debut game for India, he scored 29 off 23 – the best shot being the reverse-sweep that fell just short of the boundary line.
Dhananjaya de Silva is Sri Lanka’s best batter in the current lineup. Without his composure, attaining 133 runs would have been even more challenging – or rather impossible. He remained unbeaten on 40* off 34 including a six and a four.
Akila Dananjaya tossed up the ball more often than he usually does. He did not have to rely on his variations. The slower he bowled, the more it turned. He took the all-important wickets of Dhawan and Sanju Samson.
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Before Krunal Pandya tested positive for COVID-19 and 7 other close contacts were isolated, India were the clear favourites. They now have a mere 5 batters and no all-rounder in the squad. Bhuvneshwar Kumar can bat but isn’t the one to scale up the scoring rate. For India to win, one of the batters has to play a breathtaking innings and the bowlers have to punch well above their weight.
Sri Lanka too are struggling, but having more batters than India keep them ahead in the race.
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