Venue: Pallekele International Cricket Stadium, Kandy
Date: Wednesday, March 6, 2020
The T20I leg is the second leg of the West Indian tour of Sri Lanka this time around. The T20Is stand as a way for the West Indies to get a measure of revenge over their hosts after they slipped to a 3-0 series defeat in the ODIs.
In the first T20I played in Kandy on Wednesday, the West Indies finally picked up their first win of this tour. After winning the toss and electing to bat the tourists rattled off a quickfire 196/4. This score was anchored by Lendl Simmons and his unbeaten 67 from 51 balls. Wanindu Hasaranga was the pick of a blunt Sri Lanka attack with figures of 1/33 from four overs.
The Sri Lanka reply never looked like it was going to be enough thanks to the bowling of Player of the Match, bowler Oshane Thomas. Thomas was like a buzzsaw against the home team’s batting lineup as he put up figures of 5/28 from his three-over stint. Only Kusal Perera put up much of a fight as he put up 66 from 38 balls. Sri Lanka was bowled out in their final over for 171, a total of25 runs short of their victory target.
Sri Lanka needs to pick up their form, with Angelo Matthews being especially disappointing against the tourists. Matthews, usually a consistent run threat, has scored just 28 runs over his last four innings when looking at all formats of the game. Don’t be at all shocked to see a recall to the side for either Asitha Fernando or Lahiru Kumara as a lack of seam bowling options really hurt the hosts in the first T20I. If Thomas wrecks the top of the order again – Sri Lanka was 17/3 at one point behind his assault – then there will need to be star performances from Nos. 4-6 in the batting lineup in order to see Sri Lanka to a series draw.
The Windies are looking for their first bilateral series win in over a year, with the last victory being back in December 2018 on a tour of Bangladesh. Their hope for a win here comes from their bowling attack, with Sheldon Cottrell looking excellent as he transitioned from the ODIs to the T20I format with ease. His display, however, was completely overshadowed by Thomas and his monster wicket haul, The one issue here could be the lack of a frontline spinner in the squad if the conditions veer towards favoring that kind of attack.
This is the Windies’ favorite format of the game and it showed in the first T20I. The tourists are priced at 0.70 with BetXChange as the 20 over game variant plays so well into their heavy striking and pace bowling repertoire. Sri Lanka will look to bounce back and their 1.10 price as the home team is tempting, but the favored tourists will pick up a second consecutive win here and take the series. Look for Cottrell to be the leading bowler for the Windies (3.30) and for Simmons to lead from the front with the bat (3.00).