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The head-to-head record between these two teams in T20Is is skewed in Australia’s favor. The Kangaroos have beaten Sri Lanka nine times, while the Lankan Lions have had the last laugh on eight occasions. Given their scintillating run of form, Australia are the obvious favorites to win this match.
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Australia: Aaron Finch (c), Moises Henriques/Ben McDermott, Josh Inglis, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade (wk), Daniel Sams, Adam Zampa/Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins/Mitchell Starc, Kane Richardson, Josh Hazlewood
Sri Lanka: Avishkra Fernando/Danushka Gunathilaka, Pathum Nissanka, Janith Liyanage/Charith Asalanka, Kamil Mishara/Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Dasun Shanaka (c), Chamika Karunaratne, Jeffrey Vandersay, Dushmantha Chameera, Maheesh Theekshana, Nuwan Thushara
Though they are still nowhere near to the glorious side they once were, the new-look Sri Lankan team has produced a few good performances in the recent past. Hence, many expected them to offer a stern resilience in the five-match T20I series against Australia, but it was not to be.
The defending T20 World Cup champions have already sealed the fate of the series with three consecutive wins. In the first match, Aaron Finch’s side registered a comfortable 20-run triumph, courtesy a fiery Josh Hazlewood spell.
The second T20I was where it became a tad tricky for the Aussies. Despite the condition not particularly suited for the batters, they put up a decent total of 164 runs on the board but Sri Lanka almost chased the total down. Ultimately, Dasun Shanaka’s matched Australia’s score at 164 and the hosts ended up winning the Super Over.
The last game was once again a one-sided affair. Sri Lanka batted first and could only score 121 runs, with Kane Richardson running through their batting contingent. In response, Australia found themselves at 26/2 but Aaron Finch and Glenn Maxwell’s partnership helped them chase the total down with nineteen deliveries to spare. In the fourth T20I, we can expect the Lankans to play with a lot more freedom.
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With this game having no consequence on the outcome of the series, both teams could experiment with their team combination. Pat Cummins and Adam Zampa, who were rested for the third T20I, could come in Mitchell Starc and Ashton Agar respectively. Besides that, Moises Henriques can also be given a chance in this game at the expense of Ben McDermott, who did not have a good game last time out as Maheesh Theekshana dismissed him for a golden duck.
Sri Lanka can also test their squad depth in this match. Avishka Fernando, the talented top-order batter who has not featured yet in this season, could be included in place of Danushka Gunathilaka, who scored only 9 runs in his last match. Besides him, Charith Asalanka and Kusal Mendis were also poor as they combined to score only ten runs. Wicketkeeper-batter Kamil Mishara could replace Kusal Mendis, while Janith Liyanage can be tried out in Asalanka’s place.
Josh Hazlewood: Josh Hazlewood has carried his 2021 ICC T20 World Cup into this series, as he is currently the leading wicket-taker with eight wickets in three matches. He has maintained an economy rate of only 5.41 runs per over and an even better average of 8.12. The 31-year-old from New South Wales picked up a four-wicket haul in the first T20I, while he scalped three wickets in the second match. The last game was not his best, but he still managed to get the wicket of Chamika Karunaratne.
Pathum Nissanka: From an otherwise underwhelming lot, Pathum Nissanka has been the only ray of hope. He is leading the run-scoring charts of not only Sri Lanka but both teams combined, having scored 125 runs in three matches at an average of 41.66 and a strike rate of 112.61. The 23-year-old batter from Galle scored 36 runs in the first game and then played a spectacular knock of 73 runs in his second game. However, Nissanka could score only 16 runs in the third T20I.
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|Australia vs Sri Lanka, 4th T20I – Information|
|Teams||Australia vs Sri Lanka|
|Location||Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne|
|Time||Friday, 18th February, 1:40 PM IST/8:10 AM GMT|
|How to watch||Sony Sports Network (India), Fox Sports (Australia), BT Sport (United Kingdom), Willow TV (USA), SuperSport (South Africa), ATN Cricket Plus (Canada), Sky Sport NZ (New Zealand)|
Rohit is a cricket enthusiast striving to convey the finer details of the game in a capsule. He hopes to present a bird's eye view of the game, as he sees it, to the readers. He is smitten by the likes of ABD but crushes on pace bowlers who can make the ball talk. Email: [email protected]More info on Rohit Sankar
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