Sri Lanka v India – only T20 International Preview

Tomorrow’s T20 International at the R Premadasa Stadium in Khettarma, Colombo represents last orders at the last chance saloon for Sri Lanka.

Having lost their home Test series against India 3-0, and followed it up with a 5-0 drubbing in the ODI series that followed, the Lions are staring down the barrel of an unprecedented home cross-series whitewash by their northerly neighbours.

India will be string favourites such is the form they are in, and such is the malaise that Sri Lankan cricket finds itself in. Riddled by injury, suspension, and resignations of captains and selectors alike, this has not been a few weeks to remember for the islanders, and they must be looking forward to this portion of their season ending.

The only glimmer of hope is that they have had marginally more success in the shortest format of the game, having beaten admittedly weakened Australian and South African sides in recent times.

India by contrast are rampant, racking up all manner of records in the Tests and ODIs that preceded this game. If they do make it a 9-0 series clean-sweep, they will match a record set by Australia when they beat Pakistan by a similar margin across all three formats in 2010.

History between the sides in this format doesn’t bode well for Sri Lanka either – of the ten games played, India lead 6-4, whilst their hosts have never beaten India at home.

So plenty to play for – a record and a clean-sweep in the sights for the visitors, while the Lions will be out to save their pride.

From an individual player persepective, its no surprise that India’s two superstars will be the ones to keep watch of:

Virat Kohli (India)

India’s supreme leader and inspirational batsman plays his 50th T20 International in Colombo.

He currently sits in fifth place in the all-time T20I run-makers list with 1748 runs to his name. 32 runs will see him leapfrog Afghanistan’s Mohammad Shahzad into fourth place, while a score of 59 will see him move one notch higher to third, past New Zealand opener Martin Guptill.

MS Dhoni (India)

Fresh from breaking Kumar Sangakkara’s world ODI stumping record with his 100th such dismissal in the last ODI (also his 300th game in that format), former captain Dhoni has more dismissal and appearance records in his sights.

This will be MS’s 78th T20 International game, moving him up into joint fifth place all-time, alongside Pakistan opener Mohammad Hafeez.

In this format, Dhoni has racked up 66 dismissals – 43 catches and 23 stumpings. Four more will see him move to 70, and enough for a share of the world record with South African megastar AB de Villiers.

West Indies v India – July 2017 T20I preview

Fresh from India wrapping up the ODI series 3-1 against their hosts the West Indies,  the focus now shifts to the shortest form of the game.  The tour concludes with a one-off T20 International on Sunday 9th July at Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica.

For the hosts, it is a chance to show their T20 muscle, being the reigning world champions in the format, and comes on the back of a 3-0 series win against an up-and-coming Afghanistan team the last time they played in this format in June.

The last time India played a 20-over series was in January/February this year when they edged England 2-1.

So both sides are in good form in the format and will be looking to finish off the tour in style.

From a personal player point of view, there is plenty to focus on:

Chris Gayle (West Indies)

The pre-match news has been dominated by the surprise inclusion of self-styled Universe Boss and T20 specialist Christopher Henry Gayle in the West Indies squad. This is the first time Gayle will have appeared for the Windies since the famous night in Kolkata in April 2016 when the Caribbean superstars stunned England in the World T20 final.

It will also be the first time he has played a T20I at his home ground in Jamaica.

Gayle currently has 1,519 T20I runs, placing him in 13th spot in the world overall. He is also one of only two players (alongside the now-retired New Zealander Brendon McCullum) to have scored two 20-over international centuries.

If he can turn up the heat with a century in this game it will take him past Mohammad Hafeez into 10th place in the all-time runs scorers list (and past Eoin Morgan and AB de Villiers in 11th and 12th along the way) as well as giving him the outright world record for T20 International centuries.

Samuel Badree (West Indies)

Spinner Badree brought up 50 wickets in T20 internationals during the recent Afghanistan series, and now sits in second place in the Windies all-time T20 wicket-takers list. Three more wickets in this game will see him overtake Dwayne Bravo’s 52 and move into top spot.

Sunil Narine (West Indies)

Fellow slow-bowler Narine has 48 shortest-form international wickets, so will be looking for two more to bring up his half-century.

Virat Kohli (India)

India’s captain-superstar has scored 1,709 runs in this format of the game for his country, a total which sees him in fifth place worldwide.

71 more runs will see him move past the suspended Afghani Mohammad Shahzad into fourth, and 98 will see him edge past New Zealand’s Martin Guptill into third.

MS Dhoni (India)

India’s veteran but evergreen keeper Dhoni currently has 65 dismissals to his name in T20 Internationals, comprised of 42 catches and 23 stumpings.

It’s a long shot, but five more dismissals in the on-off game will give him a share of the world record with South African superstar AB de Villiers, who has 70.

 

 

West Indies v Afghanistan – June 2017 bilateral T20I series

The West Indies host Afghanistan for a three game bilateral T20I series, starting on 2nd June, with all three games to be played at the Warner Park ground in Basseterre, the capital of St Kitts and Nevis.

With the Champions Trophy under way in the UK, the series will fall well below the radar for many outside of the Caribbean or Afghanistan, but it is no less important to the two competing teams.

The Windies are the reigning World T20I champions, and smarting from their failure to qualify for the big show going on in England and Wales, will be very keen to demonstrate their dominance in the shortest form of the game.

Leading Associate nation Afghanistan on the other hand will relish a rare bilateral series against a full ICC member, and although they will start as underdogs, have shown they are no mugs competing at the top level, and won their only warm up game against a strong West Indies Cricket Board XI earlier in the week.

Keep an eye on the following:

Afghanistan

Mohammed Nabi

With current leading appearance maker, keeper-batsman Mohammad Shahzad, out of the squad for this series, all-rounder Nabi has a chance to move joint equal with Shahzad at the top of the appearance table for his country – having made 55 T20I starts compared to his compatriot’s 58.

Ashgar Stanikzai and Samiullah Shenwari

Shahzad is currently the only Afghanistan batsman to score 1000 T20I runs for his country. Captain Stanikzai and all-rounder Shenwari stand an outside chance of joining him with 842 and 841 runs to their name respectively.

Shahzad is also the only Afghani to make a T20I century, so if any of his teammates can clock one up in this series, they’ll move joint top of a very short list!

West Indies

Marlon Samuels

With top scorer and walking T20 God (in his own eyes at least) Chris Gayle not in the squad for this series, Samuels has an outside chance of overhauling him at the top of the Windies all-time T20I scoring list. Gayle currently has 1519 runs in the shortest format, so Marlon would need a whopping 243 to topple him, but stranger things have happened.

Lendl Simmons

Simmons needs 131 runs to reach 1000 international runs in the T20I format.

Samuel Badree

The Twenty20 specialist spinner currently has 47 wickets in the format, and sits in second place in the all-time T20 wicket-takers list for his country. He needs three more scalps to reach 50, and a further three to overtake Dwayne Bravo (52) as the Windies’ top bowler.

Sunil Narine

Not far behind Badree though is Narine, with 44 wickets in his column – enough for joint third place with Darren Sammy. He’ll be looking to take third place outright and put pressure on Badree and Bravo above him.

Evin Lewis

The young Trinidadian is one of only two West Indians to score a T20I century. The aforementioned Gayle is the other, and he has two. If Lewis can notch up a century not only will he draw level with the “Universe Boss”, but he’ll become only the third batsman worldwide to score two in the short format.