Kolkata: India have been winning almost everything ever since the ongoing Sri Lankan tour began and their approach to the one-off T20 on Wednesday in Colombo would be no different. Having routed Sri Lanka 5-0 in the ODI series, Virat Kohli and his troops would be mighty confident of ending the tour with another win to cap off an entire bilateral series where they have won all the encounters hands down.
Sri Lanka, battered and bruised in the Test series returned with a new vigour in the ODI series but failed to beat India even for once, despite coming agonizingly close in the second match. Barring that game, they well below par in all the departments of the game-the fact that they couldn’t post a total in excess of 250 despite batting first on four occasions just goes on to prove how miserable the entire series has been so far for them. Adding to all these, the home fans haven’t taken a liking to their performance and have made their frustrations and anger felt, on several occasions. To sum up, it has been a really tough time for Sri Lankan cricket.
But nonetheless, they would intend to finish off the series against India on a high as in a bid to accomplish that feat, they have added some new faces in the T20 squad like Seekuge Prasanna, Isuru Udana, Suranga Lakmal, Vikum Sanjaya and Jeffrey Vandersay. With a relatively new squad led by Upul Tharanga, who looked good in his 48-run knock in the last ODI they would desperately want to register a win to give something to the fans to cheer about, despite the fact that statistics are not in their favour. They have lost 16 out of the 24 T20I’s they played since January 2016.
But they can take confidence from the fact that they had beaten South Africa and Australia in the 20-over format earlier this year.
The story is a different one for India as they have won 17 out of the 25 games they have played in the shortest format since January 2016. Their run in T20’s have been relatively smooth as they put on a good show in the T20 World Cup last year at home. The West Indies is the only team to have repeatedly beaten India, be it in the T20 World Cup semi-final or the bilateral series. But overall, they would be pleased with their performance as they have the second most T20I wins since January 2016 after Afghanistan. Also, they are currently the fifth placed team in the rankings after West Indies and a win over Sri Lanka would help them reduce the margin of rating points to just one with the Caribbean side.
Skipper Virat Kohli, like he has done for his IPL franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore and also for India might take up the opening slot in Shikhar Dhawan’s absence.
Ajinkya Rahane might be included in the team along with KL Rahul, who can use the long handle to quite a good effect when he is full flow. Manish Pandey, who played the last two matches of the ODI series might be included in the team and it would be interesting to see whether Kedar Jadhav gets a spot in the playing XI or not.
The bowling is likely to be the same whatsoever as Kohli could play both Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav to strengthen the spin department.