Match Preview – India vs Sri Lanka, ICC Cricket World Cup 2023/24, 33rd Match


Big picture: Two teams with contrasting fortunes

India. Sri Lanka. The Wankhede. The last time these two teams played an ODI at this venue, the occasion was the 2011 World Cup final. Twelve years later, though, things are a little different.

India have lived up to the billing of being the pre-tournament favourites. They have won all of their six matches so far despite missing Shubman Gill for their first two and Hardik Pandya for the last two. If they beat Sri Lanka on Thursday, they will become the first team to qualify for the semi-finals.

Sri Lanka, who made it to this World Cup via the Qualifier route, are struggling to stay alive. They have just four points from six games and are coming off the back of a loss to Afghanistan. Another defeat will push them to the brink of elimination.

Sri Lanka, too, have lost multiple players to injuries, including their designated captain Dasun Shanaka. In his absence, Kusal Mendis took over the reins but it seems to have affected his batting. In the first two games, when Shanaka was the captain, Mendis smashed 198 runs at a strike rate of 166.38. Since then, he has managed just 70 in four innings at a strike rate of 76.08.

Form guide: India’s winning streak

India WWWWW (last five ODIs, most recent first)
Sri Lanka LWWLL

In the spotlight: Shreyas Iyer and Angelo Mathews

Shreyas Iyer came into this World Cup as India’s first-choice No. 4, and in six innings so far he has 134 runs at an average of 33.50. These are not bad numbers but such is the competition in this Indian side that they guarantee nothing. That he fell to the short ball – an old weakness – in the previous two games doesn’t help either. He needs a big score in the next two games, or else India may consider leaving him out once Hardik is back.

Angelo Mathews was not supposed to be in India for this World Cup. But now that he is here, Sri Lanka should make the best use of his abilities – making him bat at No. 7 is not the way to go. Mathews has an excellent record against India: an average of 53.57 and a strike rate of 84.93, with his all three ODI hundreds coming against them. If you consider the matches played in India, that average almost doubles to 105.16 and the strike rate swells to 96.77.

Team news: Will Wellalage get a chance?

With Hardik unavailable, India are likely to field an unchanged XI.

India (probable): 1 Rohit Sharma (capt), 2 Shubman Gill, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Shreyas Iyer, 5 KL Rahul (wk), 6 Suryakumar Yadav, 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Kuldeep Yadav, 9 Mohammed Shami, 10 Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj

Sri Lanka could consider bringing in Dinuth Wellalage for Dhananjaya de Silva.

Sri Lanka (probable): 1 Pathum Nissanka, 2 Dimuth Karunaratne, 3 Kusal Mendis (capt, wk), 4 Sadeera Samarawickrama, 5 Charith Asalanka, 6 Angelo Mathews, 7 Dinuth Wellalage/Dhananjaya de Silva, 8 Kasun Rajitha, 9 Maheesh Theekshana, 10 Dilshan Madushanka, 11 Dushmantha Chameera

Pitch and conditions: Runs galore

The Wankhede is always full of runs. The venue has hosted two games so far this World Cup, where South Africa, batting first on each occasion, posted 399 and 382. Expect a similar, high-scoring game once again. The temperature will hover around 35°C, with no forecast of rain.

Stats and trivia: Kohli on the cusp of records

  • Virat Kohli (48) is one short of equalling Sachin Tendulkar’s record of most ODI hundreds.
  • Kohli is on the verge of breaking another Tendulkar record. Currently, both are tied for 1000 ODI runs in a calendar year on most occasions (seven). Kohli needs just another 34 runs this year to go past Tendulkar.
  • If Shreyas Iyer scores 65 runs in his next three innings, he will become the third-fastest Indian to 2000 ODI runs.
  • Mathews has dismissed Rohit Sharma seven times in ODIs – more than any other bowler – including twice on zero. Against Mathews, Rohit averages 14.71 at a strike rate of 58.85.
  • Sadeera Samarawickrama is 54 away from 1000 ODI runs. If he gets there on Thursday, he will be the joint-fastest Sri Lankan, alongside Roy Dias (27 innings), to get there.
  • Maheesh Theekshana is three short of 50 ODI wickets.

Quotes

I think this is a ground where things can be quite unpredictable at times, like there’s so much in it for the bowlers as well. So you can see probably a top spell coming from the bowlers, rattling the opposition, that can happen. It’s a high-scoring ground, but at the same time, if the bowlers put the ball in the right area, it can be slightly difficult.
Rohit Sharma on the Wankhede pitch

“Thankfully we do have a few people who are in form. I mean Kusal [Mendis] has played some super knocks here, Sadeera has been Mr. Consistent, as has Pathum [Nissanka] at the top of the order.”
Head coach Chris Silverwood on the few things that are going right for Sri Lanka’s batting order

Hemant Brar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo



Source link