Colombo: India will aim to push for a place in the final of the Nidahas Trophy Twenty20 International (T20I) cricket tri-series when they take on Sri Lanka at the R Premadasa International Cricket Stadium on Monday.
All the three teams — India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh — have played two matches and won a match each and Monday’s match gives both the teams the opportunity to move to the top of the table.
India, captained by Rohit Sharma, lost the first match to Sri Lanka by five wickets before defeating Bangladesh by six wickets on Thursday.
Sri Lanka will not only be confident having defeated India but at the same time, the hosts will be angry after losing to Bangladesh by five wickets in a high-scoring affair on Saturday night.
The hosts had put 214/6 on the board but failed to defend the big total, as Mushfiqur Rahim (72 not out) tore the home bowlers apart.
For this reason, India have to be wary of the Sri Lankans. But this side has shown that it has the strength to go out and deliver and will be eager to continue their good work like they did against Bangladesh.
For India, opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan has been outstanding, scoring 90 and 55 in the two matches, as he continued from where he left off in South Africa. His scores in the last 10 matches are 55, 90, 47, 24, 72, 18, 34, 109, 76, 51.
However, the worry for India has been the form of fellow opener Rohit, who has scored only 39 runs in the past five T20Is.
In the middle-order, India will depend on Manish Pandey, who posted 37 and 27 not out in the two matches.
Suresh Raina will also aim to have a big score after getting 28 in the last match. Young wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant, who has not been impressive so far with scores of 7 and 23, will also look to make amends.
As for the bowlers, medium pacers Jaydev Unadkat, Shardul Thakur and Vijay Shankar helped India restrict Bangladesh to 139/8 in the last match after being wasteful in the first match.
Spinners Yuzvender Chahal and Washington Sundar will again be key in the middle overs.
In the other camp, Sri Lanka will depend on Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Perera and Kusal Mendis to score briskly at the top of the batting order. Dinesh Chandimal and Upul Tharanga will bat in the middle.
In their defeat to Bangladesh, all of the bowlers, barring Nuwan Pradeep, bowled with indiscipline, throwing full-tosses and easy deliveries at important moments and were made to pay for it.
Pradeep will need Thisara Perera and Dushmantha Chameera to step up, along with spinners Akila Dhananjay and Jeevan Mendis.