Momentum in India’s favour


Sri Lanka’s confidence might have suffered a minor dent after Bangladesh gunned down a huge target of 215 runs against the hosts. After struggling to put up a stiff total against India, Bangladesh went on to become the first team from the Subcontinent to chase down the target as steep as 215. It was the fourth-highest run chase ever in T20Is, thanks to the astounding performance by Bangladesh’s wicket-keeper batsman and former captain, Mushfiqur Rahim. Sri Lanka will face India for the second time in the series tonight without their regular skipper, Dinesh Chandimal, who has been banned for 2 matches by ICC after being found guilty of over-rate offence. With all teams locked on one win each, a win will be even more important.

Team India’s combination of new players in the squad didn’t work well in the first match of the tri-series, but they didn’t lose any further opportunities when they bounced back on track with a convincing win over Bangladesh. Indian left-handed opening batsman, Shikhar Dhawan put in yet another stellar performance. Suresh Raina adapted to the situation and built an important partnership with Dhawan. Pacers, Vijay Shankar and Jaydev Unadkat found the rhythm they lacked in the series opener. Yuzvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar played their part too, as they kept Bangladesh’s batsmen quite throughout their spells.

In the last encounter between the two Asian giants, Dhawan’s 90-run knock was overshadowed by Kusal Perera’s quick-fire 66, which turned out to be a match-winning innings. Perera must have experienced similar disappointment as Dhawan did, when his 48-ball 74 against Bangladesh went in vain. After Bangladesh’s win against Sri Lanka, the tri-series has opened up nicely and currently, no team can be called ‘favorites’ to win the trophy. One thing that didn’t change is the importance of the toss. Teams winning the toss have chosen to bowl first on all three occasions so far, and have gone on to win the match too. This time too, it won’t be a surprise if the team winning the toss choses to bowl. Indian pacers, especially Shardul Thakur, will be wary of the capabilities of the Sri Lankan top order batsmen. The change in the strategies will be eminent, especially in the Powerplay overs, as India will not be keen to witness another onslaught by the Lankan batsmen.

India came back to winning ways against Bangladesh, but Rohit Sharma will be hoping for a much-better fielding effort from his boys. They dropped far too many catches in the last game and would like to improve this important aspect of the game, against the hosts. The Indian middle-order hasn’t been tested much, but they have looked good in the few chances they have got. The pressure will be on the bowlers to contain the opposition from breaking free once again. Also, a good opening partnership with a decent run-rate will put Rohit Sharma and the rest of the line-up in a commanding position.


Rishabh Pant vs Expectations

Having failed to impress in the first two games, Rishabh Pant will be eager to make a mark and prove that he belongs at this level. With KL Rahul breathing down his neck from the reserves, Pant must be aware that every opportunity counts. Rahul averages above 50 and has an excellent record in T20Is and that means, it is even more necessary for Pant to make the most of his opportunity.

Washington Sundar vs Kusal Perera

2 matches. 2 whirlwind knocks. Kusal Perera followed up his 37-ball 66 in the Nidahas Trophy opener with a 48-ball 74 against Bangladesh. He looked in ominous form, but was picked up by Washington Sundar in their previous meeting. Rohit Sharma will be hoping that the wily off spinner rises to the occasion earlier this time around.

Shikhar Dhawan vs Sri Lankan bowlers

Shikhar Dhawan has looked a class apart in the two games that India have played in the Nidahas Trophy. The southpaw is the top run-scorer in the tournament so far, and toyed with the Sri Lankan bowling during the opening game of the tri-series. Will the Sri Lankan bowlers keep him quiet in this meeting?

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