India seek bowling balance in crunch clash versus Sri Lanka
There were two occasions when Rohit Sharma wasn’t his usual calm self during the Super 4 match against Pakistan. The first time was in an animated chat with Rishabh Pant after his dismissal attempting a reverse sweep and the next time was when Arshdeep Singh grassed a simple catch off Ravi Bishnoi to give Asif Ali a reprieve, one that proved rather costly. Rohit even pointed out during the post-match presentation that the wickets of Pant and Hardik Pandya in quick succession “were not needed”.
India’s positive batting approach set them up well but those wickets meant that Virat Kohli had to drop a couple of gears leading into the death overs. The defeat to Pakistan has left India now in a dicey situation where one more loss could lead to their exit. The real test now is – what will be their approach should they lose early wickets in a make-or-break game against Sri Lanka?
India have also been hard-pressed for options in the pace department, with Hardik Pandya having to bowl his full quota against Pakistan. It wasn’t a great game for the all-rounder, who got out for a duck and then leaked 44 runs for a solitary wicket. Rahul Dravid and Co. will have a lot of thinking to do about the combination ahead of an important game. Sri Lanka will eye India’s weakness in the pace department as an area to target.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka are taking a lot of confidence with them heading into this clash. With a superior net run-rate, they currently sit atop the Super 4 table and will be looking to ride the momentum wave. There wasn’t a single half-century from the Sri Lankans against Afghanistan in the weekend game but there were plenty of valuable contributions with the bat that helped them go past the opposition’s 175, which will hold them in good stead.
When: Tuesday, September 6 at 6:00 PM Local Time (7:30 PM IST)
Where: Dubai International Cricket Stadium
What to expect: The first-innings totals have been north of 170 after the first three matches which were low-scoring affairs. But teams batting second have found more success, even in chases of hefty totals. The weather will be very warm with a high of 36 degree Celsius.
Head to head:India have won 17 and lost only seven matches, with one no-result, in T20Is against Sri Lanka. The only time India faced Sri Lanka in an Asia Cup T20 was in Mirpur in 2016, a game which India won by five wickets.
Injury/Unavailability:No injury concerns have been reported in the Sri Lanka side.
Tactics and match-ups: Dilshan Madushanka was used late in the powerplay in the game against Afghanistan. But the Indian top-order’s struggle against left-arm pace in recent times could mean an early introduction for the 21-year old. Left-arm spinners have also done well against India, which could prompt the inclusion of Praveen Jayawickrama.
Probable XI:Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis (wk), Charith Asalanka, Danushka Gunathilaka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dasun Shanaka (c), Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Maheesh Theekshana/Praveen Jayawickrama, Asitha Fernando, Dilshan Madushanka.
Injury/Unavailability: Avesh Khan was not included in the eleven against Pakistan after a bout of illness. He is likely to be available for the match against Sri Lanka.
Tactics and match-ups: India could look at including R Ashwin in the eleven considering the presence of several left-handers in Sri Lankan line-up. The veteran spinner has also fared quite well against Sri Lanka in the past – 9 matches, 13 wickets, with an economy of 4.91.
Probable XI: Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Hardik Pandya, R Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Avesh Khan, Yuzvendra Chahal, Arshdeep Singh.
Did you know?
– Sri Lanka have lost all seven T20Is they have batted first in while all four of their wins have come in run chases in the games they have played after the 2021 T20 World Cup.
– In the last 27 T20 matches in Dubai, 24 have been won by side batting second. The exceptions being the IPL 2021 final, New Zealand’s win over Scotland in 2021 (day game) and India’s win over Hong Kong recently.
– Although a good player of spin in the IPL, Rishabh Pant has struggled against the slower bowlers in T20I cricket, averaging 22.23 with a strike rate of 111.58 and a boundary percentage of 12.
What they said:
“We’re not disturbed by losing wickets through the middle overs, because that’s the way we want to play. We want to be able to get those 20-25 extra runs that can eventually make the difference in big games” – Virat Kohli.