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After Sri Lanka lost their first match against South Africa in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017, former Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara called their next clash against India do-or-die.
Sangakkara wrote in a column for ICC that the absence of Upul Tharanga will hurt Sri Lanka and if Angelo Mathews is deemed unavailable, it will dent their chances of a win against defending champions India.
“Even if Angelo is considered fit, the threat of slow over-rate will be a major concern. Having Tharanga suspended is a huge waste. With quite an experienced and senior bowling attacked led by Lasith Malinga, a team constituting two spinners, it is unacceptable that Sri Lanka was over by 39 minutes,” wrote Sangakkara.
The 39-year-old praised the efforts of Nuwan Pradeep as well as the other fast bowlers during the opening game against South Africa. He however added, “The bowlers’ inability to strike in the first 10 overs in terms of wickets will be a concern when faced with such a strong batting line-up like India. There might be a strong case where it opts to bring in all-rounder Thissera Perera, who along with all-rounder Seekuge Prasanna, will give them more variety and more options.”
He said that India will be favourites in the match, after ‘flawless display against Pakistan.’ “From an India perspective, the fact that Rohit Sharma and Shikar Dhawan managed to form a strong opening partnership once again was very encouraging for the defending champions given the strength of their batting combination has been vital in their past tournament successes,” he said.
Adding that Sri Lanka will have to rethink their strategy, he hoped that they come out at The Oval to play with arrogrance and a really positive brand of cricket.