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Over the years Indian team and Sri Lankan team have played so many ODIs that fans on both the sides are sick of seeing the same players. But over the last six months or so India have not played against Sri Lanka much, but after a brief hiatus, both the friendly enemies (if there ever was such a term!) are preparing to clash in a group-stage match in Asia Cup, Fatullah.
Heading into this match both the teams should be reasonably confident as both the teams have a victory on board.
While, India registered a comfortable victory in heir first match against the hosts Bangladesh by six wickets.
India’s win was very straight forward. Hosts Bangladesh posted a challenging target of 280 runs to win after losing the toss and being inserted in by India’s new captain Virat Kohli. For Bangladesh skipper Mushfiqur Rahim (117) and opener Anamul Haque making (77) were the main stars, as Bangladesh riding on their back posted a daunting total.
India’s bowling, on the other hand, was led by ever improving Mohammed Shami, who picked up 4/50 in his 10 allotted overs.
Chasing a tough target of 280, the visitors suffered early blows when Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan were dismissed in quick succession as India were reeling at 2/54.
But, those two wickets brought Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane in the middle, as the duo put on 213-run partnership for third wicket to take India on the brink of victory, with Rahane making an impressive 73, while Kohli amassed 136 runs. It was Kohli’s 19th century.
India won the match with an over to spare due to impressive performance from the Rahane and man of the match Kohli.
On the other hand, Sri Lanka also won their first match of the tournament as they pipped Pakistan by just 12 runs thus registering a narrow win.
Batting first Sri Lanka scored 6/296 thanks to a brilliant hundred from opener Lahiru Thirimanne, who smashed 102 from 110 balls and along with Kumar Sangakkara (67), took Sri Lanka in to a very good position at the end pn first innings. Skipper Angelo Mathews (55) also upped the scoring-rate in last five overs.
In reply, the Pakistanis, for once, kept asking rate in check, but fall of wickets at regular intervals didn’t help as Pakistan eventually managed to score just 284 runs losing by 12 runs.
The pair of skipper Misbah-ul-Haq and Umar Akmal put on 121 for fifth wicket, but when Akmal was dismissed for 74 followed by wickets of Afridi and Misbah just two overs later, the game tilted heavily in Sri Lanka’s favor.
Despite some late fireworks Pakistan fell 12 runs short of victory target.
Man of the match Lasith Malinga took 5-52. Malinga accounted for the vital wickets of Misbah and Afridi in one over.
With both teams having started positively, this fixture promises to be another exciting one.
Players to keep an eye on:
Lasith Malinga: If India has one of the best batsmen in world, their opponents on Friday have one of the best death bowlers in the world – Lasith Malinga. Despite being down on pace since last couple of months Malinga is still regarded most lethal pace bowlers in world cricket. Malinga will also have the added motivation to take revenge against India’s batsmen after being hammered around the park the last time two teams met.
Virat Kohli: Whenever India play Sri Lanka in ODI cricket one need not look beyond a certain Virat Kohli, especially, when the Indian captain walks into this match on the back of a classy 136 against Bangladesh in the first match.
If Sri Lanka are to have any chance of winning Friday’s match their bowlers have to get rid of one of world’s best batsman – Virat Kohli early.
Moreover, Malinga has shown his form with 5/52 against the Pakistan and he will be a critical factor in tomorrow’s match.
Probable Playing XI:
Sri Lanka: Kusal Perera, Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Dinesh Chandimal, Chaturanga De Silva,Angelo Mathews (capt.), Thisara Perera, Sachitra Senenayake, Lasith Malinga, Ajantha Mendis, Suranga Lakmal
Date: Feb. 28, 2014
Venue: Khan Shaheb Osman Ali Stadium, Fatullah
Start time: 01:30 p.m (IST)
Live: Star Cricket