T20 World Cup | AUS vs SL: Ahead of big England clash, buoyant Sri Lanka are Australia's litmus test

Abhishek Singh

Abhishek Singh

Author| Oct 27, 7:11 PM

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PC- Twitter

Before the T20 World Cup 2021, Australia might have thought that the clash against Sri Lanka would be one of the easier affairs considering that other teams in their group are South Africa, defending champions and runners up of the last  World Cup, West Indies and England respectively. 

But as things have developed over the two weeks in the competition, Sri Lanka has turned out to be one of those teams which are not dependent on a single or two individuals and hence more dangerous than most teams in the tournament. 

We can beat anyone on our day

The Sri Lankan coach Micky Arthur is confident that on their day his team can beat anyone, and Australia is no different. He also said that the pressure would be on the Australians as Sri Lanka is in a journey of improvement and not in a race of points. 

“For us, it is about us improving all the time and every time we go out there, we are going there for improvement and we are improving. For us it’s about a journey at the moment, it’s not a sprint,” said Arthur in the pre-match press conference. 

“The qualifiers were tough, there was a lot of pressure on us, but now the pressure is reversed because we come into this phase with nothing to lose. We are playing good cricket, the players are very clear on their roles and we are confident that we can beat anybody on our day,” Arthur added further.

While he is right in saying that the Lankans could beat anyone on their day and given the fact that they have two quality spinners in Wanindu Hasaranga and Maheesh Theekshana, who would be fit for this game, and with Charith Asalanaka able to rotate his arm over against the left-handers, the Sri Lankans would look to give proper 10 overs of spin at the Dubai wicket to the Aussies. 

Speaking about Maheesh’s availability, who missed the last game due to a niggle, Arthur said, “Yes, Maheesh will be playing tomorrow. We rested him from training yesterday and tomorrow we will warm him up and if everything goes well, he would be playing tomorrow.”

Smith-Maxwell hold key 

Australia are also aware of the fact that they cannot take the Lnakns easily who haven’t lost any game since they have landed in the middle east so far. In the pre-match press conference, wicketkeeper batter Mathew Wade underscored the importance of batters Steven Smith and Glenn Maxwell in negotiating spin. 

“I think we will face up to 12 overs of spin tomorrow and Smith and Maxwell are the kinds of guys that are going to be really important to negotiate that tomorrow. Hopefully, they can bat through the middle overs and then at the backend, we can do more of what we did in the last game,” said Wade. 

He is quite right in his analysis given the fact that even while chasing a minimal 119 against South Africa, the Australians took the game way too deep and if it wasn’t for some calmness by Smith, who also eventually departed, but if it wasn’t for his calmness the match would have been even closer. Maxwell with his reverse sweeps could very well counter spin as he has done in the past too. Thus these two will be key to Australia’s success against Sri Lanka. 

Australia vs Sri Lanka: Match Details

Match Number - 22

Date and Time: October 27, 2021, 03:30 pm IST, 02:00 pm Local, 10:00 am GMT

Venue: Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai

Broadcast and Livestream: Star Sports and Hotstar

Pitch Report

The pitch at UAE as per the matches played over there so far has seemed to be behaving well in the first half, but with dew coming in the second half, the ball is skidding. Since it is a 06:00 pm start in this game, toss would be very crucial and the team winning the toss would look to field first. 

Weather Forecast

The temperature at the stadium will fall from 30-degree Celsius at 06:00 pm to 28-degree Celsius by 09:00 pm and similarly, the humidity will increase from 55% to 65% meaning that there is a sure shot chance of dew and hence toss is going to play a huge role. 

Team News

Australia

Since Australia won their game against South Africa in the opening encounter, there is hardly any chance of changing the playing XI. But certain publications have cast doubt over Mitchell Starc being fully fit and in that case, there might be a change and Kane Richardson might come into play. 

Probable XI

Aaron Finch (c), David Warner, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Steven Smith, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade (wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc/ Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood

Sri Lanka

As far as Sri Lanka are concerned, it has already been made clear that Theekshana would be back for this game and hence Binura Fernando, who replaced him in the previous match, will naturally go out. 

Probable XI

Kusal Perera (wk), Pathum Nissanka, Charith Asalanka, Avishka Fernando, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dasun Shanaka (c), Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Dushmantha Chameera, Maheesh Theekshana, Lahiru Kumara

CE XI Fantasy team

Wicketkeeper Kusal Perera

Batters Charith Asalanka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Steven Smith

All-rounders Wanindu Hasaranga, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell 

Bowlers Maheesh Theekshana, Lahiru Kumara, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood

Vice-Captain Wanindu Hasaranga

Captain Glenn Maxwell

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