World Cup 2019: Desperate Sri Lanka clash with West Indies in must-win game

Sri Lanka’s 20-run win over England had breathed life into their inconsistent campaign but a painful defeat against South Africa, in the very next game, hurt their semifinals chances.

Lasith Malinga prepares to bowl during a training session.   -  AFP

 

Sri Lanka will be eyeing the coveted two points to stay alive in the race for the World Cup semifinals when it takes on the West Indies on Monday.

In the absence of Nuwan Pradeep — ruled out of the tournament with chickenpox — the islanders will rely heavily on Lasith Malinga, who has already picked up nine wickets. The 35-year-old’s four-for helped Sri Lanka clinch a nervy win over England, but the Lankans failed to keep up the momentum as it lost to South Africa in the next game.

The team has been bogged down by a faltering batting unit and captain Dimuth Karunaratne and Angelo Mathews need to step up against the West Indies, which has no chance of making it to the last-four.

READ| Jayawardene urges Sri Lanka to retain belief

Sri Lanka has six points from seven matches, and it can finish on 10 points if it wins the remaining two matches. Favourable results from the other games can then catapult it to the semifinals.

The West Indies, on the other hand, will be playing for pride and will look to its batsmen Chris Gayle, Carlos Brathwaite and Shai Hope to put up a fight. Coming into the tournament as an underdog, the Caribbean side has failed to impress and is currently placed ninth, just above Afghanistan.

“We had some frank discussions about the World Cup that we’ve had and we’ll try to finish the tournament as a strong unit now,” West Indies head coach Floyd Reifer had said after the loss to India.

“We are still playing for pride, we know that. People back home in the Caribbean are backing us and we are representing them here.”

The Riverside Ground produced a sluggish surface in Sri Lanka’s nine-wicket loss to South Africa and the wicket is expected to behave the same way.

Squad

West Indies: Jason Holder (captain), Chris Gayle, Shai Hope, Shimron Hetmyer, Carlos Brathwaite, Sheldon Cottrell, Oshane Thomas, Kemar Roach, Ashley Nurse, Nicholas Pooran, Sunil Ambris, Evin Lewis, Shannon Gabriel, Darren Bravo, Fabian Allen.

Sri Lanka: Dimuth Karunaratne (capt), Dhananjaya de Silva, Kasun Rajitha , Avishka Fernando, Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathews, Kusal Mendis, Jeevan Mendis, Kusal Perera, Thisara Perera, Milinda Siriwardana, Lahiru Thirimanne, Isuru Udana, Jeffrey Vandersay.

Match starts at 3pm (IST).

 

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