India booked their semi-final berth after beating Bangladesh on Tuesday whereas Sri Lanka will be playing their final World Cup match despite decent recent form. There are question marks about India despite their success and Virat Kohli’s men will be keen to finish the group games with another win.
ONE MORE CHANCE FOR INDIA TO FINE TUNE
Incredibly India fans have been critical of their side despite a relative stroll to the last four. A win against Sri Lanka puts pressure on Australia to beat South Africa otherwise Virat Kohli’s men could claim the top spot. Finish top and India play New Zealand at Old Trafford. Second and they take on England at Edgbaston.
In India, it is religion and cricket that dominate culturally, and millions back home will be expecting trophy success, so there is huge pressure on Team India to perform. A defeat against England was followed by a narrow victory against Bangladesh, India’s sixth of the competition.
Sri Lanka has achieved more than many expected with three wins and two no results seeing them comfortably mid-table. Without the pair of rain ruined games, there was always a chance their bid to reach the semi-finals could have lasted longer, but in truth, they are not a top-four side. They will go home excited that they are on the right track.
INDIA YET TO COMPLETELY CONVINCE
Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Dinesh Karthik came in for the last game against Bangladesh. The super sub fielder Ravindra Jadeja may get a game with the semi-finals secured. Otherwise, a winning team remains on the park as they will want to take momentum into the knockout stages.
But it isn’t all perfection. India’s legendary MS Dhoni, the master finisher, has been accused of wasting balls. KL Rahul, forced into the opener role after Shikhar Dhawan withdrew from the tournament with an injury, has scored two fifties in seven knocks and is also under fire.
Pakistan fans accused the Indians of a lack of intent in their chase against England, but few have realized that this is the way India play. Cautious in the powerplay and very aware that they have a long tail, India nudges along to a score their tremendous bowling attack can defend. With hard-hitting all-rounder, Hardik Pandya at number seven and a long tail behind him the middle-order is cautious of exposing the tail.
Plus points have included Rohit Sharma who has stroked four hundreds and amassed 544 runs at 90.66. Virat Kohli is yet to notch three figures but has 408 runs at 58.28 and he has captained a bowling unit where Jasprit Bumrah has underlined his status as the best death bowler in the world. Bumrah’s 14 wickets have come at just 4.60 per over. He’s been well supported by Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami and the spin of Yuzvendra Chahal.
Sri Lanka made three changes for their West Indies match as they introduced Lahiru Thirimanne, Jeffrey Vandersay, and Kasun Rajitha. Thirimanne made 45 not out and could be retained as the coaching staff aims to give everyone game time.
21-year-old Avishka Fernando has been a revelation with the bat since over the last three matches with 183 runs and a tremendous century against West Indies in the last game. But only Kusal Perera (255) and skipper Dimuth Karunaratne (212) have past 200 runs for their team.
Veteran paceman Lasith Malinga has shone in his last World Cup with 12 wickets at a frugal economy rate of 5.63. He will bid to restrict India early after taking 3-55 against West Indies and four wickets in the win against England. But the next best Sri Lankans are Dhananjaya de Silva, Nuwan Pradeep and Isuru Udana with five apiece.
Sri Lanka has overachieved and can only hope India take their eye off the ball now they are guaranteed a semi-final place. The Lankans have gradually improved as the tournament continued and would love to take a win against India home with them. It’s a big ask and only worth taking on as a price play for betting value. If you are looking to bet from India, check out our guide to Indian betting apps here.
- Sri Lanka to win at 24/5, purely for betting value doesn’t provide huge value but is the obvious play (BetVictor App).
- Rohit Sharma to be India’s top batsman at 11/5 (BetRally India App)
- Avishka Fernando to be Top Sri Lanka batsman at 5/1 (BetFred App)
- Sri Lanka to hit the highest first 10 overs total at 37/25 (Marathon Bet) – India are often slow out of the traps.