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Sri Lanka and Ireland have crossed paths only once in T20I cricket, and that way back in the 2009 edition of this very competition. Ireland did cause the Lankans some troubles in that game at Lord’s, but Sri Lanka eventually emerged victoriously, securing a narrow 9-run win. They are likely to win this match as well.
Sri Lanka to Win (-250)
Ireland: Paul Stirling, Kevin O Brien, Andrew Balbirnie (c), Gareth Delany, Harry Tector, Curtis Campher, Neil Rock (wk), Simi Singh, Mark Adair, Andrew McBrine/Benjamin White, Joshua Little
Sri Lanka: Kusal Perera (wk), Dhananjaya de Silva/Pathum Nissanka, Dinesh Chandimal, Avishka Fernando, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dasun Shanaka (c), Chamika Karunaratne, Wanindu Hasaranga, Dushmantha Chameera, Maheesh Theekshana, Lahiru Kumara
Provided rain does not play spoilsport, which it should not according to the weather forecast, either Sri Lanka or Ireland will confirm their berth in the Super 12 stage of the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 post this match.
Both teams had a great start to their campaign, courtesy of their dominant bowling display. Ireland bowled the Netherlands team out for just 106 runs, and then chased it down inside the 16th over. Sri Lanka’s bowling performance was even better, as they wrapped up Namibia’s innings for just 96 runs. They did wobble a bit in the run chase early on, but sublime knocks from Avishka Fernando and Bhanuka Rajapaksa ensured a convincing 7-wicket triumph.
Given their stunning display against the Netherlands, Ireland is likely to field an unchanged XI for this crucial match against Sri Lanka. There is, however, room for improvement in an area of two. Benjamin White was expensive against the Dutch, conceding 9 runs per over. Alongside that, he also failed to pick up a wicket. Hence, Ireland management might drop the leggie to introduce off-spinner Andrew McBrine in the playing XI.
Like Ireland, Sri Lanka are also unlikely to make a change, since they won their first match of the competition quite comfortably. But amid the dominating performance against Namibia, their top-order collapse is something they might want to analyze. Pathum Nissanka, who batted as an opener in the last match, has played only 5 T20I matches. Sri Lanka could promote Avishka Fernando up the order to open alongside Kusal Perera, and in Nissanka’s place, the Lions could include Dhananjaya de Silva, who provides captain Dasun Shanaka with an extra bowling option.
Curtis Campher: Curtis Campher was Ireland’s star in the match against the Netherlands, as he went on to pick up four wickets in as many consecutive deliveries – repeating the feat of Lasith Malinga and Rashid Khan. Besides being a reliable bowler, Campher also is a pretty useful batter, and usually slots in at number five for Andrew Balbirnie’s team.
Maheesh Theekshana: After picking up a four-for in his ODI debut against South Africa only a month ago, Mahesh Theekshana is now showing his skills in the shortest format of the game. The 21-year-old off-spinner picked up three wickets in the match against Namibia, with Stephen Baard, Zane Green, and Jan Frylinck being his victims.
|Sri Lanka vs Ireland, Match 8, Group A – Information|
|Teams||Sri Lanka vs Ireland|
|Location||Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi|
|Time||Wednesday, 20th October, 7:30 PM IST/2 PM GMT|
|How to watch||Star Sports Network, Disney+ Hotstar, Fox Sports (Australia), Sky Sports (UK and Republic of Ireland), SuperSport (South Africa), Willow TV (USA and Canada), ESPN (Caribbean), Elisalat Criclife (United Arab Emirates), Yupp TV (Central Asia)|
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