Rampant India look to sign off in style
Having thumped Sri Lanka 4-1 in the ODI series, a confident Indian unit would be looking to stamp its authority on the tour and sign off in style when they take on the hosts in a one-off T20I at Pallekele.
The Indians rose to No.2 in the ODI ranking after the ODI series win over the Lions. It was the youngsters who stepped up and delivered the goods for the visitors. It’s a pretty good start to a tough home season ahead.
The likes of Kohli, Raina and Tiwary performed above expectations. Tiwary made sure that he grabbed the opportunity with both hands with an all-round performance in the final two matches. Kohli has been in breathtaking form and Raina proved his worth as a world class finisher.
The only person who missed out was Rohit Sharma who had a dismal outing and he would be looking to make amends in the shortest format of the game. He needs to apply himself perfectly and a bit of patience might help. If Sehwag is still unfit then India might continue with Ajinkya Rahane in the opening slot.
Gautam Gambhir has grown leaps and bounds of late and has had a mature head n his shoulders. MS Dhoni proved in the last game that he is one of the best finishers. In the bowling department, the resurgence of Irfan Pathan has been the biggest boon for the visitors.
His five-for in the final ODI earned him the highest Index of 60 and he also ended up as joint-highest wicket-taker with 8 wickets. His batting too has proved to be useful in the Extreme Performance Overs. Zaheer Khan needs to step up a gear as he looked listless in the entire series. Ravichandran Ashwin bowled with great discipline. All in all it looks to be a pretty balanced side. Virat Kohli and Pathan will be the biggest threats for the hosts.
The Lankans fought with grit and determination but didn’t have that last push to help them pass the finish line. Somewhere down the line the absence of Kumar Sangakkara seems to be hurting them. Mahela Jayawardena, who rested himself in the last game, might come back to the side to add the much needed experience.
The likes of Thirimanne, Tharanga and Jeewan Mendis are extremely talented but they need to be consistent at the biggest stage. Thisara Perera has been their lynchpin off late performing dexterously with bat and ball. The biggest worry for them has been the form of Dinesh Chandimal.
He flopped throughout the ODI series. He surely is a talented batsman but is going through the same phase as Rohit Sharma. He too needs to take a patient approach.
In the bowling department, Lasith Malinga has impressed in patches, sort of under-performance from their pace spearhead. A much better performance is the need of the hour. Nuwan Pradeep has impressed a lot and he has made sure that the absence of Nuwan Kulasekara hasn’t hurt the Lankans.
They need to go all out in their pursuit for a much needed victory. Angelo Mathews and Thisara Perera will be the biggest threats for India. Both the teams have 2 losses from their respective last three T20Is. With the World T20 coming up, both the teams would be looking to make most of the opportunity and end up on a winning note. A cracker of a contest is definitely on cards.