India is currently the top team in both ODI and Test. The team has been through an unbeaten stretch of more than a year in both formats. This does not mean India is not doing enough in T20. Yes, the team won almost all of it as well, but it is only the series with West Indies that went out of hand. Still, it would not be quite unreasonable to guess that T20 might be its weakest format right now. India lost two of the three matches it played last in the shortest format. Against Sri Lanka, India will again tussle on the last leg of their victorious tournament. Again, it does not mean, the home team will remain unbeatable.
A dire change in the form-up of the team might add to Indian woes. The team is without its top bets like Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Some consequence of such absences was apparent in the first ODI of recently concluded series. The team’s collective form with players like Basil Thampi, Deepak Hooda, Washington Sundar and Mohammed Siraj will be accessed in the upcoming match.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka is with all its Tested players, even if the team lost all five of the last matches it played. The teams are facing off with a contrasting form. India filled up the squad with raw players who showed up varying degrees of success. Sri Lanka came up with its most experienced squad, but through failures at collective efforts.
The first T20 match of the tournament is in Cuttack, a venue well known as bowler friendly. In ODI, India thumped big scores in the few matches it played, while in T20, they did not have much fortunes. In the match, India’s line up is strengthened with players like Rohit Sharma, Lokesh Rahul, MS Dhoni, Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya. Sri Lanka squad is with all its senior players who would “try and help” the young guys as “much as possible”, as Dinesh Karthik commeted.
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