Sri Lanka won the ODI series 3-0 and will be looking to carry on that form into the T20Is. On the other hand, West Indies will consider themselves unlucky to have been whitewashed after coming very close in two out of three ODI matches.
With a T20 World Cup scheduled for later in the year, both teams will be keen to use this series to build momentum heading into the marquee tournament.
Ground Details and Team Combination
Over the last three years, Pallekele has played host to three T20Is and all those matches came during the series between Sri Lanka and New Zealand in 2019. While two matches saw scores of 174 and 161 being chased down, in the second T20I, the Kiwis were bowled out for just 88 while chasing 126. Lasith Malinga had put up a special performance in that game, picking up four wickets in successive deliveries for the second time in his international career.
During the three-match series between Sri Lanka and New Zealand here last year, spinners fared better than pacers. Spinners had a bowling average of 21.1 and a strike rate of 17.6 during the series, while pacers conceded 25.5 runs per wicket while striking every 19.8 deliveries. The fact that spinners have the better stats despite Malinga’s 5/6 during one of the T20Is just shows that this ground tends to favour spin more than pace.
Going by recent stats at this stadium, we can expect a good contest between bat and ball in this match. Therefore, it’ll probably be wise to keep a good balance of batsmen, bowlers and all-rounders in your team.
Andre Russell is considered by many as the most valuable T20 player in the world currently and that is no surprise when you look at his performances in the recent past. He might not have played a T20I since August 2018, but he has a superb record in non-international T20 matches during this period as a batting average of 39.43 and a bowling average of 27.3 since the start 2019 indicate. When he gets going, he tends to hit a few sixes along the way which can earn you more fantasy points.
No Sri Lankan bowler has taken more T20I wickets than Wanindu Hasaranga since the start of 2019. He has taken 15 wickets at a strike rate of 13.5 in T20Is, and what’s more is that his bowling record in Asia is even more impressive. All 15 of his T20I wickets have come in Asia, a continent in which he taken a wicket every 11.8 deliveries. During the ODIs, he showed his capabilities with the bat which is an added bonus.
Kieron Pollard may not have had the best ODI series against Sri Lanka, but he showed some form in the final match with a score of 49. When it comes to T20Is, since 2019, he has amassed 301 runs in nine innings which is more than any other West Indian batsman. He averages 43 during this period which is the highest among West Indian batsmen who have scored 100+ T20I runs. An added bonus is that he can give you points with his bowling too.
Avishka Fernando was in supreme form during the ODI series, with scores of 50, 127 and 29 in the three matches. In fact, in his last seven innings across all forms of competitive cricket, he has six 40+ scores. He hasn’t performed to the best of his abilities in T20Is so far and with the T20 World Cup in mind, he will be keen to improve his record in this series.
Suggested Fantasy Team
Andre Russell (c), Wanindu Hasaranga (vc), Nicholas Pooran (wk), Avishka Fernando, Lendl Simmons, Shimron Hetmyer, Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo, Lasith Malinga, Isuru Udana, Hayden Walsh.