Sri Lanka – West Indies match: Lankans in must win situation

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Chester-le-Street (England), June 30 (IANS) Sri Lanka’s World Cup campaign might look to be all but over, but going mathematically, the island nation still have a slim chance of sneaking through to the semifinals provided they win their remaining two games and the results in the other group matches go their way.

So come Monday, the Dimuth Karunaratne-led side will look to give their best against the West Indies who are already out of contention for a place in the knockouts.

A 20-run win over hosts England pumped life into Sri Lanka’s campaign before a nine-wicket loss against South Africa jeopardised their chances.

Sri Lanka are placed seventh on the points table with six points from seven matches and will need to win their remaining two games besides hoping for favourable outcomes in England and Pakistan’s remaining fixtures.

The Jason Holder-led West Indies, on the other hand, have managed just one win from seven outings while one match was washed out. With only three points in their kitty, the two-time former champions have nothing to lose and will aim to finish on a high and spoil Sri Lanka’s slim chances of advancing to the semifinals.

Inconsistent batting was the reason behind Sri Lanka’s loss to the Proteas and Karunaratne should ask his batsmen to step up as it will be now or never for them. Also, West Indies pose a challenging bowling attack and it won’t be easy for the Lankan batsmen to score easily against them.

With a below par batting attack, a lot will depend on the Lankan bowlers to restrict the Windies to a low score. Their bowling will once again be spearheaded by veteran speedster Lasith Malinga. With Nuwan Pradeep’s exit from the tournament due to chickenpox, Sri Lanka will rely heavily on Malinga to come good.

West Indies kicked-off their World Cup campaign on a rousing note by hammering Pakistan by seven wickets. However, things have worsened for them since then.

Lying at the penultimate spot just above Afghanistan on the points table, the West Indies batting line-up posses some great power-hitters who can destroy even the best bowling attack of the world when on song.

Their destructive batting line-up features Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope and Carlos Brathwaite and if any one of them clicks, life would be miserable for the Lankan bowlers.

Their bowling will once again be led by Sheldon Cottrell, Oshane Thomas and the experienced Kemar Roach.

Both Sri Lanka and West Indies, who are coming on the back of losses against South Africa and India, respectively, have clashed a total of 56 times in ODIs with the Lions winning 25 of them and the Caribbean side emerging victorious on 28 occasions.

Squads
West Indies: Jason Holder (captain), Chris Gayle, Shai Hope, Shimron Hetmyer, Carlos Brathwaite, Sheldon Cottrell, Oshane Thomas, Kemar Roach, Ashley Nurse, Nicholas Pooran, Sunil Ambris, Evin Lewis, Shannon Gabriel, Darren Bravo, Fabian Allen.

Sri Lanka: Dimuth Karunaratne (captain), Dhananjaya de Silva, Kasun Rajitha , Avishka Fernando, Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathews, Kusal Mendis, Jeevan Mendis, Kusal Perera, Thisara Perera, Milinda Siriwardana, Lahiru Thirimanne, Isuru Udana, Jeffrey Vandersay.

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