India looks to build momentum ahead of World Cup semi’s
With the top four teams progressing through to the World Cup semi-finals just about decided, the remaining three games in the tournament (or the last two at least) could be seen as dead-rubbers. Tomorrows double-header which will bring an end to the group stage-faze sees Sri Lanka taking on India, followed by Australia and South Africa at Old Trafford. The only major thing that can come out of these two remaining fixtures is a battle for top spot, for that to happen India must firstly defeat Sri Lanka. Up and down best-describes Sri Lanka’s tournament, they’ve fallen at various stages but also risen out of nowhere to win against England and the Windies. What can they produce against India?
It was the performances that India were looking for, some of their under-performing stars were failing to get the job in the eyes of many, KL Rahul in particular. Replacing Shikhar Dhawan at the top of the order was never the plan going into the World Cup for India, however the unpredictability of injuries has forced Rahul up the order which has finally seen him produce a crucial knock at the top against Bangladesh. Rahul’s 77 was one of the major-positives to come out of the game, meanwhile Rohit Sharma just registered his fourth-World Cup ton in the tournament adding to his already-impressive campaign. With the ever-consistent Virat Kohli at No. 3 and the explosive-Rishabh Pant slotting into the middle-order alongside Hardik Pandya and the likes, this is a batting unit that should be feared. Even the experience of Lasith Malinga may struggle to contain this action-packed line-up, they might have to throw Angelo Mathews the ball again for another two-over burst which resulted in the wicket of Windies centurion-Nicholas Pooran.
Priding themselves on being a restrictive team both with the ball and in the field, India haven’t given many teams any room to breathe in this World Cup so far. No. 1 ranked ODI bowler in the world Jasprit Bumrah has once again been phenomenal with the ball in hand. The straight-armed assassin has picked up 14 wickets in the tournament at an economy of 4.60, elite numbers. Mohammed Shami has certainly been the surprise-packet after initially being left out of the side bagging 14 wickets in just four outings with the ball! Shami’s reign of terror came to an end against Bangladesh, now he could be on the outer with Kuldeep Yadav expected to return to the side. Sri Lanka must back themselves against a well-drilled Indian attack, sitting back will only prolong the struggle. Kusal Perera has been aggressive at the top of the order, and the middle order is finally starting to find some continuity (albeit late in the tournament). After initially being injured in a World Cup warm-up game, Avishka Fernando produced a brilliant century in just his third appearance in tournament, a great effort from the 21-year-old.
Top 5 fantasy picks – India
- Rohit Sharma
- Virat Kohli
- Jasprit Bumrah
- Hardik Pandya
- Rishabh Pant
Wildcard pick – Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Top 5 fantasy picks – Sri Lanka
- Lasith Malinga
- Avishka Fernando
- Angelo Mathews
- Isuru Udana
- Kusal Perera
Wildcard pick – Lahiru Thirimanne
Predicted Team XI’s
India (possible) – 1. KL Rahul 2. Rohit Sharma 3. Virat Kohli (c) 4. Rishabh Pant 5. Hardik Pandya 6. MS Dhoni (wk) 7. Dinesh Karthik 8. Bhuvneshwar Kumar 9. Mohammed Shami/Kuldeep Yadav 10. Jasprit Bumrah 11. Yuzvendra Chahal.
Sri Lanka (possible) – 1. Dimuth Karunaratne (c) 2. Kusal Perera (wk) 3. Avishka Fernando 4. Kusal Mendis 5. Angelo Mathews 6. Lahiru Thirimanne 7. Dhananjaya de Silva 8. Thisara Perera 9. Isuru Udana 10. Jeffrey Vandersay/Suranga Lakmal 11. Lasith Malinga.
Zak Varik is an Australian columnist/writer who specializes in the sports category cricket. With over four years of experience covering all sorts of cricket tournaments around the world, Zak has gained extensive knowledge in International cricket as well as domestic.
“I’ve loved watching cricket since I was about 7 years old, my childhood hero was none other than Andrew “Roy” Symonds who probably enhanced my love of the game through the years”.
Zak is now an established writer for FCN (Fantasy Cricket News) and has also previously represented other Blogs during his time as a writer.