Match Preview – Sri Lanka vs West Indies, ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021/22, 35th Match, Group 1

Match Preview – Sri Lanka vs West Indies, ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021/22, 35th Match, Group 1


West Indies still have a slim chance if they win this match but Sri Lanka will look to finish their campaign on a high

Big picture

West Indies have lost two of their three matches so far, but theoretically, they could still make the semi-finals. They need to win their game against Sri Lanka and their next against Australia to end up on six points, the same as South Africa, so long as South Africa also lose to England. West Indies’ problem, though, is their net run rate. At -1.598, it is the worst in the group. They not only need to win their two remaining games to have a chance, they also need to win big, and hope England crush South Africa.

Sri Lanka, meanwhile, have been bright in portions of their campaign. Wanindu Hasaranga has been their star, but Dushmantha Chameera has also been excellent, frequently taking wickets in the powerplay. Maheesh Theekshana has not quite been the wicket-taking force in the Super 12s that he was in the first round, but he has at least been economical. Their batting – and particularly the form of senior batters such as Kusal Perera and Dasun Shanaka – remains Sri Lanka’s primary concern.

Before this tournament, Sri Lanka was perhaps an opponent West Indies felt they should ease past, particularly having beaten them 2-1 in a series early in the year. Sri Lanka, though, have pushed generally pushed teams further than they have been expected to during the Super 12 stage. They’re out of the running for semi-finals places, but will nevertheless be desperate to finish their campaign with a win. For this Sri Lanka side, two wins out of five in the Super 12 stage would perhaps be considered a mild success.

Form guide

West Indies WLLLW (last five completed T20Is, most recent first)
Sri Lanka LLLWW

In the spotlight

Jason Holder was not in West Indies’ original 15-man squad, but came into it barely a week ago as an injury replacement for Obed McCoy. In the one game he’s had so far, he made quite the impact. Walking in to bat at No. 9, his 15 not out off five balls helped turn what seemed like it was going to be a below-average West Indies total to a reasonable one. Then he delivered three excellent overs in the powerplay, giving away just 11 runs.
Kusal Perera has had a poor T20 World Cup. Having coming in off a bad run – having had Covid, then a hamstring injury, on top of being replaced as captain, Perera desperately needed some runs to get himself back in the groove. He has got a couple of soft 30-odds under his belt, but really, has 94 runs from seven innings, with a strike rate of 117.50. He has also been sloppy behind the stumps, dropping at least one crucial catch. Expect West Indies to bowl spin to him in the powerplay to capitalise on his weakness against slower bowling.

Pitch and conditions

Abu Dhabi’s longer boundaries are perhaps a slightly greater challenge for West Indies’ six-hitters, but then a truer pitch should be to their liking as well. As this is a night match, expect dew to play a role and for the captain that wins the toss to field first as that has proved to be a substantial advantage this tournament.

Team news

Sri Lanka might be tempted to throw Binura Fernando in for Lahiru Kumara, just to give another seamer a run.

Sri Lanka (probable): 1 Pathum Nissanka, 2 Kusal Perera (wk), 3 Charith Asalanka, 4 Avishka Fernando, 5 Bhanuka Rajapaksa, 6 Dasun Shanaka (capt), 7 Chamika Karunaratne, 8 Wanindu Hasaranga, 9 Dushmantha Chameera, 10 Maheesh Theekshana 11 Binura Fernando

West Indies may just stick to their winning combination from the match against Bangladesh. Though whether they bat Chris Gayle right at the top of the order, or lower down, remains to be seen.

West Indies (probable): 1 Chris Gayle, 2 Evin Lewis, 3 Roston Chase, 4 Shimron Hetmyer, 5 Kieron Pollard (capt), 6 Andre Russell, 7 Nicholas Pooran, 8 Jason Holder, 9 Dwayne Bravo, 10 Akeal Hosein, 11 Ravi Rampaul

Stats and rivia

  • Wanindu Hasaranga is not just the highest wicket-taker in the tournament, with 14 dismissals, he was also the highest wicket-taker in Sri Lanka’s series against West Indies earlier in the year, taking eight wickets in three matches, with an economy of 3.50.
  • Chris Gayle has not passed 20 in his six most-recent T20 World Cup innings. Though in the innings before that run, he had hit a 100 not out off 48 balls.
  • These teams have met each other seven times in T20 World Cups. Sri Lanka have won five of those encounters, though West Indies have won the most recent match (in 2016), and the final they played in 2012.
  • Quotes

    “It’s not only us that have struggled on these wickets, but other players – world-class players – have struggled as well. They’ve just been able find a rhythm, and we haven’t been able to cross that 143-run barrier. The teams that have done well have assessed conditions well.”
    West Indies captain Kieron Pollard

    Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf

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