ICC Champions Trophy 2013 Preview: Familiar rivals India and Sri Lanka battle for a place in the final

India have been a completely different side in this tournament. In the field, they have been electric as they have saved crucial runs to create pressure © Getty Images

By Nishad Pai Vaidya

Cardiff: Jun 19, 2013
 
Two familiar rivals face-off as India and Sri Lanka clash in the second semi-final of the ICC Champions Trophy 2013 in Cardiff. Both sides have faced each other innumerable times in the last few years and familiarity breeds between them. However, will a game of bigger stature change things and add to the pressure? After all, they also played the 2011 World Cup final.

India have been a completely different side in this tournament. In the field, they have been electric as they have saved crucial runs to create pressure. With the bat, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma have been excellent while opening the batting. A lot of India’s hopes are pinned on them for this contest. The middle-order has been untested in this tournament so far, but Dinesh Karthik and Mahendra Singh Dhoni are in good touch. The presence of Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina makes this a dangerous side.

This tournament has been a good one for Ravindra Jadeja in both departments and he continues to be India’s key. His bowling has dented the opposition in the middle overs and India would hope for the same this time around. Ravinchandran Ashwin has also been economical and added to the pressure.

If there is any small concern, it is the fast-bowling. While Bhuvneshwar Kumar has done well, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav need to perform better and stem the flow of runs. The slog-overs in particular are an area of concern.

Sri Lanka’s batting is an aggressive unit and can score big on their day. Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kushal Perera form an aggressive opening unit. However, a lot depends on Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene — who have done well at the tournament so far. Angelo Mathews and Lahiru Thirimanne are also crucial and provide support to the senior men.

Lasith Malinga is their bowling trump card and can single handedly win games for them. However, he would be up against his nemesis’ — the Indians — who has tackled him very well in the past. His battle against Kohli and Dhoni in particular would be entertaining. Nuwan Kulasekara and Rangana Herath need to give Malinga good support and take the pressure off him. Then there is also the young Shaminda Eranga, who is looking to establish himself in the Sri Lankan ranks.

India may have the advantage going into this game as they have been in great form and are confident. They have also had the upper hand against Sri Lanka in recent times. However, the Sri Lankans would be looking to avenge the defeat of the 2011 World Cup final.

Teams:

India (probable): Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Dinesh Karthik, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav.

Sri Lanka (probable): Kushal Perera, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Mahela Jayawardene, Lahiru Thirimanne, Angelo Mathews (c), Dinesh Chandimal, Nuwan Kulasekara, Lasith Malinga, Rangana Herath, Shaminda Eranga.

Time: 15:00 IST | 09:30 GMT

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with cricketcountry.com and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)