When India announced their squad for the three-match T20I series against Sri Lanka, their seam bowling looked weak on experience. Arshdeep Singh, who made his international debut less than six months ago, was the leader of the pack, which had Umran Malik and two uncapped bowlers in the form of Shivam Mavi and Mukesh Kumar.
Then, on day one of the first T20I, Arshdeep was unavailable as he had failed to fully recover from a viral illness. But Mavi and Malik stepped up to help India defend 162. Mavi does not shy away from mixing his seam-up delivery with a slower one. He struck twice in the powerplay, and finished with figures of 4 for 22. According to ESPNcricinfo’s Smart Stats, he was easily the MVP of the match.
Given his pace and lack of accuracy, Malik can be costly at times. But in the first T20I, he bowled tough lengths to take 2 for 27 in his four overs. One of those overs was at the death, where he swung the game in India’s favor with the wicket of Dasun Shanaka.
Performances from both meant that the hosts took a 1–0 lead despite lapses in batting and fielding. At one point it looked like they would struggle to reach 150 after being reduced to 94 for 5 in the 15th over. While defending, Sanju Samson dropped a catch, and his ground fielding was also found to be poor.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka have lost their last 11 completed T20 matches in india against india
, But they will take confidence from the fact that their spinners Wanindu Hasaranga and Mahesh Thikshana dismissed their Indian counterparts Yuzvendra Chahal and Akshar Patel in the first game. This helped them restrict India to a below-par total at the traditionally high-scoring Wankhede. And despite their top-order failure, Shanaka and Chamika Karunaratne brought them within one shot of victory.
Incidentally, their last win against India in 2016 also came at the MCA Stadium in Pune, the venue of Thursday’s game. Sri Lanka would be hoping for a similar result to keep the series alive.
India WTWLW (Last five completed T20Is, most recent first)
Sri Lanka LLWLL
Harshal Patel broke into the Indian team during the 2021 IPL on the back of his excellent death bowling. But in recent times it seems that the batsmen have understood him. The rise of Arshdeep meant that he did not get a single match in the 2022 T20 World Cup even as India’s first-choice death bowler Jasprit Bumrah was ruled out of the squad due to a back injury. He needs to perform well in the remaining two matches of the series as once Bumrah is back, getting into the playing XI will become even more difficult.
Bhanuka Rajapaksa was Sri Lanka’s leading run-getter during his asia cup 2022 campaign
Scored 191 runs at a strike rate of 149.21. But since then their returns have declined. But T20 World Cup
He scored only 125 runs in seven innings at a strike rate of 119.04. they fared worse in the recently concluded lanka premier league
: 95 runs at 105.55 in seven innings. Sri Lanka will need him among the runs if they want to give themselves the best chance of winning the series.
Malik may have to sit out if Arshdeep is available. Barring this, India cannot make any other changes, especially with Hardik, on more than one occasion, talking about backing his players.
India (Probable): 1 Ishan Kishan (wk), 2 Shubman Gill, 3 Suryakumar Yadav, 4 Sanju Samson, 5 Hardik Pandya (c), 6 Deepak Hooda, 7 Akshar Patel, 8 Harshal Patel, 9 Shivam Mavi, 10 Arshdeep Singh / Umran Malik, 11 Yuzvendra Chahal
Sri Lanka may consider bringing in Lahiru Kumara for Kasun Rajitha, who conceded 47 runs in his four wicketless overs in the first T20I.
Sri Lanka (Probable): 1 Pathum Nissanka, 2 Kusal Mendis (wk), 3 Dhananjay de Silva, 4 Charit Asalanka, 5 Bhanuka Rajapaksa, 6 Dasun Shanaka (C), 7 Wanindu Hasaranga, 8 Chamika Karunaratne, 9 Mahesh Thikshana, 10 Kasun Rajitha /Lahiru Kumara, 11 Dilshan Madushanka
Unlike many other venues, in all T20 matches at the MCA Stadium, teams batting first have won more matches than teams chasing: 34 vs 29. Here on the black soil surface, the spinners have done slightly better than the fast bowlers, with an economy of 7.37. compared to 7.97 for seamers. Once again, not much dew is expected, with the night temperature expected to hover around 18°C.