The last day of group match action and the two sides involved in match #44 at Headingley have contrasting outlooks. Sri Lanka will hope to pick up a consolation win and go back on a winning note. India would like to continue their winning momentum into the semis. And of course, they have that slight chance of topping the league standings.
For that to happen, India need to defeat Sri Lanka and hope that Australia lose to South Africa. More than that, of course, India will look to answer their batting concerns.
Sri Lanka Preview
For a young side that came in with no expectations, Sri Lanka have performed well. Their win over England caught everyone’s eye. Even against the West Indies, the young guns have performed well. Another win to sign off will be a massive boost for the Lions.
The form of Kusal Perera and Avishka Fernando at the top gives hope for Sri Lanka. Although they have depended on Lasith Malinga for the wickets, Sri Lanka wouldn’t mind another cameo from the veteran.
Barring the loss to England, India have performed reasonably well. However, the last three matches exposed their weaknesses. Lack of fiery starts and proper finishing touches mean India have always finished 20-25 runs short.
Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma playing to the best of their abilities is a boon. However, that has also meant the cracks over the middle order have been papered over. India will also look to give some game time to their third spinner Ravindra Jadeja.
Fantasy Players to Watch
Virat Kohli enjoys playing Sri Lanka and has scored the most runs against them than any other side. With an eye on picking his first century of the series, he could cut loose.
Avishka Fernando has hit a century in the previous match for Sri Lanka. His free-style hitting could be the key to his side’s hopes against India.
Hardik Pandya has impressed with his all-round abilities. Be it with the bat in the death overs or the ball with his cutters, Pandy will be crucial for India’s chances.
Sri Lanka will look to recall Thisara Perera, while Vandersay might just continue to stay in the playing XI.
Sri Lanka: 1 Dimuth Karunaratne (C) 2 Kusal Perera (WK) 3 Avishka Fernando 4 Kusal Mendis 5 Angelo Mathews 6 Thisara Perera 7 Dhananjaya de Silva 8 Isuru Udana 9 Lasith Malinga 10 Kasun Rajitha 11 Jeffrey Vandersay
India might be tempted to play Kedar Jadhav, while Kuldeep Yadav could get a recall.
India: 1 Rohit Sharma 2 KL Rahul 3 VIrat Kohli (C) 4 Rishabh Pant 5 MS Dhoni (WK) 6 Hardik Pandya 7 Bhuvneshwar Kumar 8 Ravindra Jadeja 9 Yuzvendra Chahal 10 Kuldeep Yadav 11 Jasprit Bumrah
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