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Last Updated : Jul 05, 2019 05:22 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

World Cup 2019 | India vs Sri Lanka preview: Where to watch live, team news, possible XI and betting odds

The middle-order puzzle has remained unsolved and it has increasingly looked that Indian team management has been heavily dependent on Plan A, which is success from their top-order.

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A wobbly middle order has been a cause of concern despite the winning run and India would be desperate for the likes of Mahendra Singh Dhoni to find some form ahead of the semifinal when they take on Sri Lanka in their last preliminary World Cup clash on July 6.

Already assured of the second spot and a last-four spot, a win against Sri Lanka can take Virat Kohli's men to the top of the points table provided Australia lose their final game against the already ousted South Africa.

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So they might have a lot to play for as a pole position and a possible semi-final against a New Zealand team on a downward spiral will be more welcoming than facing a dangerous England which is on an upswing.

The middle-order puzzle has remained unsolved and it has increasingly looked that Indian team management has been heavily dependent on Plan A, which is success from their top-order.

Also Read | Rohit's ton and Bumrah's yorkers take India to WC semi-final

Vice-captain Rohit Sharma, with 544 runs that include record-equalling four tons, has been the stand-out player and skipper Virat Kohli, with five half-centuries and 400 plus aggregate, has also had a good World Cup but perhaps not exceptional by his standards.

In this backdrop, there cannot be a better opposition than Sri Lanka for Dhoni to check his bat swing at the death overs when Lasith Malinga will be firing in at the block-hole or bowl his variation of slower deliveries.

Sri Lankan off-spinner Dhananjaya de Silva has been pretty economical, going at sub-5 rate in the matches that he has played. If Dhoni gets to play more balls during the middle overs against De Silva and score some runs, it will only boost his confidence.

In all the matches so far, Dhoni has managed only 47 runs in 81 balls against the spinners, his widely accepted weakness against the slower bowlers during middle overs coming to the fore.

Dimuth Karunaratne may fancy using his left-arm spinner Milinda Siriwardana knowing Dhoni's problems against slow left-arm orthodox bowlers.

No one more than captain Kohli will like his "guiding light" to succeed as his role will be immense should India remain in the competition for the final next Sunday.

But the Sri Lanka game is also one such encounter where Indians can breathe a bit easy and check out some other combinations, including giving the fiery Ravindra Jadeja, some game time ahead of the last four clash.

Jadeja is the only player, apart from the the just joined Mayank Agarwal, who hasn't yet got a game but it is unlikely to happen considering there are too many left-handers in the Lankan line-up.

However, this could prompt Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri to bring back Kedar Jadhav in the middle-order for his off-breaks.

But that could be a bit unfair on Dinesh Karthik, who didn't get to face too many balls against Bangladesh in their last game.

Kohli till now hasn't shown any inclination of pushing Dhoni up the order beyond number five. And it could turn out to be an interesting ploy if the former captain bats at number four, while the power hitters like Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya play their natural game down the order.

Vijay Shankar's replacement Mayank is already here but his best friend KL Rahul, with a couple fifties, has ensured his place at the top of the order alongside Rohit, who would would be gunning for a fifth World Cup hundred.

Rohit has scored two ODI double hundreds against this attack and it will be imtimidating for the likes of Isuru Udana. They will bank on Malinga's intelligence gathered from the Mumbai Indians dressing room to break the 'hitman code'.

India's fast bowlers, led by Jasprit Bumrah (14) and well supported by Mohammed Shami (14 wickets), would have ideally liked some rest before semi-finals. But with the top position on the points charts in line, Kohli may just be tempted to go with at least one of them if not both.

Squads:

India: Virat Kohli (C), Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (WK), Dinesh Karthik, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Mayank Agarwal, Ravindra Jadeja and Kedar Jadhav.

Sri Lanka: Dimuth Karunaratne (C), Kusal Mendis, Kusal Perera (WK), Lahiru Thirimanne, Angelo Mathews, Lasith Malinga, Jeevan Mendis, Dhananjaya De Silva, Kasun Rajitha, Isuru Udana, Suranga Lakmal, Milinda Siriwardana, Jeffrey Vandersay, Thisara Perera and Avishka Fernando.

Team News: Mayank Agarwal has joined the India squad as a replacement for the injured Vijay Shankar but it remains to be seen if he will be included in the Playing XI. Sri Lanka are expected to play an unchanged line-up.

Venue: Headingley, Leeds.

Where to watch: The match starts 3.00 PM IST.  The match will be broadcast live on Starsports network. Online viewers can catch the action on Hotstar.

Pitch report and conditions: The weather forecast for Headingley, Leeds predicts warm and sunny conditions for the most part on July 6, which makes it a perfect day for a game of cricket. The pitch should be good for batting, but is likely to slow down as the match progresses. This is the same ground where Sri Lanka pulled off an upset victory over England defending 232 on June 21.

Possible XI: 

India: Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli (C), Rishabh Pant, MS Dhoni (WK), Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Yuzvendra Chahal and Jasprit Bumrah.

Sri Lanka: Dimuth Karunaratne (C), Kusal Perera (WK), Avishka Fernando, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Lahiru Thirimanne, Dhananjaya de Silva, Isuru Udana, Jeffrey Vandersay, Kasun Rajitha and Lasith Malinga.

Players to watch out for: 

Rishabh Pant: 

cwc 2019, rishabh pant

After a nervy World Cup debut against England, 21-year-old Pant seemed to have settled down well scoring an impressive 48 off just 41 balls against Bangladesh. If he is able to get another big score against Sri Lanka that would strengthen India's wobbly middle order.

Avishka Fernando: 

cwc 2019, aviskha fernando

Another 21-year-old who will be in the spotlight on July 6 is young Aviskha who comes into this game on the back of scoring his first ODI century in the last game against West Indies. He has scores of 49, 30 and 104 since being introduced into the Lankan Playing XI at the World Cup.

Betting Odds (bet365)

India: 1/7

Sri Lanka: 9/2

Other bets on the match can be checked on Oddschecker.

Prediction: Although Sri Lanka have looked like a better side with the likes of Aviskha Fernando firing with the bat, India remain favourites to end their group stage campaign on a high with yet another win.

(With Inputs from PTI)

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First Published on Jul 5, 2019 04:45 pm
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