Defending champions India head confidently into their second game against neighbor Sri Lanka tomorrow (June 8) at the Oval in London, on back of a powerful display of cricket against arch rivals Pakistan, who they subdued with a whopping 124 runs. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, botched up a chase of 300 runs against the South Africans in their first match, falling short by a good 96 runs and surrendering momentum in the short league stage of the tournament.
The two teams have a wide gulf of talent and form between them – India’s batting, the traditional engine that powers them has now been supplemented by a lethal bowling attack that features the likes of swinger Bhuvneshwar Kumar, pacer Umesh Yadav and Jasprit Bumrah. Sri Lanka, however, are going through a long transition period after key players and legends Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara retired after the 2015 World Cup. Since then, the Sri Lankan team has struggled to find dependable batsmen as them, and skipper Angelo Matthews and pacer Lasith Malinga are the only two regular fixtures in the team. Dinesh Chandimal and Chamara Kapugedera have featured in the squad regularly over the last two years, but none of them come anywhere close to producing the magic of the vintage Sri Lankan team.
The talent woes are not the only problem the Sri Lankans face – the dodgy fitness of skipper Matthews and the two-match suspension handed out to stand-in skipper for last match, Upul Tharanga, has further exacerbated the already desperate situation for them.
The Indian team, by contrast, is a picture of confidence, further reinforced by their convincing victory over Pakistan. Skipper Kohli will be especially pleased with Rohit Sharma’s comeback 91 and Yuvraj Singh’s half century. Also, Hardik Pandya’s death bowling has justified his inclusion in the team ahead of stalwarts Mohammad Shami (who was very successful on the tour to England last year before being put out of action with injury) and R Ashwin. The fact that Kohli and the team management are so spoilt for choice shows the depth in the Indian team, and one can not help but notice the mismatch the game against Sri Lanka will offer.
The batsmen often get the spotlight, but should Indian bowlers receive more credit for their team's strong form?
— ICC (@ICC) June 8, 2017
The only problem India might face are the clouds, with over 40% chance of heavy rainfall forecast for match day. India will want to win easy against the Sri Lankans and seal their semi-final berth before they head into their last league game against the formidable South Africans.
Kennington Oval, London
Date & Time:
Jun 08, 10:30 AM GMT (+5.30 IST)
Sri Lanka (From): Niroshan Dickwella(w), Angelo Mathews(c), Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal, Chamara Kapugedera, Kusal Perera, Asela Gunaratne, Seekkuge Prasanna, Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Pradeep, Nuwan Kulasekara, Thisara Perera, Lakshan Sandakan
India (From): Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli(c), Yuvraj Singh, Hardik Pandya, MS Dhoni(w), Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Ravichandran Ashwin, Dinesh Karthik, Ajinkya Rahane
Expect an easy win for India given that their batting and bowling are firing in unison. Key players will include Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Pandya. Sri Lanka will put on a spirited fightback to keep their place in the tournament.