Match: West Indies vs Sri Lanka (WI vs SL, 1st T20I)
Date: March 04, 2021
Venue: Coolidge Cricket Ground – Antigua, Antigua And Barbuda
West Indies and Sri Lanka face off in the first T20I of the three-match series on Thursday at Coolidge Cricket Ground. West Indies lost their last T20I series and will be bidding to make a strong comeback in the upcoming series. They have recalled dashing opener Chris Gayle and bowler Fidel Edwards as the side looks to start their preparation for the T20 World Cup. The West Indian side is led by Kieron Pollard that also has Dwayne Bravo, Jason Holder and Nicholas Pooran. They pack a punch and are expected to have it easy against a struggling Sri Lankan side.
Sri Lanka, on the other hand, have been struggling in the arena in the last few years. Their last T20 series was early in 2020, and they will enter the series without adequate practice. Dasun Shanaka, the skipper of the side, will be unavailable due to visa issue, which further hampers the side. The Lankans are not the most experienced side, and will have to play out of their skins to win the series.
Weather Update and Pitch Report of WI vs SL, 1st T20I:
The weather will be hot and humid, and the evening is likely to be still without much wind. The chances of rain in the evening of the game is very low, and we expect a full 40-overs match.
The last international match that was held here was in 2017, when the West Indies Women faced Sri Lanka Women. Since then, the venue has hosted domestic games but has not hosted a single international clash. The seamers are expected to get help early, and batting will get easier. Win the toss and chase should be the mantra.
WI Expected XI and Team News:
The West Indian squad sees the return of a number of dangerous players. The biggest headline was the return of Chris Gayle and Fidel Edwards. The former last played for the country in 2019, while Edwards returns after a gap of nine years.
Dwayne Bravo: The all-rounder has picked up 512 wickets in T20 cricket, and has been a match-winner for various teams across the globe. He is also more than handy with the bat lower down the order.
Nicholas Pooran: One of the most dangerous batsmen in the world in the format, Pooran has reinvented his game to emerge as one of the most lethal players.
Andre Fletcher, Evin Lewis, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Kieron Pollard (c), Rovman Powell, Jason Holder, Dwayne Bravo, Fidel Edwards, Oshane Thomas, Akeal Hosein
SL Expected XI and Team News:
The Sri Lankans will be without the services of skipper Dasun Shanaka, who is absent due to visa issues. Angelo Matthews is likely to replace him as the skipper of the T20I side. The side will also miss Lahiru Kumara due to medical reasons.
Dimuth Karunaratne: The player is all set to make his T20 debut after some sensational form in the Tests and ODIs of late. Karunaratne has been a vital player for the Lankans in the last few years, and will be eager to start his T20I career with a bang.
Nuwan Pradeep: The fast bowler has 55 wickets in 53 T20 appearances, and will find the conditions to his liking. He recently picked up eight wickets in the Lanka Premier League, and was in fine form.
Danushka Gunathilaka, Dimuth Karunaratne, Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Angelo Mathews (c), Oshada Fernando, Wanidu Hasaranga, Thisara Perera, Dushmantha Chameera, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Lakshan Sandakan
Head to Head record of WI vs SL:
Overall: The two teams have played each other 11 times in the history of T20 International cricket, with West Indies winning 5 games and the Sri Lankans registering 6 victories.
Last 4 matches: West Indies have won the last four games against Sri Lanka in the shortest format of the game.
Last meeting in WI: Sri Lanka and West Indies have never met in a T20I series in West Indies. Their last meeting was in Sri Lanka in March 2020, where the West Indian side won 2-0.
Chris Gayle vs Thisara Perera
Strike Rate 87.50
Angelo Mathews vs Dwayne Bravo
Strike Rate 160.87
Match prediction of WI vs SL, 1st T20I:
On paper, West Indies are the overwhelming favourites to not only win the 1st T20I but the series as well. They have named a strong squad that sees a number of big names such as Kieron Pollard, Jason Holder and the Universe Boss Chris Gayle. The players have been playing franchise cricket around the world, and have been in phenomenal form of late, and they will be expected to replicate their form in the national jersey as well.
MPL Fantasy XI:
Nicholas Pooran, Chris Gayle, Evin Lewis, Angelo Mathews, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kieron Pollard, Thisara Perera, Wanindu Hasaranga, Nuwan Pradeep, Fidel Edwards and Akeal Hosein
Captain and vice-captain selection:
Chris Gayle: The big-hitter might fail on a few occasions, but once he gets going, he is unstoppable. Though well over 40, Gayle is still one of the most dangerous batters in the world, especially in the powerplay overs. He has been in excellent form in the IPL and in the PSL, and will be eager to announce his comeback to the team in style.
Thisara Perera: The all-rounder has been an underrated match-winner for Sri Lanka over the last few years. He was in good form in the Lanka Premier League, and is dangerous with both bat and ball.