Preview- Confident India will look to iron out flaws against Sri Lanka
In the last five ODIs between India and Sri Lanka, India has lost only once and won four times. The Men in Blue have had a clear edge over the Lankans in the last five years.
In the ICC World Cup 2019, India has looked a much better team than Sri Lanka and have secured a semi-final berth after beating Bangladesh in their last game. They are now second in the points table with 13 points in 8 games and a net run rate of +0.811. Sri Lanka, meanwhile, have blown hot and cold in the tournament and are out of the semi-final race with 10 points in 8 games at a net run rate of -0.934.
India will hence start as favorites when they clash with Sri Lanka in their last league encounter of the World Cup at Headingley. While the result of the match won’t affect either team’s fate now, an Indian victory might see them securing the top spot at the points table depending on a few other results.
India’s batting has been excellent throughout the tournament, despite their middle-order conundrum. Rohit Sharma has four centuries in this World Cup now and is one of the leading run-getters. KL Rahul came good in the last match and should play more freely now. Virat Kohli has a terrific record against Sri Lanka and can continue it. Rishabh Pant played a good hand at the No.4 position in the last game and would like to do better. However, India’s lower middle-order messed up once again in the previous game and the likes of MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, and Dinesh Karthik (if he plays) would need to finish better.
India’s bowling has been fantastic led by Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Shami. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was excellent at the death against Bangladesh and Shami leaked runs. That is something Kohli will have to think about. If India decides to go with their spin twins – Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav – then they are likely to create an impact.
Sri Lanka, meanwhile, will be confident after getting past West Indies in their last game. Their batsmen put up a good show, and the likes of Dimuth Karunaratne, centurion Avishka Fernando, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, and Lahiru Thirimanne would need to repeat their good performance against India.
The Lankans’ bowling is dependent on veteran Lasith Malinga along with spinner Dhananjaya de Silva. The others haven’t been great, and Isuru Udana and Kasun Rajitha have to be a lot better to contain this strong Indian batting.
Pitch Conditions and Match Prediction for Sri Lanka vs India:
The two ICC World Cup 2019 games played at Headingley have been low-scoring encounters where spinners and seamers both have had a say. If the pitch remains the same, then expect another match where the batting team has to earn its runs.
If the pitch remains the same as it has, the team batting first should make a score between 260 -280. Sri Lanka has beaten England in this World Cup, and the pitch might favor their slower bowlers. Thus they do have an outside chance in this game. But India’s overall balance makes them favorite for this encounter.