Preview – Sri Lanka have little edge against West Indies in this battle of pride
Both Sri Lanka and West Indies have had pretty forgettable World Cups and both have now been knocked out from the semi-final race. West Indies, stands 9th in the points table with just 3 points in 7 games and a Net Run Rate of -0.320. Sri Lanka, meanwhile, are on the 7th pace in the points table with 6 points in 7 games and a Net Run Rate of -1.186.
Both the teams will be playing for pride when they face off in their ICC World Cup 2019 encounter at Chester-le-Street and the game’s result will not have any significance beyond boosting the morale of the winner.
Sri Lanka have been good in patches and created the biggest upset in this World Cup when they defeated tournament favorites England. They weren’t able to ride on that confidence, unfortunately, and were routed by South Africa. Their batting, particularly, has been disappointing. Their highest scorer has been Kusal Perera who has managed 191 runs in 5 innings, followed by captain Dimuth Karunaratne who has garnered 180 runs in 5 innings. The others like Avishka Fernando Angelo Matthews, Kusal Mendis would need to step up.
However, Sri Lanka does have the kind of bowling attack that can stop West Indies. Lasith Malinga has shown traces of his old avatar and can rip through the West Indies batting. In Dhananjaya de Silva they have a quality spinner who can exploit the West Indians’ weakness against spin. Isuru Udana is in good rhythm too and can post a challenge too.
West Indies have blown hot and cold throughout the tournament. They thumped Pakistan in their first game but have derailed since then. Their best batsman, Shai Hope, has managed only 192 runs at an average of 32. He would like to stamp his authority against Sri Lanka. The others like Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, Carlos Braithwaite, Jason Holder and Shimron Hetmyer have only shown traces of their talent and would need to perform collectively in this match.
The West Indian bowling has been highly inconsistent but they were really good against India in their last game. Skipper Jason Holder and Kemar Roach bowled beautifully and if they can do the same in this game along with Sheldon Cottrell and Oshane Thomas then Sri Lanka would have a real tough time.
Pitch Conditions and Sri Lanka vs West Indies Prediction:
The pitch at Chester-le-Street is expected to be even and will have something for both the batsmen and the bowlers. Only three scores of 300+ have been scored on this venue and can expect a low-scoring encounter between West Indies and Sri Lanka here.
The chasing team has won four of the last 5 ODIs here and that might come into play today as well. Sri Lanka has beaten West Indies four times in the last five ODIs between the two sides and look good enough to beat them again. But if the unpredictable West Indian batsmen show some maturity they can thwart Sri Lanka.