The IND vs SL tie is effectively a quarter-final for India. Sri Lanka have a positive net run rate at the top of the table, and a lousy result for India will put them in contention for an exit.
The path to redemption
The defending champions have been losing bowlers one after the other due to injuries. It started with Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel, followed by Ravindra Jadeja. To add to the problems, India’s most experienced spinner Yuzvendra Chahal has picked just one wicket. Ravichandran Ashwin, a spectator so far, should be included in the playing XI considering that the Sri Lankan batting line-up has three front-line left-handed batters. Moreover, Ashwin has picked up 13 wickets against Sri Lanka in six matches at an Average of 8.61.
The Indian batting unit looks solid despite a slight collapse against Pakistan in the middle overs during the last match. Rishabh Pant might retain his spot due to a lack of left-handed batters in the Indian batting lineup. A 54-run opening stand in the previous game would have alarmed the Sri Lankan dressing room.
Getting the right balance has become highly crucial for India after the last loss. Rohit Sharma could have used Deepak Hooda’s spin services in the previous game, especially with Mohammad Nawaz on the crease tearing the Indian bowlers apart. India missed the services of a genuine fast bowler as well, as Hardik Pandya could not produce anything above 140 kmph against Pakistan. With Avesh Khan back on Tuesday, we can expect a better approach.
Sri Lanka have lived up to their expectations of being “The Unpredictables”. A higher intent and tactical play have brought them right back into the tournament. Rahmanullah Gurbaz’s blistering knock of 84-runs from 45 balls was over-powered by cameos played by Kusal Mendis, Danushka Gunathilaka and Bhanuka Rajapaksa; the trio collectively scored 100 runs from 53 balls. Sri Lanka have followed the Indian approach of winning small battles during the game: 30-run cameos from 12-to-15 balls from multiple batters have a higher impact than a one-man show.
Sri Lanka’s bowling unit has risen to the occasion as well. Despite being relatively inexperienced, the Lankan bowling attack has been manoeuvred well by the Sri Lankan skipper. Mohammad Nawaz and Shadab Khan applied brakes on the Indian batting unit on Sunday; Wanindu Hasaranga and Maheesh Theekshana could create similar problems. The spinning duo has picked up 29 wickets collectively in their respective 10 matches in the UAE. Sri Lanka are expected to remain unchanged for their second Super Four game of the tournament.
Match: India vs Sri Lanka
Venue: Dubai International Cricket Stadium
Date: 6 September 2022
Time: 07:30 PM IST
Where to Watch: Star Sports Network | Disney+ Hotstar
Pitch report & Toss
The wicket is a little double-paced and doesn’t offer much assistance to the seam bowlers. They can extract good bounce, though, which in disguise can be a blessing for the batters. However, the spinners have struggled for a bounce. The last four innings have produced a score in access of 180 runs. The side winning the toss will opt to bowl first.
Probable playing XI
India: Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Avesh Khan, Arshdeep Singh, Yuzvendra Chahal
Sri Lanka: Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis (wk), Charith Asalanka, Danushka Gunathilaka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dasun Shanaka (c), Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Maheesh Theekshana, Asitha Fernando, Dilshan Madushanka
Total matches: 25
India won: 17
Sri Lanka won 7
India: Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Suryakumar Yadav
Sri Lanka: Danushka Gunathilaka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dasun Shanaka
India: Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Avesh Khan, Arshdeep Singh
Sri Lanka: Maheesh Theekshana, Asitha Fernando, Dilshan Madushanka
Kusal Mendis, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Hardik Pandya, Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Maheesh Theekshana, Asitha Fernando
Captain & Vice-captain picks
Captain: Hardik Pandya, Virat Kohli
Vice-captain: Wanindu Hasaranga, Suryakumar Yadav
India will need to take control during the middle overs. Hardik Pandya’s performance will prove decisive once again. The Powerplay overs will once again prove crucial. I back India to win their first Super Four game come Tuesday.