Despite being in big trouble and nowhere close to winning in the second ODI, India found a batting hero in Deepak Chahar to propel them to a series win. Sri Lanka’s misery continued as they couldn’t seize the key moments in the game and paid the price.
After being thrashed in the first ODI, Sri Lanka were much better in the second game. They batted well, and the middle-order made some vital contributions which helped them get to 275. However, it was the bowlers that impressed quite a bit. They came out with a plan and Wanindu Hasaranga, in particular, stood out.
They had India down at 193/7 and were bossing the game but couldn’t drive home the advantage. Sri Lanka will be happy with the way they improved from the first to the second game, but they still seem to fall short. The fast bowlers have been expensive and have looked ineffective as well. The batters have tended to throw away starts which has cost them a bit.
Meanwhile, India will be happy with the way they pulled the game out in the second ODI. They dominated with the bat in the first ODI, and every top-order batter got runs behind him. However, that wasn’t the case in the second game, and it took some contributions from the middle and the lower order to help them chase down 276.
It was more of Deepak Chahar’s brilliant 69 that stood out while Suryakumar Yadav chipped in with a free-flowing half-century as well. India’s only concern would be their fast bowlers. While Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Deepak Chahar have picked up wickets, they haven’t really been effective in the powerplay.
The new-ball issue has been there for a while now in ODI cricket and India will want to address that. Moreover, they’ve also been inconsistent at the death. That is an area that they will be looking to get better.
Wanindu Hasaranga showed why he is so highly rated in white-ball cricket. He bowled beautifully in the second ODI, and he was the one who opened the door for Sri Lanka. He returned with figures of 10-0-37-3. The leg-spinning all-rounder delivered almost every time Sri Lanka needed a wicket in the second ODI. Thus, Hasaranga will once again be the key. He has failed with the bat in both games, but he is still Sri Lanka’s leading run-getter in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League (344 runs in 11 innings).
Avishka Fernando has looked in solid touch with the bat at the top of the order. He has scores of 33 and 50 in the two ODIs so far. However, he hasn’t been able to kick on and get those big scores. And that has dented Sri Lanka in both games as his wicket has often led to a mini-collapse of sorts. Thus, it will be crucial for Fernando to bat long and bat big.
Shikhar Dhawan is in top form with the bat at the moment. The stand-in Indian skipper scored an unbeaten 86 and anchored India’s run-chase of 263 superbly. He looked good for his 29 in the second ODI as well. The left-handed opener is at the top of the run charts for India in this ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League and has amassed 404 runs in eight games, including four half-centuries. Moreover, Dhawan loves batting against Sri Lanka and has aggregated 1098 runs at an average of 73.20 against them in ODI cricket. Hence, he will be the player to watch out for.
Yuzvendra Chahal’s form has been up and down in the recent past. He had tended to be a touch expensive, and the wickets didn’t really come either. However, the Haryana leg-spinner has stormed his way back into form. He has bowled really well in this series and has returned with five wickets in two games. Chahal has been the one who has given India regular breakthroughs. In fact, in both the games, he was the one to pick up the first wicket. His economy rate of 5.10 is the third-best in this series for any bowler who has bowled more than five overs.
India have continued their dominance over Sri Lanka in ODI cricket. The overall head to head record is 93-56 in favour of India. The ‘Men in Blue’ have won 26 matches, and Sri Lanka have won just six (one tie) out of the 33 ODIs that these two teams have played since the start of 2011. Sri Lanka’s search for a bilateral ODI series win over India continues as they have lost yet another series and haven’t won one since 1997.
India haven’t been at their best in either of the ODIs. In the first ODI, their bowling was inconsistent, and in the second, their all-around game was iffy. Yet, they got over the line and have already taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in this three-match series. Sri Lanka have been good in patches, but they really need to step up.
Despite the series being won, this game isn’t a dead rubber. There are 10 ODI Super League points up for grabs, and Sri Lanka are languishing at the 12th spot (out of 13 teams) with just 13 points. But given their current form, Shikhar Dhawan and co will once again start as favourites to complete the clean sweep.