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Match Preview – Sri Lanka vs West Indies, ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021/22, 35th Match, Group 1




West Indies still have a slim chance if they win this match but Sri Lanka will look to finish their campaign on a high

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West Indies have lost two of their three matches so far, but theoretically, they could still make the semi-finals. They need to win their game against Sri Lanka and their next against Australia to end up on six points, the same as South Africa, so long as South Africa also lose to England. West Indies’ problem, though, is their net run rate. At -1.598, it is the worst in the group. They not only need to win their two remaining games to have a chance, they also need to win big, and hope England crush South Africa.

Sri Lanka, meanwhile, have been bright in portions of their campaign. Wanindu Hasaranga has been their star, but Dushmantha Chameera has also been excellent, frequently taking wickets in the powerplay. Maheesh Theekshana has not quite been the wicket-taking force in the Super 12s that he was in the first round, but he has at least been economical. Their batting – and particularly the form of senior batters such as Kusal Perera and Dasun Shanaka – remains Sri Lanka’s primary concern.

Before this tournament, Sri Lanka was perhaps an opponent West Indies felt they should ease past, particularly having beaten them 2-1 in a series early in the year. Sri Lanka, though, have pushed generally pushed teams further than they have been expected to during the Super 12 stage. They’re out of the running for semi-finals places, but will nevertheless be desperate to finish their campaign with a win. For this Sri Lanka side, two wins out of five in the Super 12 stage would perhaps be considered a mild success.

Form guide

West Indies WLLLW (last five completed T20Is, most recent first)
Sri Lanka LLLWW

In the spotlight

Jason Holder was not in West Indies’ original 15-man squad, but came into it barely a week ago as an injury replacement for Obed McCoy. In the one game he’s had so far, he made quite the impact. Walking in to bat at No. 9, his 15 not out off five balls helped turn what seemed like it was going to be a below-average West Indies total to a reasonable one. Then he delivered three excellent overs in the powerplay, giving away just 11 runs.
Kusal Perera has had a poor T20 World Cup. Having coming in off a bad run – having had Covid, then a hamstring injury, on top of being replaced as captain, Perera desperately needed some runs to get himself back in the groove. He has got a couple of soft 30-odds under his belt, but really, has 94 runs from seven innings, with a strike rate of 117.50. He has also been sloppy behind the stumps, dropping at least one crucial catch. Expect West Indies to bowl spin to him in the powerplay to capitalise on his weakness against slower bowling.

Pitch and conditions

Abu Dhabi’s longer boundaries are perhaps a slightly greater challenge for West Indies’ six-hitters, but then a truer pitch should be to their liking as well. As this is a night match, expect dew to play a role and for the captain that wins the toss to field first as that has proved to be a substantial advantage this tournament.

Team news

Sri Lanka might be tempted to throw Binura Fernando in for Lahiru Kumara, just to give another seamer a run.

Sri Lanka (probable): 1 Pathum Nissanka, 2 Kusal Perera (wk), 3 Charith Asalanka, 4 Avishka Fernando, 5 Bhanuka Rajapaksa, 6 Dasun Shanaka (capt), 7 Chamika Karunaratne, 8 Wanindu Hasaranga, 9 Dushmantha Chameera, 10 Maheesh Theekshana 11 Binura Fernando

West Indies may just stick to their winning combination from the match against Bangladesh. Though whether they bat Chris Gayle right at the top of the order, or lower down, remains to be seen.

West Indies (probable): 1 Chris Gayle, 2 Evin Lewis, 3 Roston Chase, 4 Shimron Hetmyer, 5 Kieron Pollard (capt), 6 Andre Russell, 7 Nicholas Pooran, 8 Jason Holder, 9 Dwayne Bravo, 10 Akeal Hosein, 11 Ravi Rampaul

Stats and rivia

  • Wanindu Hasaranga is not just the highest wicket-taker in the tournament, with 14 dismissals, he was also the highest wicket-taker in Sri Lanka’s series against West Indies earlier in the year, taking eight wickets in three matches, with an economy of 3.50.
  • Chris Gayle has not passed 20 in his six most-recent T20 World Cup innings. Though in the innings before that run, he had hit a 100 not out off 48 balls.
  • These teams have met each other seven times in T20 World Cups. Sri Lanka have won five of those encounters, though West Indies have won the most recent match (in 2016), and the final they played in 2012.
  • Quotes

    “It’s not only us that have struggled on these wickets, but other players – world-class players – have struggled as well. They’ve just been able find a rhythm, and we haven’t been able to cross that 143-run barrier. The teams that have done well have assessed conditions well.”
    West Indies captain Kieron Pollard

    Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf

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    Travis Head wins the race to be Australia's No. 5 in the Ashes



    Mitchell Starc will complete the fast-bowling trio alongside Josh Hazlewood and captain Pat Cummins

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    Mithali Raj – We have had ‘good preparation’ for 2022 World Cup by playing SA, England, Australia this year




    “We are getting to play in New Zealand before World Cup which is also good,” she says

    India Women are scheduled to play only one ODI series – against New Zealand – before the World Cup early next year but captain Mithali Raj feels the team has had “good preparation” so far in 2021.
    This year, India hosted South Africa for five ODIs before playing a three-match series in England and Australia each. They lost all three series but made Australia, the No. 1 team, work really hard for their 2-1 win and also ended their 26-match winning streak in the third ODI there.

