India look to finish tour unbeaten

Plot:

3-0 in the Tests and 5-0 in the ODIs! Nothing seems to have gone wrong for the Indian team on their Sri Lankan tour. They whitewashed Sri Lanka in the Test series and in the ODI series quite handsomely. In the last year or so, India have been nearly invincible in these two formats. However, one format where they have been beaten every now and then is the T20Is. No team can be considered an underdog in this format. Several Associate teams have upset full members of the ICC in T20Is, and with relative ease. Sri Lanka will look to play fearless cricket, and that perhaps could lead them to their first victory against India across formats since the visitors set foot on the island.

India still hold the edge when it comes to form and names on paper. Their strong batting line-up is coupled with a formidable bowling attack, that can take wickets with the new ball, and in the death too. Jasprit Bumrah has been pretty difficult to get away, while Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowled in the right channels in the ODIs which fetched him a five-fer in the final match of the series. The spinners have been very accurate too, but there were instances or short periods in the innings where the Lankans targeted them with success. In the shortest format of the game, the pacers will have to be on their toes too.

Sri Lanka have a few dangerous batsmen at their disposal. Right from Niroshan Dickwella and Dilshan Munaweera to Angelo Mathews and Thisara Perera, they possess batsmen who can destroy any bowling attack on their day. In Lasith Malinga, their bowling has a T20I legend who will lead the attack. He will be supported by Akila Dananjaya in the middle overs, a bowler the Indian batsmen have had their share of troubles against in the ODI series; remember the six-fer? While the Tests and the Odis were a mismatch of sorts, be rest assured that it will not be easy for the Indian team to walk over the Lankans in the sole T20I of the series. The only disappointment, if any, is that there’s just one game in the format which is a current fan-favourite.

Stage:

R. Premadasa Stadium:

Colombo’s iconic R. Premadasa receives its third international game in 7 days. The first ODI had an easy-paced pitch, while the second one wasn’t completely conducive for batsmen. Chances are, the former will be used for this game, and we could expect a run-filled contest between the two sides.

Acts:

Jasprit Bumrah vs Lasith Malinga:

These two may not get a chance to bowl at each other, but what they do for their team will be something to look forward to. Both of them are key members of the Mumbai Indians side and have wreaked havoc in tandem in the Indian Premier League. While Lasith Malinga is not at the peak of his prowess, Bumrah certainly is proving too hot to handle for the Lankans. Who will pick up more wickets in this format, one which they excel in?

Yuzvendra Chahal vs Angelo Mathews:

Angelo Mathews has the knack of not holding back against the spinners in the T20 format. Yuzvendra Chahal is an attacking leggie, who flights the ball to claim wickets. The moment he flights the ball to Mathews, his eye might light up and he could go after the bowler. Will the ball clear the fence or will Chahal get the better of the big-hitter? Time will tell!

Bhuvneshwar Kumar vs Thisara Perera:

Bhuvneshwar Kumar was predominantly a swing bowler when he emerged in the Indian ranks. He has developed his death bowling in the IPL, and proved to be quite effective, even though he doesn’t clock 140+ kph. Thisara Perera is no stranger to T20 fans, and when on song, he can take any bowling attack apart. Will he curb Bhuvi’s threat and provide Sri Lanka with the extra 20 runs that can give a cushion to their bowlers?

 

 


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