With the ICC T20 World Cup scheduled to be played in Sri Lanka next month the one off T20 game gives the Indians an early workout in conditions that they will face there. The BCCI has also smartly kept two T20 games to end the New Zealand tour, and that should also give the Indians valuable match practice for the tournament that they won sensationally in its inaugural edition in 2007.
The comprehensive win over the hosts will also give the team huge confidence as they take the Lankans on in the one off T20 game. The format of the game is such that it is hard to go by form, for one over can change the complexion of the match and turn it upside down.
What India have done well in the one-day series is make good use of its part time bowlers and so have added more depth to their batting and given the skipper, a few more options in bowling. Despite the form that Gambhir and Kohli are in, there is some worry about the batting and it is here that skipper Dhoni has to take the initiative and promote himself up the order. Suresh Raina will in all probability follow Kohli to the crease or even precede him, but Dhoni and his big hitting will be the key to India putting up a big score on the board.
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Like he so memorably did in the World Cup final and has shown in Australia and the Asia Cup, there is no better finisher in the game than the Indian captain and he must give himself as many deliveries as he can. Manoj Tiwary too has done enough to keep his place though Dhoni may not use his leg spinners since a bad over can cost a game. Irfan Pathan&'s form has been a big plus and it is good to see him pick wickets.
In this format unless a bowler is going to give you three wickets he is not going to be much use since he can be in the game only for four overs. If he can't bat and if he has to be hidden in the field then he is more of a liability. That is why it is baffling when some bowlers, who can't bat and are ordinary fielders, fetch the price that they do in the IPL auctions.
Sri Lanka will want to end this tour by India with a win and salvage something out of what has been a disappointing one-day series. Not only did they lose and lose from good positions, but they have also lost the services of their in-form batsman Kumar Sangakkara. They will be keeping their fingers crossed that he will be fit for the ICC T20 World Cup starting in five weeks time, for they need his calm and experience out in the middle.
It has not helped that Dilshan and Jayawardene, their other prolific batsmen did not have a productive time in the one-day series and with Sangakkara injured and unavailable for the last two crucial games they were bereft of class batting. Their bowling too just does not have the sting that Murali and Vaas provided them, and so they are unable to defend good scores.
It may just be a one off T20 game, but both teams will be hoping to win and give themselves a boost before the mega event next month.