India vs Sri Lanka in the ICC World Cup 2019 on July 6th (Saturday) will be broadcast on the Star Sports network and Live streaming will be available on Hotstar. The match will be played at Headingley, Leeds and will begin at 1500 HRS IST. You can also follow all the action on our live blog (IND vs SL).
No, it's not a dead rubber. India have qualified, Sri Lanka are knocked out. But there are still a few crucial things to play for, for India. Here are the scenarios first.
India will have to beat Sri Lanka on Saturday (July 6) and then hope for South Africa to beat Australia in the afternoon game at Manchester, to go to the top of the table. If that happens, India will play New Zealand - who have lost three games in a row leading to the semifinal. If Australia beat South Africa, India will face England irrespective of their result against Sri Lanka.
As important as the result is, India will be focused on addressing some important issues going into the knockouts. Much of that revolves around their middle order's form. In their last match against Bangladesh, India's openers added 180 in 29 overs but the team ended with only 314 for 9. A similar story unfolded against England too, when the middle order couldn't finish strong after Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma departed.
Rohit and Kohli have carried India's batting hopes, especially after Shikhar Dhawan's departure. Rohit has four centuries, and Kohli, surprisingly, has five half-centuries without a ton. India are yet to have a scenario where both fail; how the side will cope with such a situation will be interesting to see given the troubles of the middle order.
It's not like the middle order batsmen are struggling for runs. Hardik Pandya has made a few vital contributions, game changing even. MS Dhoni, albeit not at his powerful best, has blown hot and cold. Rishabh Pant has had a couple of good innings at No. 4. The team is getting into a phase where they need momentum, and it's time for the middle order to come together and fire in unison.
The bowlers are the ones who are driving India's vehicle. Jasprit Bumrah has been sensational, Mohammed Shami has brought in plenty of energy. The spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav have been effective. They would want Bhuvneshwar Kumar to join the party and produce a big performance. Shami's death bowling too has been an area of concern.
It will be interesting to see if India rest Bumrah, although the pacer himself said he is not keen on skipping games. They might want to look into Ravindra Jadeja too, the only player from the original squad who hasn't yet played a game.
There isn't much to play for Sri Lanka, apart from pride and pointers towards the future. They already have got a big pointer towards that direction in the form of Avishka Fernando, who made a classy ton against West Indies. It's over to the likes of Kusal Perera, Fernando and Kusal Mendis to form a batting core for Sri Lanka over the next few years. They'd of course need the backing of the team management for that to happen of course.
Sri Lanka haven't been all that bad in the World Cup, but their bad days have been really poor. The middle order has been a problem for them too, with the likes of Angelo Mathews not stepping up consistently.
They did manage to surprise England though, in a result that made the rest of the league stage so much more interesting. All that meant for nothing in the end, given the expected top four of Australia, India, England and New Zealand (although not confirmed just yet) have made it to the final four.
Sri Lanka's game against India is another chance for them to look at their future, but also an opportunity to give their past a good farewell. Lasith Malinga will be playing his last World Cup match, and will be keen to go out on a high. In the three matches Sri Lanka have won, against Afghanistan, England and West Indies, Malinga has three, four and three wickets respectively. One more good game, and Sri Lanka can go back with four wins - something not many would have expected before the tournament started.
It's not beyond their reach too; the last time these two sides met in England in the Champions Trophy two years back, India came in as favourites while Sri Lanka were struggling to win. And then, the islanders stunned India bringing out their A game.
Pitch and conditions
It's bright and sunny at Leeds, and is expected to stay that way during the game. The pitch is the same as the one used for West Indies vs Afghanistan, which saw West Indies scoring 300+ and Afghanistan coming close. The short straight boundaries will make life easy for batsmen too.
India: KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli (c), Rishabh Pant, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik/Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah.
Sri Lanka: Dimuth Karunaratne(c), Kusal Perera(w), Avishka Fernando, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Lahiru Thirimanne, Dhananjaya de Silva, Isuru Udana, Jeffrey Vandersay, Kasun Rajitha, Lasith Malinga.