In the end, after employing all sorts of techniques- ranging from a vacuum cleaner to hair dryers to iron boxes- the decade opener of both India and Sri Lanka was called-off without even a single ball being bowled. It was a shame really as after braving all sorts of adversities by the ground-staff and the cricket association, one-minor error turned out to be the final nail in the coffin in front of a raucous packed house at the Barsapara Stadium.
So, with the first game-ending in a wash-out, the three-match T20I series has basically been reduced to a two-game shootout. With every game seen as a dress-rehearsal to the main event- that is the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia- both sides will be disappointed that they missed out on an opportunity to test a few things in Guwahati. Nothing can be done about that now and the sides’ will now focus on gaining an unassailable lead in Indore.
And, so we now move on to the Holkar Stadium in Indore where the last time these two sides met, Sri Lankan bowlers were swatted to the tune of Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul. The Lankans would be relieved that they will not have to contend with Rohit Sharma this time around.
As far as India is concerned, the team management will be closely looking at how Shikhar Dhawan fares in the series. With KL Rahul becoming an irresistible force in T20I cricket, the onus is now on Dhawan to once again assert his credentials as a T20 opener. Besides that, all eyes will be on the comeback man- Jasprit Bumrah. The champion fast bowler will be playing his first competitive game after four months and it will be interesting to see how the No.1 ranked ODI bowler shapes up.
Sri Lanka, on the other hand, will be hoping that their youngster- Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Oshada Fernando, Wanindu Hasaranga Danushka Gunathilaka-can continue the good work that they did in Pakistan as skipper Lasith Malinga hopes to revive his team’s fortunes and build towards qualifying for the main draw of the T20 World Cup. And, what better way to do that than by performing against India in their own den?
India continued with their ploy of playing one of the two wrist-spinners with Washington Sundar taking the spot for the second spinner. Kuldeep Yadav got the nod ahead of Yuzvendtra Chahal in Guwahati, which is likely to be the case in Indore as well, considering we learned nothing from the first game.
Ravindra Jadeja was benched in favor of Shivam Dube while Manish Pandey and Sanju Samson continue to warm the benches. The encore is set to happen in Indore.
Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli (c), Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Washington Sundar, Shivam Dube, Shardul Thakur, Navdeep Saini, Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav
Sri Lanka dropped Angelo Matthews, Niroshan Dickwella and Kusal Mendis in favor of youthful exuberance of Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Oshada Fernando, and Avishka Fernando. Barring a last-minute injury, the same is likely to happen in Indore.
Avishka Fernando, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Perera (wk), Oshada Fernando, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dasun Shanaka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Isuru Udana, Lasith Malinga (c), Wanindu Hasaranga, Lahiru Kumara
In the Spotlight
Shikhar Dhawan [IND]- Adversity brings out a beast out of Shikhar Dhawan. We have seen that on a plethora of occasions in the past that whenever the southpaw has been pushed to a corner, he has risen like a phoenix. Perhaps, it is time that the champion ODI batsman channelizes his inner beast and convert it into runs when he takes the strike in Indore. It’s about time!
Lasith Malinga [SL]- Lasith Malinga has, time and again, defied age and courtesy his skills and relentless pursuit for excellence in the past two years. But, the same can be said about his leadership stint. Under him, Sri Lanka has won just one T20I since January 2019, and with Dasun Shanka leading the island nation to a 3-0 sweep over Pakistan, the pressure is mounting on the senior statesman
11- Number of T20Is India has won against Sri Lanka; their joint-most against any side in the world.
88 runs– The winning margin for India in the only T20I they have played in Indore. That game was also against Sri Lanka back in 2017 where the home side racked up 5/260 thanks to a whirlwind 43-ball 118 from Rohit Sharma.
0.66- Sri Lanka’s W/L ratio in T20Is since January 2018. During this period, the island nation has played 22 games, out of which they have won just 8 and lost 12.
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