IND v SL, 2nd T20I, Preview: Sri Lanka in a do or die spot as India aim a sweep
India is expected to seal the series with one game to go.
Updated - Dec 22, 2017 11:23 am
India and Sri Lanka will face each other yet again after only a single day’s break at Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore on Friday in the second T20 International. The hosts lead the series already by 1-0 and are also expected to canter towards victory if the result of the first game is anything to go by. The visitors though have a plenty of problems and they have to overcome those first to stand any chance to even compete against the well-equipped Indian side. However, the Men in Blue would not want to take any chance by taking the opposition lightly.
India had a near-perfect game at Barabati Stadium on Wednesday even after losing the toss and had to deal with a lot of dew. But their spin-twins spun a web around the visitors batsmen as they capitulated under the scoreboard pressure. KL Rahul made a successful come back to the India colours and smashed a brilliant half-century. The biggest positive, however, was the form of MS Dhoni who batted at 4 and reaped instant rewards. His knock provided India with a strong finish as they accumulated 61 runs in last 4 overs.
Sri Lanka, on the other hand, have problems aplenty in their camp and lack the self-belief more than anything which is required to defeat a top international side. The comments of Thisara Perera in the post-match presentation suggested the helpless position the team was in due to their recent form. Their victory in the first ODI looks a distant memory now the way they’ve lost the games that followed. The skipper needs to lead from the front as he did with the ball in Cuttack last night to ignite any spark in his teammates.
The inability of the batsmen to string partnerships has been a huge problem for the team from island nation this year. It has haunted them on this tour as well as they continue to lose matches in the limited overs format. The likes of Niroshan Dickwella, Upul Tharanga and Angelo Mathews have to put their hands up and deliver now. The bowlers too have looked short of plans after going for runs early in the over and continue to leak them in a large amount. In short, they have to click in all departments to stand any chance to upset the resurgent Indian team which is yet to lose a series this year across all formats.
Rohit Sharma led Indian side has a new look to their squad in this series and looked up for the challenge in the first game. Jaydev Unadkat bowled only two overs in his come back game and scalped his maiden wicket in the format. His cutters proved to be useful to keep the lid on Sri Lanka’s scoring in the powerplay. He is expected to keep his place as the other new faces like Washington Sundar, Mohammad Siraj, Basil Thampi might have to wait for their chances to come. An unchanged XI is expected to take the field on Friday as the Men in Blue look to win the last series of the year.
Probable XI: Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, MS Dhoni (wk), Manish Pandey, Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Jaydev Unadkat, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah.
Sri Lanka, as their skipper suggested, have only fifteen players to choose from and they have to repay the faith showed in them by the management. The openers have to provide the team with a good start and the middle-order needs to back it up without losing the momentum. Similarly, the bowling attack which looked clueless in the death overs have to keep their cool and concentrate on picking wickets in the middle overs. They had things under control in the after the 10th over but let things slip in the final four overs by conceding 61 runs. They might be tempted to go with the same side for the must-win encounter and bank on the same lot to deliver this time around.
Probable XI: Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Upul Tharanga, Kusal Perera, Angelo Mathews, Asela Gunaratne, Dasun Shanaka, Thisara Perera (c), Akila Dananjaya, Dushmantha Chameera, Nuwan Pradeep, Vishwa Fernando.
Focus will be on:
MS Dhoni (India)
The favourite son of India MS Dhoni endured a perfect night in Cuttack as he scored runs with the bat and also affected four dismissals behind the stumps. Even the skipper Rohit Sharma stressed the importance of him batting at 4 in the shortest format which means he will once again come out at the same position in the second game. Another masterful knock is on the cards from the veteran as India would look to seal the series. His wicket-keeping skills were never under the scanner though he fluffed a chance off Unadkat early in the innings in the first T20I. He would look to repeat the same performance and seal the deal for his side in Indore itself.
Kusal Perera (Sri Lanka)
Kusal Perera returned to the action on the field after seven months and was rusty in his 19-run knock which was stretched to 28 balls. The team management is expected to give him more opportunities in this series and hope that he delivers in the must-win game. The left-hander also would love to open the innings as he is the most effective when the fielding restrictions are on and take the advantage of the same. If he regains the old touch, then Sri Lanka might find their mojo on this tour and return with at least some positives.
6- Sri Lanka have lost their last six matches in the format and would look to arrest the string of losses.
93- India’s victory in the last match was their biggest in terms of runs and would look to be ruthless in Indore as well.