With India and Sri Lanka both not playing with their full-strength sides each, the series was always going to be a battle of bench strengths of the two sides. It didn’t prove to be any different in the first match too as India’s bench strength pretty much trumped Sri Lanka’s with relative ease.
Sri Lanka will be looking to make amends and bounce back into the series when the two sides meet up next. They are all set to take on each other in the second match that is to be played at Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium, Dharamsala on Saturday, 26th February 2022.
INDIA VS SRI LANKA TEAM PREVIEWS
Given the way India went about their business defending the total they posted in the first match, it was clear that they wanted to explore their options with the ball. None of their first four frontline bowlers completed his quota of four overs with India allowing plenty of bowling space to Venkatesh Iyer and Deepak Hoods. Yes, they had a cushion of a massive total behind their bowlers, but with World Cup not too far and a quest to find another batting all-rounder stronger, we may well see India experiment a lot more in the upcoming contest.
India’s intent batting first has been pretty clear in their recent matches. They have taken their time to get set, but once in, they have been a tough side to deal with. It was pretty much the same in the last game as well with Ishan Kishan and Rohit Sharma taking the attack on the Sri Lankans. Coming in at number three, Shreyas Iyer was remarkably good as he paced his innings to perfection.
Even though India is going through a purple patch at the momentum in T20I Cricket, all is not rosy for them. Their fielding, especially catching, has been a bit iffy in the recent matches and that could always prove to be a decisive factor, especially in high-stake matches.
As far as the combination is concerned, India would want to give Sanju Samson and Ruturaj Gaikwad a fair bit of run. Samson did not get an opportunity to show his skills with the bat whereas Ruturaj Gaikwad was ruled out of the first match. He is not expected to feature in the remainder of the matches as well and if that happens to be the case, India would likely walk in unchanged for the upcoming contest.
All in all, India is a better-equipped side and has already demonstrated their depth with a massive win in the first match of the series. They will be looking to win this match to leave the third match of the series for experimentation. If they do not get complacent and can play as they have in recent times, getting past them is going to be an incredibly tough task.
Sri Lanka would have been pumped after getting that consolation win over Australia in the final match of their tour down under but were left high and dry with many of their first-choice players not being available for the India tour. Sri Lanka’s full-strength side was already in a rebuilding phase and with Wandindu Hasaranga and Mahesh Theekshana getting ruled out, Sri Lanka had to entirely rejig their bowling plans.
It was apparent in the first match of the series too as Sri Lankan bowlers lacked any plan whatsoever. They never looked in control against any Indian batsmen and would want to improve in the second match. The conditions here at Dharamsala are likely to be a bit better for their fast bowlers and they would be looking to take early wickets in the upcoming match.
On the batting front, however, Sri Lanka has been struggling ever since the beginning of its Australian tour. The absence of Wandindu Hasaranga from their middle-order has certainly taken a lot of balance away from their lineup. Their batting has not only lacked intent but also the ability to score big totals. Having said that, with some hard-hitters available in the lineup, the Sri Lankan unit can tonk the bowlers hard, provided they get their execution right.
Overall, with their first-choice players not available, Sri Lanka has a lot to fix going into the upcoming match. The conditions will suit their fast bowlers better and they will be looking to utilize that to their advantage. If they do that and can keep India to a modest total, Sri Lanka will certainly have a bright chance.
INDIA VS SRI LANKA 2ND T20I
Venue: Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium, Dharamsala
Date & Time: February 26th at 7:00 PM IST
The pitch has been offering a lot for the fast bowlers over the years and both sides might be tempted to bring in an extra pacer owing to the conditions. The skipper that wins the toss will be looking to bat first going by the results so far in the pitch but the dew factor could be crucial as well for the second bowling side.
INDIA VS SRI LANKA HEAD TO HEAD
Overall games – 23, India-15, Sri Lanka -7, NR -1
PROBABLE TOP PERFORMERS
PROBABLE BEST BATTER: ROHIT SHARMA
Rohit Sharma had a good start to the series with a 32-ball 44 and looked in fine touch in the first T20I against Sri Lanka. However, he is yet to make the big scores since the T20Is against West Indies and will be looking to capitalize in the second game. The Indian skipper is a game-changer with the bat once he gets going and could be very destructive as well. The Mumbaikar hit a splendid century in 2015 On the same venue.
PROBABLE BEST BOWLER: JASPRIT BUMRAH
Jasprit Bumrah wasn’t much needed in the first T20I and he was on the money straightaway with good pace and swing with the new ball. The vice-captain of the side bowled three overs for 19 runs without a wicket and he will be looking to be a lot more attacking in the second T20I. The speedster will be the leader of the bowling attack and he will look to add some more wickets to his tally.
Today’s Match Prediction: India to win the match.