India To Brush Aside Sri Lanka At The Oval

India made an imperious start to their defence of their ICC Champions Trophy crown, defeating their great rivals Pakistan at Edgbaston.

Virat Kohli’s men capitalised on poor fielding from the Green Shirts to put 300 on the board, with the skipper starting his tournament with an unbeaten knock of 81.

Rohit Sharma led the way with the bat with 91 at the top of the order, although he lacked the fluency he usually displays with a strike rate only in the mid-70s.

Yuvraj Singh and Shikhar Dhawan notched fifties in good, while a late cameo from Hardik Pandya smashing three late sixes guided India to a total of 319.

The challenge always seemed too great for Pakistan, despite a fine knock of 50 from Azhar Ali at the top of the innings – with Sarfraz Ahmed’s men chasing a lower total due to rain.

Umesh Yadav ripped through the Pakistan batting line-up, claiming three wickets, while there was two apiece for Ravindra Jadeja and Pandya.

The Green Shirts could only muster 164 runs before they were dismissed, allowing India to secure a comfortable win by 124 runs by the D/L method.

India now face the task of defeating Sri Lanka to advance to the last four, with the Lions staring down the prospect of elimination following their hammering at the hands of South Africa in their opener.

Without the presence of Angelo Mathews due to injury, Upul Tharanga led the side, who were left chasing 300 due to a century from Hashim Amla.

Niroshan Dickwella got the reply off to a brisk start along with the captain, but once the duo departed, Sri Lanka were dismissed for 203, suffering a 96-run defeat.

India’s Top Batsman

Dhawan will aim to fire again

Sharma top scored for India in the first game, although he was bailed out by two drops over the course of his innings. He will have felt that he should have gone on to make a century, only to fall nine runs short of the milestone.

The 30-year-old has scratched around for form of late, having endured an underwhelming time with the Mumbai Indians in the IPL. The time at the crease will have done wonders for his confidence and he should be able to kick on against the Lions in the next contest, although he will want to score at a faster rate than his performance at Edgbaston.

Kohli made a statement in his first innings in the tournament as he carved apart the Pakistan attack with ease to find the boundary with regularity. The 28-year-old will once again be his side’s driving force as they seek to secure a place in the semi-finals due to his fluency at the crease.

Dhawan was also operating at a high level as he took the initiative in the opening partnership. He top scored in the tournament last time around on English soil and appears to have the technique and the temperament to thrive in the conditions.

The top three will be again be crucial for India to set the tempo at the start of the innings. With all of those players seemingly in good form they can set a solid platform for a surge late in the order, with Singh and Pandya able to lead an assault in the dying overs.

Dhawan is the man in the best position to lead the way – therefore backing him at odds of +350   with PaddyPower.

Sri Lanka’s Top Batsman

Dickwella has been the surprise package for the Lions at the top of the innings, and he will need to shine once again for his side due to the suspension attained by Tharanga for a slow over rate against South Africa.

The 23-year-old took the attack to the Proteas in the opening match of the tournament and for a while had AB de Villiers’s men under pressure. He scored 41 off just 32 balls before he was dismissed by Morne Morkel, which stymied his side’s charge for the total.

His form will be crucial against India as Kohli’s side boast a formidable batting unit, capable of racking up huge scores over their 50 overs. As a result, the Lions will need a strong impetus at the top of their innings to get them off to a blistering start to put the pressure on their opponents.

Angelo Mathews should be fit to return to the line-up and his presence should provide reassurance in the middle order. Sri Lanka received few contributions from their core of their batting unit in their defeat to South Africa, but the skipper will add experience and power to the team.

Whether he will be able to hit the ground running against a decent India attack is another matter – therefore backing Dickwell to lead the way at odds of +400   with Bet365 is the bet to take.

Top Bowler

Jadeja can rip through Sri Lanka

Bhuvneshwar Kumar was quiet in the opening match against Pakistan, taking just one wicket in his five-over spell. The 27-year-old came into the tournament after winning the Purple Hat in the IPL and has form on his side ahead of his trip to The Oval.

He’s a bowler that should suit English conditions and with the opportunity to strike at the top of the innings against an inexperienced line-up he could well rack up the wickets.

Jadeja took two wickets against Pakistan and has rounded into one of the finest all-rounders in the game, with his left-arm spin proving to be potent in the middle overs.

The pitch at The Oval should favour his style of bowling, with large boundaries and a dusty track to aid turn on the wicket. Therefore backing the 28-year-old to lead the wicket column with 32Red at +750   is the option to take.

Winner

India made a statement in their first match of the tournament and expect that to continue at The Oval as Kohli’s men have too much firepower in their batting and bowling units to overwhelm.

Sri Lanka’s lack of experience in their batting line-up could cost them, especially without the presence of Tharanga, who notched a half-century in his side’s defeat to South Africa.

Backing India at odds of -350   with BetVictor is the best value, with the Blues expected to have little issue advancing to the semi-finals of the competition.

Tips Summary

India To Beat Sri Lanka ICC Champions Trophy Group B
Thursday 8th June 10:30am BST
Odds: -350

Shikhar Dhawan To Be India’s Top Batsman
Thursday 8th June 10:30am BST
Odds: +350

Norshan Dickwella To Be Sri Lanka’s Top Batsman
Thursday 8th June 10:30am BST
Odds: +400

Ravindra JadejaTo Be Top Bowler
Thursday 8th June 10:30am BST
Odds: +750

Angelo Mathews
ICC Champions trophy
india
sri lanka
Virat Kohli

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