After a nail-biting finish in the first ODI at Colombo, the two teams will now clash in the second ODI in the three-match series at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium, Hambantota on Wednesday.
The onus will be on West Indies to bounce back strongly in this game after falling short by a whisker in the first match.
Ground details and team combination
The Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium, Hambantota has one of the best batting tracks in Sri Lanka. Since January 2017, batsmen have scored at 41.8 per wicket with a wicket falling only every 43 balls. We could have a high scoring contest on our hands as 300-plus has been scored in three out of the six innings, which includes Sri Lanka successfully chasing down a target of 311 in the last match at this venue.
Unlike the track at SSC, Hambantota favours spin a lot more than pace. Since 2017, out of the 36 wickets to fall at this venue 23 have gone to spinners, while the rest have fallen to pacers. The fast bowlers have picked up a wicket every 54.2 deliveries, 54.5 runs apart. The spinners have been significantly better, scalping a wicket once every 38.5 balls and at an average of 35.3.
Although right-arm pacers have picked up the most wickets on this ground since 2017, the off-spinners are not far behind and have done so at a significantly better economy rate, bowling average, and bowling strike-rate. In fact, off-spinners have been the best among all bowling techniques and you could benefit by including a couple of such bowlers in your team.
Shai Hope is currently an all-time great when it comes to opening the batting in ODIs. Among batsmen who have opened at least 10 times, Hope’s average of 91.88 is the highest. He has 12 50-plus scores at the top and showed his worth in the first game at Colombo where he scored a 140-ball 115 to take his side to a competitive total. No other wicketkeeper has more dismissals than Hope’s 43 in ODIs since 2019, which further makes him a hot candidate for your team’s captaincy.
West Indies all-rounder Roston Chase has upped his ODI game since 2019, having scored 383 runs at 38.3 along with a strike-rate of 82. He occupies the crucial No. 4 spot in the West Indies line-up and is tasked with the responsibility of laying the foundation for the team. He scored a handy 45-ball 41 in the first game, which eased the pressure on Shai Hope. While he went wicketless and was expensive, the fact that off-spinners have done well at Hambantota could work in his favour. Since 2019, he has picked up 11 wickets at 44.36 and picks up a wicket once every 57.8 deliveries.
While Dimuth Karunaratne might not be a flashy player, he gets the job done at the top. He sees out the initial difficult phase and while he may not get those big hundreds, he sets up the match well for the middle-order to finish. Since 2019, he has scored 448 runs at an average of 40.73, which includes as many as four 50-plus scores in 12 innings.
Nuwan Pradeep has been a consistent performer for Sri Lanka. Since 2019, he has picked up 20 wickets striking every 32.8 balls. Only Lasith Malinga with 27 scalps has picked up more during this period. He has been excellent even at home, picking up six wickets at an interval of 29 deliveries each, 28 runs apart in ODIs since 2019.
Shai Hope (c & w/k), Dimuth Karunaratne, Darren Bravo, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Roston Chase, Dhananjaya de Silva, Jason Holder, Sheldon Cottrell, Nuwan Pradeep, Wanindu Hasaranga (vc)