The defending champions of the West Indies will be desperate to address their batting problems and keep their slim semi-finals alive when they take on an inexperienced Sri Lanka in the T20 World Cup on Thursday. After two rugby defeats, the West Indies managed to revive their campaign with a narrow three-run victory over Bangladesh. The two-time champions’ chances of reaching the semi-finals look very slim, but they are not out of the race yet. Not only do they have to win their last two games to stay in the mix for the semi-finals, but also require overwhelming victories to improve their net run rate, which is the weakest in the group.
The victories will not only improve the West Indies’ chances, but will also hurt fellow contenders Australia’s chances of progressing and if South Africa loses to England, which is already through, all three teams could finish on six points. which is the net run rate in the equation.
On the other hand, Sri Lanka, who won the title in 2014, fell back to their third consecutive defeat after a dominant victory in their campaign starting series. With just one game left in their Super 12 campaign, Sri Lanka could end up with a maximum of four points that will not be enough to help them progress.
The West Indies bowlers clinched the victory against Bangladesh with the versatile Dwayne Bravo, Jason Holder and Andre Russell bowling brilliantly at death.
The building unit has shown they are capable of defending decent totals. Holder, who was added to the group as a replacement for Obed McCoy, and debutant Roston Chase were valuable additions.
While Holder had an immediate impact with the ball (1/22) and the bat (15 of 5), Chase (39) anchored the innings when wickets tumbled on the other side. The West Indies were also guilty of being sloppy in the field against Bangladesh, missing several run-out opportunities and losing catches and having to improve on that front. But most importantly, they urgently need to address their batting fragility.
The team, known for its flamboyant style of play, failed miserably with the bat. If it had not been for wicketkeeper-batsman Nicholas Pooran’s quick 22 ball 40, they would also have lost against Bangladesh.
They will have to be better prepared to counter the sly Sri Lankan spin duo of Wanindu Hasaranga and Maheesh Theekshana, who have put the opposition batsmen in the wheel. For Sri Lanka, the tempo trio of Chamika Karunaratne, Dushyant Chameera and Lahiru Kumara looked brown against England. They will look to bowl in the right areas against a shaky West Indies.
As many as six Sri Lankan batsmen got off to a good start against England but were unable to capitalize. But opening batsman Kusal Perera could be dangerous while Pathum Nissanka showed he can tonk the ball across the park.
The role of Bhanuka Rajapaksa, who showed a glimpse of his talent, will also be crucial. Skipper Dasun Shanaka would expect newcomer Charith Asalanka, who shone in the team’s victory in the opening match, and Avishka Fernando to make important contributions.
With their last match of the tournament, Sri Lanka will hope to end the campaign with a victory.
The match starts at 19:30 IST.
Sri Lanka Team: Dasun Shanaka (c), Kusal Janith Perera, Dinesh Chandimal, Dhananjaya De Silva, Pathum Nissanka, Charith Asalanka, Avishka Fernando, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Chamika Karunaratne, Wanindu Hasaranga, Dushmantha Chameera, Lahiru Dan Kumara, Binhaura The Binahura , Maheeshila.
West Indies: Kieron Pollard (c), Nicholas Pooran, Fabian Allen, Dwayne Bravo, Roston Chase, Andre Fletcher, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Evin Lewis, Jason Holder, Lendl Simmons, Ravi Rampaul, Andre Russell, Oshane Thomas, Hayden Walsh Jr.
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