After the first T20I match was abandoned due to rain and wet patches on the pitch in Guwahati, India and Sri Lanka will head to Indore for their second T20I at Holkar Stadium on Tuesday (7th January 2020). Thankfully, there are no chances of rain predicted on match day.
India earlier had met Sri Lanka in Indore in 2017 and till date it is the only T20 international match held at Holkar Stadium that has staged a total of eight internationals including- two Test, five ODIs and one T20I. Amazingly India have never been beaten at this venue.
Both the teams have played a total of six bilateral T20I series so far, five of which have been won by India while one has ended in a draw. Overall, India emerged victorious against the Islanders in 11 out of the 16 meetings in the shortest format.
This time too, India not only have the home advantage but skipper Virat Kohli also has a solid brigade with KL Rahul, Jasprit Bumrah, Shikhar Dhawan and Kuldeep Yadav in his squad.
Left-handed batsman Shikhar Dhawan will be eager to prove himself in the shortest format again after making a comeback. Recovering from a back injury, he displayed his form in the Ranji game against Hyderabad by hitting a ton for his domestic team Delhi.
Apart from Dhawan who last played international cricket in August 2019, the top-order of India are in good form. Kohli was the highest run scorer for India in T20Is in 2019, scoring 466 runs at an average of 77.66 and with a strike rate of 147.93. Rohit Sharma, who had blasted 118 runs off 43 balls in the T20I against Sri Lanka in 2017 at Holkar Stadium, has been given a rest for the ongoing series. KL Rahul who is going to open with Dhawan in the absence of Rohit Sharma was the 3rd highest run scorer for India in T20Is last year. In 9 innings in 2019, Rahul has 356 runs at an average of 44.50 and with a strike rate of 142.40. With some stellar knocks in 2019, Shreyas Iyer also stands in the queue for the T20 World Cup slated to be played in Australia in October this year.
On the bowling front Jasprit Bumrah would be raring to go and put up a grand performance, coming back from an injury after a gap of four months. The pitch at the Holkar Stadium is likely to favour left-arm-Chinaman Kuldeep Yadav. However, Yadav has played only two T20Is last year at a strike rate of 12. Right-arm pacer Navdeep Saini could be a major factor as in his last 5 matches, he has grabbed six wickets at a strike rate of 17.
On the other hand, Sri Lanka also have a few experienced players in their squad, but the team is mostly made up of youngsters. Since 2019, they have lost nine matches under the captaincy of Lasith Malinga. They won only one during that period when Malinga took four wickets in four balls against New Zealand.
Their bowling department needs to be on their toes to trouble the red-hot Indian batsmen. Their young batting line-up too will be tested against the Indian bowling attack.
At Holkar Stadium, left-arm pacers have also done a good job. Sri Lanka’s Isuru Udana is the only player in this category but, he is currently going through a bad patch and in the last eight matches he has a strike rate of 22.4. Right-arm leg-break Wanindu Hasaranga could prove to be an ace in the pack for the Islanders. His current form is outstanding as he takes a wicket every 12.8 balls in his last eight matches. Oshada Fernando, Kusal Mendis and Gunathilaka are expected to shoulder the batting burden and provide the bulk of the runs.