When England beat India in the game yesterday in Edgbaston, it virtually knocked Sri Lanka out of the competition. Sri Lanka who had a golden opportunity to make the semi-final let the chance slip with a really below par performance against South Africa. Sri Lanka not only diminished their chances with that loss, but their NRR took a beating due to that heavy loss. Sri Lanka’s batting once again was their issue as they struggled against a disciplined bowling attack and their bowlers did not have much to bowl at.
The bowling attack of Sri Lanka have punched above their weight so far in the tournament but the batting hasn’t been able to put enough runs on the board. They still have two games to play in the tournament and they would like to win both the games to try and end the tournament on a high. West Indies who began the tournament on a high has had a very disappointing tournament. Their bowling has been okay but their mostly T20 batting line up struggled for consistency and lacked application.
The bowling attack also lacked any plans other than the short ball theory they started the tournament with. Except for Jason Holder and probably Kemar Roach towards the end of the tournament every other bowler was inconsistent and did not have a plan B.
Both these teams now out of contention will be looking to regain some pride and confidence and they would like to leave the tournament on a high.
Head to head:
There hasn’t been much between the two teams historically in ODIs with West Indies having a slight advantage and it is the same in the world cups as well with Sri Lanka trailing by 2-4.
Kemar Roach (West Indies): Kemar Roach has been bowling well since he has made it back to the XI in the latter half of the tournament. Sri Lanka’s batting problems mean that the new ball will be crucial in getting the Sri Lanka batting under pressure. He will be important in getting those breakthrough with the new ball.
Shai Hope (West Indies): Shai Hope is an important member of the West Indies batting order and is kind of a star in their line up. With the kind of talent he has, he had a pretty quiet tournament. He would like to finish the tournament on a high by helping his team to a morale-boosting win. He is their best batter and he would want to make a difference.
Kusal Mendis (Sri Lanka): Mendis is incredibly talented and his performance so far in the tournament has been below par. He would like to correct that in the final two games of the tournament. His scoring runs in the middle order will be crucial for Sri Lanka to put up a decent total.
Suranga Lakmal (Sri Lanka): Nuwan Pradeep has been ruled out of the tournament and Suranga Lakmal who is an experienced bowler for Sri Lanka would want to step up with the new ball. Sri Lanka requires wickets with the new ball and Lakmal along with Lasith Malinga will be the key for his team.
What they said?
“You look back at our tournament, we played well against Pakistan. We had Australia on the ropes. New Zealand as well. We need to seize the key moments in the game. At crucial times we dropped a few chances. And then collectively we didn’t bat properly. It’s just small things that we didn’t do, the one percenters that didn’t we do well. These are the sort of things we discussed as a team. The players are not comfortable with their performances.” Said Floyd Reiffer, West Indies coach
“We have to win our two matches, compete really good,” Said Captain Dimuth Karunaratne “We have to work hard at the batting, bowling, and every department and do well in those matches.”
Sri Lanka XI:
Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Perera, Avishka Fernando, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Jeevan Mendis/ Milinda Siriwardana, Dhananjaya de Silva, Thisara Perera, Isuru Udana, Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Malinga
West Indies XI:
Chris Gayle, Sunil Ambris, Shai Hope, Nicholas Pooran, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder, Carlos Brathwaite, Fabien Allen, Kemar Roach, Sheldon Cottrell, Oshane Thomas
Both these teams started this tournament with low expectations but at various stages generated hope for their fans. The flaws in the team compositions finally caught up with them and even though Sri Lanka was in contention for the longest they still were struggling for consistency. This is a difficult one to call and the team which executes their plans better will be victorious in this contest.