India vs Sri Lanka, 1st T20I: Key player battles
India and Sri Lanka, in their first assignment in 2023, will lock horns in a three-match T20I series, starting January 3. Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium will host the opener. India have named a bunch of young faces in the squad led by Hardik Pandya. Though SL are seen as underdogs, they have some potent players in the ranks. Here we present the key player battles.
Ishan Kishan vs Lahiru Kumara
Indian opener Ishan Kishan, who recorded the fastest ODI double-century in his last international assignment, will pose a major threat to SL bowlers. He owns four fifties in the T20I format. SL speedster Lahiru Kumara will operate with the new ball and he'll have the onus to keep the southpaw quiet. Kumara concedes runs at 8.25 vs left-handers in T20s.
Suryakumar Yadav vs Wanindu Hasaranga
Suryakumar Yadav, who owned 2022 with his staggering T20 performances, would like to shine in his maiden assignment this year. Wanindu Hasaranga will challenge him in the middle overs and their battle would certainly be enticing. Notably, SKY has an astonishing strike rate of 193.75 vs leg-spinners in T20Is. Hasaranga boasts an economy rate of 6.44 versus right-handers in T20Is.
Pathum Nissanka vs Arshdeep Singh
Top-order batter Pathum Nissanka has emerged as a prolific run-getter for SL and many eyes will be on him. He'll have to tackle Arshdeep Singh's brilliance in the powerplay overs. The left-arm pacer has accounted for 14 powerplay wickets in 20 innings in T20Is. He concedes runs at 7.48 in this phase and hence, Nissanka must be watchful against him.
Kusal Mendis vs Washington Sundar
Nissanka's opening partner Kusal Mendis was SL's second-highest run-scorer in T20Is last year (521 runs). He would like to start 2023 emphatically as well. The ever-economical Washington Sundar would look to contain him in the powerplay overs. The off-spinner concedes runs at a paltry rate of 7.07 in the first six overs in T20s. Mendis strikes at 128.24 in this phase.