India need to beat Sri Lanka to enter tri-series final
India will have to play to full potential when they meet Sri Lanka in their last must-win league match at Port of Spain on Tuesday to keep alive their hopes of making it to the final of the tri-nation ODI series.
The Indians, who rediscovered their spark in a crushing victory over the West Indies, will seek to keep the momentum going in the crucial game against the Lankans, who are equally determined to secure a berth in the final.
It is a must-win situation for the Indians. They have a slight edge over Sri Lanka as the islanders will not get any rest having played on Monday also due to Sunday’s rain-forced postponement of the game against the West Indies.
On Monday, they beat the West Indies by 39 runs via the Duckworth Lewis method thanks to Kumar Sangakkara’s superb 90 and Angelo Mathews’s four-wicket.
Thus, all eyes are now on Tuesday’s clash.
Image: Team India
Photographs: Michael Steele/Getty Images
India last on points and have worst NRR
Monday's victory catapulted Sri Lanka to top of the points table with nine, and the best ( 1.019) Net-Run-Rate among the three teams.
The West Indies (-0.383) also have nine points but are placed second due to inferior NRR. India are last on the table with five points and worst (-0.524) NRR.
Thus, Sri Lanka's victory has left India with no option but win Tuesday's match.
According to statisticians, all India has to do is to win by one run, or off the last ball.
In such a scenario, India and Sri Lanka will qualify for the final on the basis of better Net-Run-Rate.
Unless Sri Lanka have a poor match and lose by around 210 runs, they will make it to the final. India need to win and make it to the final at the expense of the West Indies.
For a target below 321, victory off the last delivery will suffice for India as it will get their run-rate above that of the West Indies. For a higher target, India will have to win with a few deliveries to spare or by a few runs.
Though there is a reserve day, in case the match is washed out India will be eliminated.
Image: Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene of Sri Lanka
Photographs: Christopher Lee/Getty Images
The teams are evenly matched on the bowling front
After losing two of the three matches they played so far, Virat Kohli's men will need to be clear about the maths during the final league clash against familiar foes.
The last time India and Sri Lanka came face to face, the islanders sailed past their neighbours easily.
But the fatigue factor, which incidentally is also setting in on the clashes between the two South Asian rivals due to the sheer frequency, could prove to be Sri Lanka's undoing.
The Indians come into match quite fresh and on a high after beating the West Indies in their previous game, a win that kept them in the hunt for a final berth.
Kohli provided the spark, after twin debacles in the first leg, with an inspiring hundred that was also his first as captain.
Openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan also notched well-timed knocks as the famed Indian line-up got its act together after a couple of botched up outings.
But the Lankan line-up is no less stronger with old warhorses -- Mahela Jaywardene and Kumar Sangakkara -- being the key batsmen.
The teams are evenly-matched on the bowling front as well even though the Lankans successfully stifled India in their previous game.
While the Indians are hoping that the likes of Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma bowl a disciplined line, the islanders will expect consistency from the well-performing duo of skipper Angelo Mathews and Nuwan Kulasekara.
India: Virat Kohli (capt), Ravichandran Ashwin, Shikhar Dhawan, Ravindra Jadeja, Dinesh Karthik, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Amit Mishra, Mohammed Shami, Suresh Raina, Ishant Sharma, Rohit Sharma, Murali Vijay, Vinay Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Ambati Rayudu.
Sri Lanka: Angelo Mathews (capt), Kusal Perera, Upul Tharanga, Kumar Sangakkara, Lahiru Thirimanne, Mahela Jayawardene, Jeevan Mendis, Ajantha Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal, Nuwan Kulasekara, Lasith Malinga, Sachithra Senanayake, Rangana Herath, Dilhara Lokuhettige and Shaminda Eranga.
Match starts at 1900 IST.
Image: India's Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and Sri Lanka's Lasith Malinga