T20I: India vs. Sri Lanka
T20 in 2020 – what’s not to like!
A new decade and the first of three T20 cricket clashes in a week to enjoy.
The teams ranked fifth and seventh in the T20 world rankings and sadly, while any T20 cricket news has been overshadowed by non-cricketing matters in the build-up, we are all set for play at the Cricket Ground in Guwahati.
Having enjoyed a well-earned break coming into the new year, Virat Kohli’s boys are set to get back onto the field and focus on playing T20s as they gear up for the World T20 in November in Australia.
Keeping in mind the workload on senior players like Rohit Sharma, the Indian selectors have decided to give the limited-overs deputy a break from the series and his position in the team has gone to opener Shikhar Dhawan.
They are flying no doubt helped by a personal (as well as collective) battle to succeed and the race between King Kohli – shining in all areas of the sport – and vice-captain Sharma for T20 I batting supremacy.
It ended in a stalemate in 2019 with both modern-day icons finishing the year with 2,633 runs each.
Kohli is now set to go past Sharma and become the leading run-scorer in T20 cricket once again.
In contrast, Sri Lanka need to end a horror run against the hosts. In fact, they have not won a bilateral series versus India since Kohli made his international debut in 2008.
The islanders have also lost three of their last four series’ and are heading into this on the back of a 3-0 defeat in Australia.
Sri Lanka have been a shadow of their former self across all formats of the game in the recent past and their records against India over the last 12 years simply bear testament to that.
So which side will turn up in India? Soon after their second-string team had whitewashed Pakistan 3-0 in Pakistan, their first-string team were swept aside in Australia. The margins of defeats were alarming – 134 runs, nine wickets and seven wickets – but Sri Lanka have kept faith in their youngsters.
When Bhanuka Rajapaksa was racking up the runs at school level, he was earmarked to be a future Sri Lanka star.
After some unexpected success in Pakistan, the 28-year-old seems to be belatedly living up to the hype, having earned a T20 gig in the Bangladesh Premier League and a T10 gig in the UAE.
His country now needs him more than ever.
In 59 matches played between the two sides (all tournaments) in the past 12 years, India have managed 44 wins while losing only 10 matches. Some of those defeats have come at major tournaments, including the T20 World Cup final in 2014 and a Champions Trophy in 2017.
The last time Sri Lanka defeated India in a bilateral series was in August 2008 wherein an Anil Kumble-led visiting side lost a three-match series in the island nation. India have won four Test series since then while Sri Lanka have managed a solitary draw in a series.
In T20s, India have won five out of the six series played in the said period while one contest, played in 2009, ended in a draw. Moreover, Sri Lanka have never defeated India in a bilateral T20 series.
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