    India will play World Cup hosts New Zealand for five ODIs before the World Cup in March-April.

    “We have played three best teams since March and it has given us good preparation,” Raj said after a partnership between KFC and Indian Deaf Cricket Association in Delhi on Wednesday. “Players have played domestic cricket and also in the Women’s Big Bash so they are getting game time which is the most important thing.

    “We are getting to play in New Zealand before World Cup which is also good.”

    India, who were unable to post 250-plus scores regularly earlier, did that twice in the Australia series and chased down 265 in the final ODI.

    “When you play against a strong team in its backyard you try to give your best,” Raj said. “Though we lost the series, the matches were very close. We scored 270 (274) and chased 270-odd, if we can do that consistently we will be among the best sides in world cricket.”

    India’s middle-order batting needs improvement but Raj said all departments must fire as a unit if they are to win the World Cup.

    “We bat as a unit so you can’t pinpoint one area,” she said. “There are times when the top order failed and the others performed. As a unit if we look to post a good total then it will help. If we focus on one area like middle order then it becomes too much of a burden for that particular slot.”

    India finished runners-up in the 2017 World Cup in England when not many expected them to but expectations will be higher this time.

    “There were not enough expectations back then,” Raj said. “Now in 2021, players have got experience and got a lot of exposure with the T20 leagues. Overall we have young players but they have got enough exposure. It is just of matter of gelling well as a team.

    “Every match will be different there. The quicker we read our opponents the better it will be for us.”

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    The Ashes 2021-22 – Michael Vaughan stood down from BT Sport Ashes coverage after Azeem Rafiq allegations




    Channel to adopt a “hybrid” approach with Vaughan’s stints on Fox Sports to be overlaid

    Michael Vaughan, the former England captain, will not be heard by UK audiences during this winter’s Ashes in Australia, after BT Sport followed the BBC’s decision to remove him from their TV coverage of the series.

    Vaughan, 47, was last week stood down from BBC Test Match Special’s coverage for “editorial” reasons, following allegations from Azeem Rafiq, the former Yorkshire cricketer, that he had said “there are too many of you lot” following the selection of four players of Asian heritage in a county fixture in 2009.

    Vaughan, who denies the allegations, apologised last week in an interview on BBC Breakfast for the “hurt” caused to Rafiq during his time as a player at Yorkshire, and will still be involved in this winter’s Ashes coverage through his commentary role with Fox Sports, the Australian host broadcaster.

    However, BT Sport – who are due to take the Fox Sports feed after choosing not to send a bespoke commentary team to Australia – announced on Tuesday that they will be taking a “hybrid” approach to their coverage, with Vaughan’s on-air stints to be overlaid with studio analysis.

    “As a result of Covid and travel restrictions BT Sport had made the decision to take our commentary feed from the Australian host broadcaster,” the channel said in a statement. “The recent report presented to UK Parliament uncovering institutional racism within cricket and specifically Yorkshire County Cricket Club is extremely disappointing and a concern for all.

    “Given these recent events and the controversy with the situation we have taken the decision that including Michael Vaughan within our Ashes coverage would not be editorially appropriate or fit with BT Sport’s values. We are still finalising plans but we are assessing the option of taking a hybrid approach, using Fox commentary where possible with the aim of putting our own commentary team in place if necessary.”

    Vaughan’s troubled build-up to the series continued on Tuesday, when he announced on Twitter that his arrival in Australia had been delayed by a week due to a positive Covid test. “[It] is frustrating,” he wrote. “But at least I’ll avoid the rain in Brisbane for a few days!”

    However, his hopes of being retained by the BBC after the Ashes have received a boost, after the corporation confirmed that they had been in “regular contact” with Vaughan since his suspension, and had held “positive conversations with him in recent days”.

    “Our contributors are required to talk about relevant issues, so Michael’s involvement in a story of such significance means it’s not possible for him to be part of our Ashes coverage or wider cricket coverage at the moment,” the statement added. “We’re pleased with how our conversations are going and expect to work with Michael again in the future. He remains on contract to the BBC.”

    The BBC’s stance was criticised this week by his former England team-mate Monty Panesar, who wrote in a column in the Daily Telegraph: “This feels deeply unethical — a classic case of someone being tried and convicted without any form of due process being undertaken.”

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