Image courtesy: IANS
Image courtesy: IANS

The one-off T20I against West Indies is the only series (not tournament) that India have lost in 2017. They came very close to lay their hands on the 2017 Champions Trophy but Pakistan was destined for this folklore. Starting with Virat Kohli taking over the limited-overs reins, India had a fantastic year and at Indore they sealed the T20I series against the visiting Sri Lankans. The third T20I at Mumbai will be India s final game of 2017, a year they dominated across formats and it will be fitting if they finish off with a win, registering another whitewash against Sri Lanka.

Change in guards has had little alteration in results for both sides. Rohit Sharma continues to pedal with winning momentum. His willow has acted as a high-performance fuel. Thisara Perera meanwhile is the fifth captain to have led the deflated Sri Lankan unit against India this year. The miseries see no change.

Sri Lanka lost the Cuttack T20I by 93 runs; they put on slightly better show at Indore to go down by 88 runs. That s been a reflection of Sri Lanka s 2017.

It has been year for them to forget. India have smashed them to pulp. India made it 9-0 (across formats) in Sri Lanka and now routed them across format, in India. Sri Lanka s moments of elation against India came in the Champions Trophy and later at Dharamsala. Angelo Mathews played his part in both those wins and now him being ruled out due to injury (yes, another one) has further piled up the islander s miseries.

Despite the glum year, Sri Lanka managed to win 2 T20I series in unfamiliar territories: South Africa and Australia. Thisara s men have some inspiration to look at. The venue being Wankhede is bound to rekindle some memories.

Thisara and Tharanga were part of the Sri Lankan side that lost to India in the 2011 World Cup final at the very venue. Tharanga was the first wicket to fall that day while Thisara s blitz at the end helped Sri Lanka to 274.

Watch Rohit Sharma’s record T20I hundred at Indore
Watch Rohit Sharma’s record T20I hundred at Indore

South Africa earlier this year clinched the 5-ODI series against New Zealand at Eden Park, Auckland. A 3-2 series win in New Zealand, by winning at Auckland, may have had some antiseptic effect on the wounds that South Africa sustained on 2015 World Cup semi-final.

If Sri Lanka have something to look at: it s a win against India at Wankhede. Doesn t matter even if the format compresses.

Sri Lanka have nothing to lose as the pressure is on India. Rohit too spoke about that after the win at Indore, where he slammed the joint-fastest T20I hundred.

There s a lot of pressure (of captaincy). After the first match, there was a lot of pressure on me. In Dharamsala, we were in a position where the team could have folded for the lowest score possible. After that game, I was thinking a lot about my captaincy and my team. There s a lot of pressure on you always. Wherever you play, or any opposition you play, there s always pressure. 150 crore people live in India and there s the pressure of expectations from them as well.

I don t know when I ll lead India again, so, for me, every match, every series and every moment on the field is important, said Rohit.

Keeping Rohit s heroics on one side, let alone leading India, Rohit does not know whether he will play India s next match after the Wankhede T20I. India will face South Africa in the first Test less than a fortnight from now. Ajinkya Rahane and Hardik Pandya might get the nod ahead of him.

Adding to Rohit, the memories of attaining cakewalks is short-term for fans. All Rohit can do is to produce another unthinkable feat at his home ground and attain a whitewash in his first T20I series as captain.

Likely XIs

India will have to hold on to their temptation of going for 3-0 and try out fringe players in this game. India can afford to experiment. The bench strength is good enough to give any topside a run for their money.

The wrist-spin twins Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav have done more than enough to retain their spot. Team management will be tempted to rest Kuldeep and try out Washington Sundar, who was brilliant in the IPL. In Jaydev Unadkat, the management have someone to step into Ashish Nehra s shoes. Mohammad Siraj and Basil Thampi may have to wait longer.

This is Hardik Pandya s Mumbai Indians home. This is Shreyas Iyer s real home. Manish Pandey and Dinesh Karthik have not done anything drop worthy. Deepak Hooda too may miss out.

India s probable XI: Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, MS Dhoni (wk), Dinesh Karthik/Deepak Hooda, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Washington Sundar/Kuldeep Yadav, Jaydev Unadkat/Basil Thampi, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal

Sri Lanka s probable XI: Upul Tharanga, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Sadeera Samarawickrama, Kusal Perera, Danushka Gunaratne, Thisara Perera (c), Dasun Shanaka, Chaturanga de Silva/ Sachith Pathirana, Akila Dananjaya, Dushmanta Chameera, Viswa Fernando/Nuwan Pradeep


At Wankhede, teams prefer to chase and we have seen scores as high as 190s being chased. Expect sea breeze, temperature in the mid-20s and another belter.


India: Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Basil Thampi, MS Dhoni (wk), Dinesh Karthik, Manish Pandey, Shreyas Iyer, Jaydev Unadkat

Sri Lanka: Thisara Perera (c), Dasun Shanaka, Upul Tharanga, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Sadeera Samarawickrama, Kusal Perera, Danushka Gunaratne, Chaturanga de Silva, Sachith Pathirana, Akila Dananjaya, Dushmanta Chameera, Viswa Fernando, Nuwan Pradeep, Danushka Gunathilaka, Angelo Mathews (ruled out)

Time: 7.00 pm IST