Guided by a spectacular century from Shai Hope, West Indies crushed Sri Lanka by eight wickets in the first ODI to open their account in the ICC ODI Super League points table. While it can be argued that the series is of meager significance in a year that will be largely dominated by Test cricket and T20Is, West Indies must be content to have arrested a six-match losing streak in the 50-overs format.
In their defense, it was a severely depleted unit that took a beating 0-3 against Bangladesh recently, however, West Indies have not been at the top of their 50-overs game even otherwise. In 39 ODIs since the start of 2019, they have won only 14, whereas they lost 21. Of these 14 wins, as many as nine have come against Ireland and Afghanistan combined. Therefore, even if their eight-wicket victory over the visitors in the previous fixture does not call for any massive celebration, it is certainly a reason good enough to bring mild smiles on a dwindling unit’s faces.
Another reason that should cheer up the hosts is the dominance that they showed in defeating the Lankans. While the virtue of dominance is even today so easily associable with the West Indies of the old, the current setup has been far from even being close to displaying that. At North Sound on Wednesday, West Indies were clinical in restricting Sri Lanka to a small total of 232 and then gunning down the target on the back of a 143-run opening stand between Evin Lewis and the centurion, Shai Hope.
Sri Lanka, on the other hand, had a firm grasp on the game as they did well with the bat after winning the toss. They looked at home so long as the 105-run opening partnership between Danushka Gunathilaka and skipper Dimuth Karunaratne lasted, although all the toil went in the drain, undone by losing heaps of wickets in the middle-overs: from 105/1, they were reduced to 151/5, before Ashen Bandara, on debut, showed immense maturity en route to his half-century, which ensured that Sri Lanka crossed 200.
Though Sri Lanka find themselves pushed into a corner, not all is lost for them. In a series where fortunes of both teams swung like a pendulum, the visitors were able to make a comeback in the second T20I, only to lose the decider later to hand over the series to West Indies 2-1. If they can perform once, they could probably back themselves to repeat it again and emulate their performance from last year when they defeated West Indies at home. For that to happen, they will have to fire in unison.
Pitch and conditions
There was a fair bit of assistance for the pacers and neither teams’ spinners were rewarded on the track that had seemingly limited purchase for the slower bowlers. West Indies’ victory in the previous fixture was the eighth occasion of a chasing side winning at North Sound in 18 matches. The temperature is expected to hover around 27 degrees with close to 70 percent humidity.
Playing combinations for WI vs SL
A clinical opening partnership before a breezy 37 from Darren Bravo meant that West Indies’ middle-order remained untested in the previous fixture. After a comprehensive victory, they are most likely to go unchanged.
Predicted XI: Evin Lewis, Shai Hope (WK), Darren Bravo, Nicholas Pooran, Jason Mohammed, Kieron Pollard (C), Jason Holder, Fabian Allen, Romario Shepherd, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph
Though Danushka Gunathilaka and Dimuth Karunaratne getting runs at the top of the order is a heartening sight for the visitors, problems in their rather experienced middle-order, which included the likes Dinesh Chandimal and Angelo Mathews, continue to hit. As much as the debutant Ashen Bandara impressed with the bat, Dushmantha Chameera did with his troubling pace. Although his wickets did not have any effect on the game, Sri Lanka would want him to continue in the same vein.
Predicted XI: Danushka Gunathilaka, Dimuth Karunaratne (C), Pathum Nissanka, Dinesh Chandimal (WK), Angelo Mathews, Ashen Bandara, Kamindu Mendis, Wanindu Hasaranga, Dushmantha Chameera, Lakshan Sandakan, Nuwan Pradeep
WI vs SL Head to Head
Played- 61 | West Indies- 29 | Sri Lanka- 29 | NR- 3
In West Indies
Played- 12 | West Indies-6 | Sri Lanka- 5 | NR- 1
WI vs SL Broadcast Details
Match Timings – 7:00 PM IST
Live Streaming – Fancode
Source: The source of this content is our cricket news platform Crictracker.
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