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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

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Match Preview – India vs Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka in India 2022/23, 1st T20I

Big picture

In an ODI World Cup year, a bilateral T20I series can have the same appeal for fans as a New Year’s Eve party for an introvert. It just feels like something you can do without.

However, India and Sri Lanka will look at the bigger picture. After thinking about what went wrong during the T20 World Cup 2022, it’s time to start over. While India played a T20I series in New Zealand right after the global event, this will be Sri Lanka’s first T20I in this cycle.

It is a new look Indian side with none of Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, R Ashwin, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah being part of it for various reasons team. That gives them as clean a slate as possible to capture their T20I philosophy, especially with the bat.

With ball, Arshdeep Singh, who made his international debut less than six months ago, will lead the pace attack, which consists of Umran Malik, Shivam Mavi, Mukesh Kumar, Hardik Pandya and Harshal Patel.

Sri Lanka may not have played a T20I since the World Cup, but they had the Lanka Premier League last month. Even though it was a relatively low scoring tournament, the players will be up for the challenge.

It is difficult to say which team will start as the favourite. India has the home court advantage, but Sri Lanka, under Dasun Shanaka, has a more solid playing XI, not to mention their Asia Cup win last year.

Form guide

India TWLWW (last five completed T20Is, most recent first)
Sri Lanka LWLLW

In the spotlight

Last year, with India’s first-choice openers unavailable, Ruturaj Gaikwad opened the innings with Ishan Kishan during the five-game T20I series against South Africa in June. While Kishan seems to have the team management’s confidence for now thanks to his smashing double hundred against Bangladesh in the third ODI, this could prove to be an important run for Gaikwad. If India wants to change their batting template, he needs to up his game as his first ten ball batting frequency in all T20s since the start of 2021, where ESPNcricinfo has the ball-for-ball data, is just 98.33. That said, the corresponding figure for Kishan over the same period isn’t too pleasing either: 111.26.

In 2022, only Rashid Khan (81) took more T20 wickets than Wanindu Hasaranga (73). The Sri Lankan may not have Rashid’s pace, but he possesses a well-disguised googly and can bowl with a lower ball flight, making it difficult for batters to get under the ball and pull off big hits. In seven T20Is against India, he has ten wickets at an economy of 6.79. Once again he will be Sri Lanka’s trump card, even disregarding his lower order hitting.

Team news

If India reunites Kishan and Gaikwad at the top, Shubman Gill will have to wait a while for his T20I debut. Meanwhile, Yuzvendra Chahal, who warmed up the bench during the T20 World Cup 2022, could be back in the XI. However, he will face stiff competition from Axar Patel, especially if India goes for punching depth.

India (likely): 1 Ishan Kishan, 2 Ruturaj Gaikwad, 3 Suryakumar Yadav, 4 Sanju Samson (wk), 5 Hardik Pandya (capt), 6 Deepak Hooda, 7 Washington Sundar, 8 Harshal Patel, 9 Arshdeep Singh, 10 Umran Malik, 11 Yuzvendra Chahal

Sri Lanka may not make too many changes to their last playing XI, which came against England in the T20 World Cup. Dilshan Madushanka could at least replace Kasun Rajitha.

Sri Lanka (likely): 1 Pathum Nissanka, 2 Kusal Mendis (wk), 3 Dhananjaya de Silva, 4 Charith Asalanka, 5 Bhanuka Rajapaksa, 6 Dasun Shanaka (capt), 7 Wanindu Hasaranga, 8 Chamika Karunaratne, 9 Maheesh Theekshana, 10 Dilshan Madushanka , Lahiru Kumara 11

Location and conditions

Due to its smaller boundaries, the Wankhede has always been a high scoring venue and favored by chase teams, having won 24 of the 41 T20s played here over the last two years. Expect more of the same on Tuesday as well. It should be a pleasant evening with clear skies and a temperature of around 20°C.

Statistics and tidbits

  • As of the start of 2021, India has a head-to-head record of 4-3 against Sri Lanka in T20Is.
  • Chahal needs four wickets to become the highest wicket taker for India in the format. Currently, Bhuvneshwar is at the top with 90 scalps.
  • This will be Kusal Mendis’s 50th T20I, making him the 13th Sri Lankan to reach the milestone.

Quotes

“It’s a very exciting team, you can see there’s also a lot of emotion because what’s happened in the country in the past has obviously given them more motivation to get out there and be in a zone where they’re ready anything and everything is possible. And they play as a group, as brothers, so Sri Lanka is a very good team and we hope we have a clash that entertains everyone.”
Indian captain Hardik Pandaya

“In T20s, it’s the day [that matters], so it depends on the day. The underdog can step up and do well. We have the confidence with us that we can beat [India] on our day we have to maintain the standards, the quality of cricket we play.”
Captain of Sri Lanka Dasun Shanaka

Hemant Brar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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