2014 world champions Sri Lanka will want to bow out of the Twenty20 World Cup 2021 on a high when they take on the West Indies in Abu Dhabi this evening. The Super 12 Group 1 encounter is scheduled to get underway at 7.30pm.
Sri Lanka won the first four games of the tournament but lost the last three encounters and are out of contention for a semi-final berth. Although they did well in patches against Australia, South Africa and England, the batting let them down. Seniors Kusal Janith Perera and skipper Dasun Shanaka have been poor. Pathum Nissanka and Charith Asalanka have made decent runs at the top while Bhanuka Rajapaksa has some runs under his belt too. Wanindu Hasaranga has been the star for Sri Lanka and with 14 wickets he is also the highest wicket-taker in the tournament.
Maheesh Theekshana, Lahiru Kumara and Dushmantha Chameera have played supporting roles to Hasaranga. However, Sri Lanka has not delivered a collective performance during the Super 12 round. They are languishing at the fourth spot in the Points Table with one win and three losses. With qualification out of reach, the Sri Lankan coaching staff will be keen to give some of the bench players an opportunity and prepare them for future tournaments.
Defending Champions West Indies have been out-of-sorts in the Middle East. Experienced men Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Andre Russel and skipper Keiron Pollard have not done any justice to their reputation as they helped win only one game so far. They’ve only beaten Bangladesh and must win with massive margins against Sri Lanka today and against Australia on Saturday to have any hope of qualifying for the semi-finals.
Evin Lewis is the top runs scorer and Akeal Hosein is the highest wicket-taker for the Windies but skipper Pollard will need better returns from others to have an impact in the tournament. Jason Holder who came into the side as an injury replacement starred with the bat and the ball against Bangladesh and should retain his place in the playing XI today. The Windies are likely to change the batting order to up the tempo at the top of the order.
Chasing would be the norm on the Abu Dhabi deck and once again the toss will play a key role today which could decide the outcome of the game. Sri Lanka and the West Indies have won seven T20Is each against one another and today’s game will be a tussle between the Lankan bowlers and Windies batters.
Prediction: Sri Lanka to claim its second win of the Supper 12s