Champions Trophy: India vs Sri Lanka

Batsman hits ball

India will look to secure their place in the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy when they face Sri Lanka at the Oval. 

India’s convincing win over Pakistan stands them in good stead going forward in the Champions Trophy although they’ll be weary of the threat that Sri Lanka pose.

The Lions know that nothing short of victory at the Oval will suffice if they are to keep their tournament hopes alive. It all looks to be shaping up quite nicely, let’s take a closer look:

India vs Sri Lanka | Thursday 8 June 2017 | The Oval, London | 11:30

To Win Match
India 21/100 | Tie 35/1 | Sri Lanka 7/2

India
The Indians didn’t need to be anywhere near their best as they crushed a woeful Pakistan side in their Champions Trophy opener last week. They will look for a similar performance against one of the competition’s weaker sides on Thursday.

There’s no doubt that the bulk of the scoring will come from India’s insanely strong top order. Rohit and Dhawan will open things up, looking to set-up a decent foundation on which the vastly experienced duo of Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh.

All four of these players managed half-centuries in the match against Pakistan and will be looking for similar performances against another weak bowling attack. Hardik Pandya, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav and Ravindra Jadeja / Ravi Ashwin add value to a middle and lower order that can pile on the runs later on in the piece.

The biggest asset that the Indians have in this tournament I feel is their vast selection of world-class seamers. Bhuvneshwar Kumar comes into this tournament off the back of an excellent IPL while Umesh Yadav and Jasprit Bumrah are both world-beaters in their own right.

Bumrah’s ability to hit the blockhole in the latter stages of the innings has surpassed even Malinga. As much was evident when the young Indian was chosen to bowl a Super Over for the Mumbai Indians in the IPL against the Gujarat Lions ahead of his more experienced Sri Lankan.

Sri Lanka
It’s difficult to see how exactly the Sri Lankans are meant to face up to this Indian Juggernaut. They’re inferior in every facet of the game and still haven’t fully recovered from the retirements of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene.

There’s no point in dwelling on the past for the islanders, however. Looking ahead, they’ll welcome back a slightly crocked Angelo Matthews. Reports seem to indicate that he is able to bat although the calf injury that kept him out against South Africa won’t allow him to bowl on Thursday.

His return is offset by the loss of Upal Tharanga who has copped a two-match ban for what was a woefully slow over rate in the match against South Africa. The loss of Tharanga will be a massive loss for the Sri Lankans at the top of the order and could see Kusal Mendis pushed up the order to open the batting with Niroshan Dickwella.

That opening partnership will be key if Sri Lanka are to cause an upset here. While both are quite inexperienced, they’re Sri Lanka’s best available batsmen after Matthews who will likely come in lower down the order at five or six.

Bowling wise, I think the Islanders are going to struggle. Lasith Malinga and Suranga Lakmal – arguably Sri Lanka’s best seam options – did well to stifle the South Africans without creating too many wicket-taking opportunities. Failure to take wickets against an explosive Indian top order will prove detrimental.

Verdict: India 21/100
While the temptation will be to back India with a big stake here, remember that the forecast for The Oval isn’t great with plenty of rain expected on Thursday. Small stake on if you feel like you have to back the outright result here otherwise take a look at the value bet below. 

Value Bet: India to make the highest 15 over score 13/20
With Upal Tharanga banned for a match following Sri Lanka’s woefully bad over rate against South Africa, I just don’t see Graham Ford’s top order outscoring the likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli in the first 15 overs. There’s massive value here at 13/20 if we do indeed get enough play in with all the rubbish weather around. 

Written by Jason Dewey for @Hollywoodbets.net

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