On Wednesday (3rd March) night, West Indies and Sri Lanka will face each other in the first game of the three-match T20I series at Coolidge Cricket Ground (Antigua).
It will be their first meeting in international cricket since March 2020. While India will host the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 in the late of this calendar year, both teams will take this T20I series very seriously, including the only two-time champions West Indies who will also have to defend their title in the forthcoming T20 World Cup.
West Indies vs Sri Lanka 2021, 1st T20I: Match Preview
The strong West Indies team is ready to play their first T20I match in this calendar year. While they won the two-match T20I series against the hosts Sri Lanka by the 2-0 margin in March 2020, West Indies played a three-match T20I series against the hosts New Zealand last November where they suffered the 2-0 series defeat.
Captain Kieron Pollard is ready to make a fresh start in this T20I series. Chris Gayle has returned to the Caribbean team after more than two years while Dwayne Bravo has returned to the T20I side after missing out on their last tour in New Zealand. Also, the 39-year-old fast bowler Fidel Edwards has earned the surprise call-up, who last time played an international match in November 2012.
While bowling is their little weak point in their present T20I squad, West Indies have enough powerful batsmen to dominate in this series.
Kieron Pollard (C), Nicholas Pooran (vc), Fabien Allen, Dwayne Bravo, Fidel Edwards, Andre Fletcher, Chris Gayle, Jason Holder, Akeal Hosein, Evin Lewis, Obed McCoy, Rovman Powell, Lendl Simmons, Kevin Sinclair.
Recent T20I forms (Older to Newer): Lost, Lost and No Result
Sri Lanka will play their first T20I match since March 2020 when they suffered the 2-0 home T20I series defeat against the Caribbean side. This series can bring out a proper image of this team who will fight in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021. While they didn’t win any T20I match in the last year, they are currently running winless journeys in the last eight T20Is (7 defeats and 1 no result).
While Dasun Shanaka has been named as the captain of this T20I side, there is still chaos on the Sri Lankan side due to the absence of Shanaka in the squad, who is struggling with the visa issues. Experienced all-rounder Angelo Mathews has been chosen as the stand-in captain of this T20I side until Shanaka lands in the Caribbean.
Apart from Mathews, the visitors also have other experienced players like Suranga Lakmal, Thisara Perera, Dinesh Chandimal, Niroshan Dickwella etc.
Angelo Mathews (stand-in captain in case of absence Dasun Shanaka), Dasun Shanaka (C), Dimuth Karunaratne, Danushka Gunathilake, Pathum Nissanka, Ashen Bandara, Oshada Fernando, Dinesh Chandimal, Niroshan Dickwella, Thisara Perera, Kamindu Mendis, Wanindu Hasaranga, Ramesh Mendis, Nuwan Pradeep, Asitha Fernando, Dushmantha Chameera, Akila Dananajaya, Lakshan Sandakan, Dilshan Madushanka, Suranga Lakmal.
Recent T20I forms (Older to Newer): Yet to be played since COVID-19 pandemic
West Indies vs Sri Lanka 2021, 1st T20I: Match Prediction
West Indies are currently running with a four-match winning streak against Sri Lanka in T20I cricket. Also, the hosts’ Caribbean side are strong enough in T20I cricket.
So, West Indies are favourite for this T20I series opener.