Venue: Pallekele International Cricket Stadium, Kandy
Date: Wednesday, March 4, 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 fairness to the Windies, they could easily have one or even two of ODIs. They lost the first of the contests by just one wicket as Sri Lanka surged to run down their total of 289 with just five balls remaining in the match. The third ODI was just as hotly contested, with the hosts winning the toss and electing to bat. They then went on to put up an impressive score of 307 from their 50 overs, giving the Windies a big task in their chase. They almost succeeded, however, finishing their 50 overs at 301/9 and falling short by just six runs. This was despite another monster performance from batsman Shai Hope who has been their best player (by far) this series.
The less said about the second ODI – a match Sri Lanka won by 161 runs – the better.
The big news for Sri Lanka is that a pair of players have been ruled out of the T20I series due to injury. Nuwan Pradeep will be out for six weeks with a hamstring problem while Dhananjaya de Silva has a wrist injury. The injuries mean that there has been a change in the squad with Asitha Fernando replacing Pradeep, while there will not be anyone called up as cover for de Silva at this point. Pradeep he claimed three wickets in the three ODI games, while de Silva was able to score a total of 81 runs across the contests.
This is still a deep squad even without talented opener Danushka Gunathilaka who is also missing the series because of a long term injury.
The Windies will be looking for win or two here to avoid this tour being written off as a complete failure. Hope is in outstanding form with the bat and both he and Fabian Allen will be back in the T20I squad after missing recent matches in this format through injury. There is also a place for Andre Russell in the squad after he was recalled following an 18-month layoff.
It will be interesting to see if Shimron Hetmyer is involved at all. He missed the ODI series after not being deemed fit enough to play that version of the game per West Indian fitness standards. If he is involved then he will certainly be looking to make up for last time on this tour.
This is expected to be quite the contest with Sri Lanka (1.00) and West Indies (0.80) barely being able to be split with BetXChange. We like the visitors to get the win here as they have some different players available and those – plus the batting power of the excellent Hope – should be enough to push the Windies over the line.