From January 3 to 15, 2023, the Indian cricket team will host Sri Lanka for three Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is) and One Day Internationals (ODIs). In all versions of the game, the Men in Blue will try to overwhelm their opponents in their own backyard. Sri Lanka has yet to win a T20I or ODI series in India, and with that in mind, Squad India supporters will expect their team to thrash the visitors and continue their winning trend.
Hardik Pandya will take over as captain of the Indian T20I squad after the New Zealand series. The Indian cricket team hopes to start the tournament with a win in the first T20I at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. However, the squad must be careful of certain talented Sri Lankan players who may cause some crucial Indian players difficulty throughout the series. These battles will be exciting to watch for viewers since they will light up the competition with some incredible activity.
Here are five player matchups to keep an eye out for in the T20I series.
Number 1. Pathum Nissanka vs Arshdeep Singh
During the Super Four round of the Asia Cup 2022, Pathum Nissanka played a critical role in Sri Lanka’s victory over India, scoring 52 runs off 37 deliveries and helping his team secure a win with six wickets to spare. Nissanka’s impressive performance against Arshdeep Singh during the powerplay overs made a significant impact on the match.
The Sri Lanka team management is likely to rely on Nissanka to continue his dominant form, but the opener will face a tough challenge as Arshdeep is familiar with the home conditions and will aim to dismiss Nissanka in the early overs using his diverse array of deliveries.
Arshdeep has a strong record, having taken 33 wickets in 21 T20Is with an economy rate of 8.17. Nissanka, meanwhile, has been equally impressive, with 36 T20Is and 1,015 runs under his belt at a strike rate of 114.17, including nine half-centuries.
Number 2. Yuzvendra Chahal vs Kusal Mendis
Kusal Mendis has been a crucial player for Sri Lanka in major events such as the Asia Cup and T20 World Cup 2022. In their last match against India, he contributed 57 runs to help Sri Lanka secure a win against India, using his skill and experience to dominate the Indian bowlers.
However, Yuzvendra Chahal had the final say as he trapped Mendis in front of the stumps. In this series, Chahal aims to restrict Mendis with his disciplined bowling, having already taken 20 wickets in 10 games against Sri Lanka at an economy rate of 8.23.
Chahal’s T20I career includes 87 wickets in 71 games, with an economy of 8.13. On the other hand, Mendis has amassed 1,059 runs in 49 T20Is, with a strike rate of 129.62. He has particularly excelled against India, accumulating 123 runs in three matches with a remarkable strike rate of 151.85.
Number 3. Umran Malik vs Bhanuka Rajapaksa
Bhanuka Rajapaksa is famous for his bold batting style in T20Is, and his ability to hit big shots makes him a valuable player for Sri Lanka. In the Asia Cup final against Pakistan last year, he had a standout performance, scoring 71 runs off 45 balls with six fours and three sixes.
His impressive performance was a key factor in Sri Lanka’s 23-run victory over Pakistan, securing their sixth continental title. During the series against India, the Sri Lankan team will be counting on Rajapaksa to bring his A-game with the bat and help them win their first T20I series in India. However, it won’t be easy for Rajapaksa as India has a dangerous bowler in Umran Malik, who could disrupt his plans with his fast pace.
Malik made his international debut against Ireland in a T20I match last year, and in this series against Sri Lanka, he aims to prove himself as a match-winner for India by delivering exceptional bowling figures.
Number 4. Dasun Shanaka vs Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya has been named the captain of the T20I series, capitalizing on his impressive leadership skills that he demonstrated in the series against New Zealand in November 2022. As the team’s leader and all-rounder, Pandya will be under the microscope for his performances in both capacities. The Indian team supporters will expect him to deliver top-notch contributions.
Pandya will have the task of fortifying the middle order with his powerful batting and taking wickets with his exceptional bowling skills. He’ll be facing his counterpart Dasun Shanaka, who also doubles as an all-rounder for Sri Lanka. In their last encounter during the Asia Cup, Shanaka performed well against Pandya both with bat and ball. Nonetheless, Pandya will look to put the past behind and focus on delivering strong performances against Shanaka and the Sri Lanka team in the three-match T20I series. Pandya will also aim to enhance his batting record against Sri Lanka, as he has scored only 72 runs in nine matches at a strike rate of 133.33.
Number 5. Suryakumar Yadav vs Wanindu Hasaranga
Suryakumar Yadav and Wanindu Hasaranga both performed well for their respective teams in T20Is in 2022. With their daring playing styles, both cricketers put on a show for their respective sides. Kumar had his greatest year in 2022, scoring 1,164 runs in 31 matches, including two centuries and nine half-centuries.
Hasaranga, on the other hand, has made an impression with the ball for Sri Lanka in key tournaments like as the Asia Cup 2022 and the T20 World Cup 2022. He was Sri Lanka’s top bowler in the continental championship, taking nine wickets in six games at an economy of 7.39. He was also the leading wicket-taker in the T20 World Cup, with 15 scalps in eight games at a mind-boggling economy of 6.41.
Given their previous spectacular performances, it can be predicted that the series will be a fantastic battle between these two elite players. Yadav was recently named India’s vice-captaincy after producing some historic batting stats for the squad.