Man of the Match: Fabian Allen
Sri Lanka made a fighting comeback in the 2nd T20I to square the series.
West Indies are the favorites to win the final match.
Sri Lanka made an amazing comeback in their ongoing 3-match T20I series against the West Indies. After losing the thrilling first match, the visitors registered a thumping 43-run victory over the home side courtesy of their spinners to level the series. On a sluggish surface at the Coolidge Cricket Ground, they had the West Indian batsmen on the mat and never let them get away. West Indies would want to brush this performance aside and start anew in the series decider. They will still have the edge as they are the home side. But if the surface is slow again, then the Sri Lankan spinners would be in business and that could lead to another fascinating low-scoring contest.
West Indies is a side that is packed with T20 stars and will always be dangerous. However, they tend to struggle on slow, turning wickets and it would be interesting to see how they fare if the pitch is sluggish again. In the last game, they were bowled out for 117 while chasing a target of 161. They wouldn’t be too worried as anyone from their batting unit –Lendl Simmons, Evin Lewis, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, and Kieron Pollard – can play a match-winning knock at any time. Gayle hasn’t fired so far in the series and neither has Nicholas Pooran. Expect some fireworks from them in the last match.
West Indies are also packed with all-rounders like Jason Holder, Fabian Allen, and Dwayne Bravo who can make an impact too. However, they would be hoping for a bigger contribution from their experienced stalwart Fidel Edwards. The role of spinner Fabian Allen would be crucial too if the surface grips a little.
Lendl Simmons, Evin Lewis, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Kieron Pollard (c), Jason Holder, Fabian Allen, Dwayne Bravo, Kevin Sinclair, Obed McCoy, Fidel Edwards
Obed McCoy, Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo, Kevin Sinclair, Nicholas Pooran, Rovman Powell, Jason Holder, LMP Simmons, Evin Lewis, Fabian Allen, Chris Gayle
Sri Lanka would be proud of their performance in the 2nd T20I. They posted a solid 160-6 on the board with the help of a fighting 56 from opener Danushka Gunathilaka and a composed 37 from Pathum Nissanka. The stars for the visitors, however, were their spinners Akila Dananjaya, Wanindu Hasaranga, and Lakshan Sandakan who picked up 7 wickets between them and choked the West Indian batsmen masterfully. The three would again be in focus in the final match and could play a crucial role again.
Dushmantha Chameera has also proven to be a good seam bowler for the side and delivered a vital spell of 2-26. However, Thisara Perera, who went for 42 runs from his 2 overs in the previous match, is a weak link and the West Indian batters will be targeting him again.
On the batting front, Sri Lanka would expect some runs from their seniors Dinesh Chandimal and Angelo Matthews. A quickfire cameo from Thisara Perera down the order could also make a huge difference.
Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Danushka Gunathilaka, Pathum Nissanka, Dinesh Chandimal, Angelo Mathews (c), Thisara Perera, Wanindu Hasaranga, Ashen Bandara, Akila Dananjaya, Lakshan Sandakan, Dushmantha Chameera
Niroshan Dickwella, Akila Dananjaya, Dushmantha Chameera, Wanidu Hasaranga, Danushka Gunathilaka, Dinesh Chandimal, Pathum Nissanka, Lakshan Sandakan, Thisara Perera, Angelo Mathews, Ashen Bandara
|Hr||Temp||Rain||W. speed||W. direction||Clouds|
|00h||21||0 mm.||2.99 k/h||From: NNE||11%|
|03h||17||0 mm.||3.2 k/h||From: NNE||4%|
|06h||15||0 mm.||3.41 k/h||From: N||11%|
|09h||14||0 mm.||3.14 k/h||From: N||9%|
|12h||14||0 mm.||3.1 k/h||From: N||8%|
|15h||20||0 mm.||4 k/h||From: NNE||16%|
|18h||24||0 mm.||4.27 k/h||From: NNE||51%|
|21h||24||0 mm.||4.75 k/h||From: NNE||99%|
The pitch at the Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua hasn’t been easy to bat on. The ball has gripped and turned after the hardness eases out and the slower bowlers come into play. This is a new surface, so we are yet to see its actual character. But batsmen too can make an impact once they settle in.
The weather in Antigua for the day of the match is expected to be pleasant and comfortable with the temperature hovering around the 29° mark.
The last two games have been the first international ones at the Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua. From the looks of it, this appears to be a low-scoring venue. But the short boundaries mean that once the batsmen get in, they can smoke the big hits with great ease.
The team winning the toss should look to bat first on this wicket as chasing on this venue isn’t easy. So setting a solid total on the board is likely to be the best way forward.
Sri Lanka would be delighted with the comeback win in the last match. They have fought hard in both the matches and given the world champions something to think about. However, the West Indies are always a dangerous T20 side, and playing at home they are doubly imposing. That loss in the previous game won’t affect their confidence much as the side is filled with superstar match-winners who can just turn up on their day. The best chance Sri Lanka has if the wicket remains sluggish and their spinners weave a web again. However, the West Indies will still have the edge playing in home conditions.
West Indies are the favorites to win the final match.