Predicting the Sri Lanka India match at the World Cup
Sri Lanka versus India is a dead rubber. India will remain second and play third-placed England on 11th July at Edgbaston.That is the common notion.
To add salt to the wound, India lost to England at the same venue.
This is a pessimistic view which most of the viewers share. I believe in optimism and feel that the Australian side may lose against South Africa helping India go up top.
In their last match South Africa drubbed Sri Lanka by 9 wickets, scoring 206 for the loss of only one wicket.
Icing on the cake was coming of form by Faf Du Plessis and Hashim Amla.
So Australians may lose and then India can target winning over Sri Lanka and topping the table.
Sri Lanka is not a great side but mavericks like Kusal Perera, Avishka Fernando, Angelo Mathews and Lasith Malinga can play against the run and cause an upset. They have nothing to lose so they will play with gay abandon.
That being said, Sri Lankan bowling is weak and can be hammered into oblivion
India is winning because of their pace bowling and great batting performances of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli. They are supported by KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya and now, Rishabh Pant.
So, strategically speaking, India should field a team keeping in focus the semi finals.
I want Pant to open the innings as he can clear 30 yards easily and holes out in the latter part of the innings. I had written this in my earlier article and in the two innings he has played, both times he holed out.
Knowing MS Dhoni (he is virtually the captain), India will open with Rahul and Rohit. Pandya should come ahead of Dhoni, at three down, so that he can get into a groove for the semi finals.
In the whole World Cup, spinners have failed to get wickets. They can be pushed for singles and doubles easily so they are taking wickets only if someone tries to accelerate. In this situation, I strongly endorse inclusion of Ravindra Jadeja over Yuzvendra Chahal.
A four-pronged pace attack of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and Pandya is enough to rattle any one. In case of an emergency, Kedar Jadhav can be reeled in to tweak things.
Leeds has been a low scoring ground. At the same venue, Sri Lanka defended 232 against England and Pakistan miraculously defended 227 against Afghanistan.
So, batting first is a no-brainer for any side.
If India bats first India will post a 300+ score and bundle out Sri Lanka.
In case Sri Lanka bats first then they are going to post a sub-250 score which India will chase comfortably.
I vouch for an Indian victory in this one, keeping their chances five to one.