India take a 1-0 lead into the second T20 international on Thursday, after a narrow win over Sri Lanka in the first clash on Tuesday.
Game one went right to the wire, with the hosts winning by just two runs after a couple of dramatic late run-outs for the tourists saw them fall agonisingly short.
|What||India v Sri Lanka, second T20 international|
|Where||Maharashtra CA Stadium, Pune|
|When||13:30, Thursday 5th January, 2023|
|Odds||India 1/3, Sri Lanka 12/5|
The Indian selectors decided that this would be a good time to make some changes for this three-match series, which could give us an insight into the future of Indian cricket.
The hosts made several changes from last year’s T20 World Cup, when they were thrashed by eventual winners England in the semi-finals.
Hardik Pandya and Suryakumar Yadav were the only notable inclusions from the team that lost that last-four encounter, with the likes of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul given time off.
The absence of the big names showed on Tuesday, when Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to field first and India made just 162 in their 20 overs.
Deepak Hooda top-scored with an unbeaten 41 off 23 deliveries, while wicketkeeper Ishan Kishan made an impact at the top of the order.
The left-handed opener is just 24 and looks one player to watch out for the future, with his 37 including 3 fours and 2 sixes - he is 10/3 to be Team - Top Batter on Thursday.
Bowler Shivam Mavi made his debut in the opening match of the series and took the headlines, after claiming figures of 4-22 in his four overs, to help the hosts to victory.
With Jasprit Bumrah continuing his recovery and Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami not selected, there is an opportunity for some of the other bowlers to stake their claim with the ball.
Mavi removed two of the top three Sri Lanka batters - Pathum Nissanka and Dhananjaya de Silva - and the paceman showed just what he is capable of.
The 24-year-old, who has taken 47 wickets in 11 first-class matches, is 5/1 to be Team - Top Bowler in the second T20 clash.
It’s now just one win in their last five T20 internationals for Sri Lanka and they certainly look like a squad in transition.
Their lack of recent success was probably the main reason for their defeat in the opening match, having got themselves into a winning position, at 108-5 in Mumbai.
They managed to make just 52 runs in the last 5.3 overs and two late run-outs were the final nails in the coffin as India edged home.
The only real positive for the tourists to take from that opening game of the three-match series, was the display of middle-order batter Dasun Shanaka.
Sri Lanka’s skipper, who has over 1,200 runs in T20 internationals, smashed 45 off 27 balls and can be backed at 7/1 to be Team - Top Batter on Thursday.
After a low-scoring affair in the first match, game two is likely to see bigger totals especially as the in-experienced players get used to the international standards.
These two teams were the last international sides to play a T20 match at the Maharashtra Stadium, with India running out comfortable winners in 2020.
On that occasion, Sri Lanka put India into bat and the hosts smashed 201-6 in their 20 overs, with openers KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan both hitting half-centuries.
In reply, Sri Lanka were all out for 123 in 15.5 overs, with only two players reaching double figures as they eventually lost by 78 runs.
No fewer than 11 of the 15 wickets to fall in the first match of the series saw batters caught out and ‘caught’ is 1/2 in the Match - 1st Wicket Method (2 Way) market.
It’s also worth noting that India, who are currently top of the world rankings in the shortest format, have won five of their last seven T20 internationals on home soil.