KL Rahul will have to thwart the Lasith Malinga-threat(AP)
KL Rahul will have to thwart the Lasith Malinga-threat(AP)

India vs Sri Lanka, 1st T20: Challenge for KL Rahul headlines top three player battles

India will face a stiff challenge from Sri Lanka in the 3-match T20I series - the side has not been as dominant in this format as they would want to be.
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By HT Correspondent
UPDATED ON JAN 05, 2020 11:10 AM IST

India will face a stiff challenge from Sri Lanka in the 3-match T20I series - the side has not been as dominant in this format as they would want to be, they have faced stern test from West Indies and Bangladesh in the recent series and Sri Lanka, on their day, can be a tricky proposition.

Here in this article, we take a look at the 3 key player battles which might define the course of the match.

ALSO READ: 5 changes likely in India’s XI for 1st T20I against Sri Lanka

Lasith Malinga vs KL Rahul

Malinga is the leader of the side and will take control of the new ball. KL Rahul, on the other hand, has been a prolific run-scorer for India in this shortest format and has found success in the IPL against Malinga. However, the Sri Lankan skipper is a wild old fox and with his bag of tricks will be a difficult proposition for India’s batting order and hence, KL Rahul has to take charge of proceedings.

In 2019, Malinga has picked up 14 wickets in 10 T20Is at an average of 17.92 and with an economy rate of 6.43.

Washington Sundar vs Danushka Gunathilaka

Washington Sundar has enjoyed himself against Sri Lanka - he averages 14.20 against them and has an economy rate of 5.91. Also, he keeps a lid on the left-handers owing to which, Virat Kohli will throw the new ball to the off-spinner in the initial powerplay overs. Danushka Gunathilaka has been in good run-scoring form for Sri Lanka which makes this contest a very interesting prospect.

Jasprit Bumrah vs Kusal Perera

India’s pace spearhead is back. He has the X-factor and he has always dominated this format. However, making a comeback from injury is not always easy and this is why the spotlight will be firmly on Bumrah and how he shapes up after the injury break. Kusal Perera, on the other hand, tends to score quick runs against India and this contest in the middle and death overs could determine the course of this contest.

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