Resurgent India face a confident Sri Lanka in their final group stage match. India have already qualified for the semi-final and will hope to finish on top. Sri Lanka, meanwhile, will look to bow out at a high.
Head to Head (In WCs):-
In 8 meetings, Sri Lanka hold a 4-3 advantage over India, with one game being washed out. The two teams from the subcontinent last met in the 2011 World Cup Finals, India getting the better of Sri Lanka in a pulsating encounter.
India will be hoping to test their bench, without disrupting their momentum. Ravindra Jadeja can get a game ahead of Dinesh Karthik. Mayank Agarwal will have to wait longer for his cap, as the management will stick to the Rahul-Rohit opening duo after a good partnership in their last outing. Rahul needs confidence, which only comes with time in the middle. Rohit Sharma is on the verge of breaking several records, including the most runs scored in World Cups. Rishabh Pant has nailed the #4 spot and will look to keep playing in his fearless style.
Sri Lanka come of a stunning victory against West Indies, with Angelo Mathews winning hearts after bowling for the first time since 2017 and getting the crucial wicket of Nicholas Pooran off his first ball. They will look to go into their last match unchanged.
Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli (c), Rishabh Pant, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah
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Kusal Perera (wk), Dimuth Karunaratane (c), Avishka Fernando, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Lahiru Thirimanne, Dhananjaya De Silva, Isuru Udana, Kasun Rajitha, Jeffrey Vandersey, Lasith Malinga
Pitch and Conditions:-
The pitch is going to be the same one used for the West Indies vs Afghanistan game. It will start off as a good batting wicket and will slow down for the second innings.
Batting first is a no-brainer on this track. India will want to prove that they can chase big totals. They will want to cover all bases and show no weaknesses ahead of the semi-finals. Sri Lanka will use spin to the Indian middle order but in doing so, will be feeding to Hardik Pandya’s strengths. It is a gamble they will have to take, based on the situation. The Indian openers will want to start rapidly, in similar fashion to what they did against Bangladesh. The Indian middle order will look to answer critics by hitting back in style. India have been quick to bring the spinners in the powerplay, but if the pacers pick early wickets, the spinners can operate in the more favourable middle overs.
Avishka Fernando showed his breath-taking stroke-making ability with a century against West Indies. He will be the key wicket for India. He is equally adept off both pace and spin and possesses a wide range of shots. His battle with Jasprit Bumrah will be interesting to watch.
Isuru Udana has been the stand-out bowler for the Lankans. He will back his changes of pace in the death to get the better of Hardik Pandya.
Also published on Medium.