India playing Sri Lanka at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. In recent memory, this fixture, at that venue, brings fond memories of the evening of April 2, 2011, when India won their second ICC Men’s ODI World Cup title.
Now the two teams meet again at the same venue, in a round robin match of the ongoing 2023 edition of cricket’s biggest event. But the two teams enter the contest in contrasting form.
Sri Lanka, winners of the 1996 edition, have won two and lost four of their matches this term. The most recent loss came on Monday – a seven wicket defeat to a rising Afghanistan team. On paper, and on current form, Kusal Mendis and his men could be in for a rough evening when they face the unbeaten Indian team on Thursday.
India, meanwhile, going into their 10th ODI World Cup meeting against Sri Lanka, are on a six-match winning streak. They have dominated, let alone won, each and every match they have played and are currently at the top of the 10-team round robin.
A win on Thursday will take them one step closer to securing qualification to the semi-final stage.
To do that though, they will have to beat a Sri Lankan squad who, at this World Cup, have become the team to suffer the most defeats in World Cup history – they have lost 43 off 88 matches.
Conditions and Pitch Report
A trademark flat track at the Wankhede is a batting paradise in hot and humid Mumbai. Batting first is generally a preferred option – in the two World Cup matches this year, the victor was the team that batted first.
Although, the last time these two teams met at this stadium in the World Cup, India won it on the chase.
Having said that, there is still plenty available for the spin bowlers, and a skilful pacer could still find some movement especially with the new ball. Anything loose though, could be punished in this venue with short boundaries.
India: Rohit Sharma, the India captain, would know this ground well. It is the home base for the Mumbai Indians Indian Premier League team he captains. And he will return to the stadium with plenty of runs in the bag.
Apart from the duck against Australia, the 36-year-old skipper has played himself into form, scoring 87 in the previous match against England. He is currently the highest scoring Indian at the World Cup with 398 runs in six matches, and is fourth in the overall leaderboard.
A strong Indian batting lineup features Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli and KL Rahul – all well-capable of scoring big.
With the ball, there is Mohammed Shami who has picked up nine wickets in two matches. Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj – the latter tormented Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup final – could also make a big impact.
Sri Lanka: The visitors will hope Sadeera Samarawickrama and Pathum Nissanka – their top two scorers – will be able to perform for them with the bat. Meanwhile, left-arm pacer Dilshan Madushanka, their highest wicket taker so far, with 13 wickets, could provide an early challenge.
They also have veteran all-rounder, former captain Angelo Matthews in the mix, who has the experience to turn games for his team.
Head to head
Last five meetings
September 17, 2023 – India won by 10 wickets
September 12, 2023 – India won by 41 runs
January 15, 2023 – India won by 317 runs
January 12, 2023 – India won by 4 wickets
January 10, 2023 – India won by 67 runs
Overall in World Cup
Sri Lanka 4
No result - 1