West Indies vs Sri Lanka 2nd T20I Preview: Contest between WI's big hitters and Lankan spinners in focus
After the action-packed first T20I which saw Akila Dananjaya picking up a hat-trick and then being clobbered for six sixes in an over by Kieron Pollard, Sri Lanka will have to play extremely well to break their nine T20I long winless streak.
With veterans back, WI have a different feel to them
West Indies decided to go for the experience of Lendl Simmons, Evin Lewis and Chris Gayle as their top three. In the absence of Andre Russell, Jason Holder was picked as the pace bowling all-rounder while Dwayne Bravo and Fidel Edwards also featured.
The team thus had a different feel to it, one that a West Indies team generally has before a T20 World Cup when all their big guns begin to throw their hats in the ring. Meanwhile spinner Kevin Sinclair made his debut. It must have been a nervous outing to debut at home, and that too alongside some of your idols.
Sri Lanka, on the other hand, were missing several of their key players. They decided to bring in some talented youngsters like Pathum Nissanka and Ashen Bandara.
Akila Dananjaya's mixed bag
After having made his T20I debut in September 2012, the last time Akila Dananjaya played a T20I match before the series opener against West Indies was back in September 2019, after which he was called for throwing.
The spinner who mixes right arm off break and leg break to excellent effect had a mixed outing on his return to international cricket after a long time. He picked up a hat-trick, dismissing Evin Lewis, Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran off consecutive deliveries to tilt the scales in the favour of West Indies.
However, Dananjaya had a nightmare in his very next over as Kieron Pollard pounded him for six sixes in a single over. The spinner finished with figures of 3/62 from his 4 overs - the third most expensive spell by a Sri Lankan bowler in T20Is.
Pollard makes history
Kieron Pollard became only the third cricketer after Herschelle Gibbs and Yuvraj Singh to hit six sixes in one over in international cricket. If there are four cricketers whom you back to achieve this feat currently, they are Hardik Pandya, Glenn Maxwell, Kieron Pollard and Andre Russell. So, when Pollard actually did it, hitting his sixth consecutive six over mid wicket, it was not a shock for the avid cricket followers.
"After the third one (on when he thought about hitting six sixes in the over) - I felt after hitting a couple of sixes, I understood how the pitch plays, it was important to be positive and play your shots on that pitch, back yourselves to clear the boundary - just happy that I managed to contribute to the team's cause at that point of time.
"A couple of things went through my mind before the sixth ball - before the last ball, I thought should I go for the six or take the 30 runs in the over, he went around the wicket and bowled it onto my pads, I told myself 'Wait Polly, take a chance'. That's how I have played my cricket all along, especially against the spinners," Pollard revealed his state of mind while in the midst of achieving the rare feat.
In a match where the West Indies batsmen struggled to pick the Sri Lankan spinners with Akila Dananjaya picking up a hat-trick and Wanindu Hasaranga just missing another, Pollard decided to take the aggressive route. And the aggressive route he did take, finally getting dismissed on 38 of just 11 balls, having scored his runs at a strike rate of 345.45
Sri Lanka don't quite match up to the quality of the West Indies' batting and bowling and will have to play out of their skins to level the series.
Here are the probable playing XIs:
West Indies - Lendl Simmons, Evin Lewis, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Kieron Pollard (c), Jason Holder, Fabian Allen, Dwayne Bravo, Kevin Sinclair, Obed McCoy, Fidel Edwards
Sri Lanka - Danushka Gunathilaka, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Pathum Nissanka, Dinesh Chandimal, Angelo Mathews (c), Ashen Bandara, Thisara Perera, Wanindu Hasaranga, Akila Dananjaya, Dushmantha Chameera, Nuwan Pradeep
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