West Indies vs Sri Lanka 1st ODI Preview: World Cup Super League points up for grabs as both teams dust out ODI XIs
After a see-sawing T20I series, it's now time for the ODIs. Sri Lanka have regular skipper Dimuth Karunaratne back.
World Cup Super League points to be had
The first match of the T20I series was won by West Indies comprehensively. The second one was won by Sri Lanka in another one-sided affair. The two teams then fought tooth and nail in the decider, with West Indies finally taking the series 2-1.
It is now time for the ODIs. Both teams have not had a lot of ODI Cricket of late. This series will be crucial in terms of the World Cup Super League. Both Sri Lanka and West Indies would want to bag some crucial points, which if dropped right now, might come back to haunt them later on.
The last time West Indies and Sri Lanka met in an ODI series, it was in a 3-match affair in March 2020 - right before the COVID-19 pandemic threw a spanner in the works. That series was played in Sri Lanka and was won by the home side by 3-0.
The series was closer than it seems, especially the first ODI where Sri Lanka were able to eke out a victory by just one wicket. While the second ODI was a one-sided match, the final game of the series was again closely fought as were Sri Lanka successful in winning it by 6 runs to take the series.
Unlike that series victory, Sri Lanka are without some of their key players this time like Avishka Fernando and Kusal Mendis who were their top scorers in the last ODI series. That said, Sri Lanka do have some talented players in their ranks.
Since the beginning of 2019, West Indies have won 13 and lost 21 of their one day matches. On the other hand, Sri Lanka have won 10 and last 14 ODIs. West Indies have lost all of their last 5 ODIs while Sri Lanka have won 3 and lost 2 of their last five matches.
Hope, Pooran and Pollard - WI's key batters
Shai Hope has seen a dip in form in test cricket and has been sidelined from T20I cricket as well but still remains perhaps West Indies' best batsman in the 50-over format. He has scored 324 runs from his last 7 ODI matches and is among the most prolific scorers in ODI cricket in the world for the last 4-5 years.
Hope, Nicholas Pooran and Kieron Pollard are the key figures in the West Indies batting line-up. All-rounder Jason Holder will also be a crucial player in the side. In terms of their bowling, WI do not have a lot of big names in the side but the likes of Romario Shepherd, Fabian Allen and Alzarri Joseph are more than capable of doing the job.
A few showers possible
The match will be played at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua with a shower or two expected. While it should not be anything serious enough to curtail the match, the moisture in the air can aid pace bowlers, which is not the strength of either team at the moment.
Karunaratne and Shanaka back for SL
Sri Lanka have regular captain Dimuth Karunaratne back, who missed the T20I leg of the series due to a finger injury. He will open the batting with Danushka Gunathilaka, with Sri Lanka's latest find Pathum Nissanka expected to be slotted at number 3. Dasun Shanaka, after sorting out his U.S transit visa issues, is available for the ODIs.
The West Indies batsmen would be wary of Lankan spinners Wanindu Hasaranga and Lakshan Sandakan. Hasaranga in particular has done well against almost all teams. He presents a challenge for the West Indies batsmen who not only have to protect their wickets against him but score at a fair clip as well.
Dushmantha Chameera and Nuwan Pradeep are expected to be the two frontline Sri Lankan pace bowlers. Pradeep is likely to be preferred over Suranga Lakmal due to his death bowling skills.
Here's the probable playing XI of both teams:
West Indies - Shai Hope (wk), Evin Lewis, Darren Bravo, Kyle Mayers, Nicholas Pooran, Kieron Pollard (c), Jason Holder, Romario Shepherd, Fabian Allen, Akeal Hosein/Kevin Sinclair, Alzarri Joseph
Sri Lanka - Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Danushka Gunathilaka, Pathum Nissanka, Dinesh Chandimal, Angelo Mathews, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Dasun Shanaka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lakshan Sandakan, Dushmantha Chameera, Nuwan Pradeep
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