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Lots at stake for Sunday opponents

With Dwayne Bravo serving one-match ban, Kieron Pollard likely to lead West Indies in crunch game against Sri Lanka

Lots at stake for Sunday opponents - Cricket News
Keiron Pollard and Darren Bravo will be expected to strengthen the West Indies middle order in the absence of Dwayne Bravo.
With India winning it's game against West Indies on Friday (July 5), the tri-nation tournament has finally come alive and is now brimming with possibilities. West Indies, who looked certain to make the final prior to the last match, now has a realistic chance – though small – of being knocked out. As a result, the fifth match of the tournament – West Indies v Sri Lanka on Sunday – assumes great significance for both teams.
Sri Lanka comes into the game with a lot of confidence gained from the way it outclassed India last Tuesday. Upul Tharanga found good form with a blistering 174 not out and Mahela Jayawardene scored yet another One-Day International century on that occasion. The Sri Lankan bowlers then had a rather easy time as India was beaten by 161 runs.
West Indies, meanwhile, will be without Dwayne Bravo, who has been suspended for the match because of his side’s slow over-rate in the match against India. Kieron Pollard is expected to take over the skipper’s role, like he did in Jamaica against India when Bravo missed out because of a mild groin strain. Devon Smith will come back to the side in Bravo’s absence.
The problem West Indies has faced for a while now is the lack of productivity from the middle order, which usually comprises Darren and Dwayne Bravo, Marlon Samuels and Pollard. Denesh Ramdin hasn’t contributed with the bat much either, even though he is a veteran of more than 100 ODIs. And the late-order heroics of Darren Sammy, Kemar Roach and others have further highlighted the poor run of the men just above them. In fact, the two wins West Indies has registered in the tournament so far have primarily been due to one of the openers batting deep into the innings: Chris Gayle against Sri Lanka and Johnson Charles against India.
Which means that Sri Lanka will be looking to remove the West Indian openers as early as possible and not let the underperforming middle order get out of jail. And the Sri Lankans will back themselves to pull it off because though they ran into a rampaging Gayle at Sabina Park, they did send mild jitters through the opposition’s ranks by taking a few quick wickets while defending a small total.
Angelo Mathews has made a fine impression with bat and ball even as he learns the ropes of international captaincy. He opened the bowling against India and did not provide India’s young batsmen easy scoring opportunities, and with the bat, he scored a quick 40 to add to India’s travails.
The West Indies bowling has been quite consistent throughout the tournament except for the last ten overs against India at Queen’s Park Oval on Friday, when Virat Kohli plundered 101 runs. Sunil Narine bowled only five of his overs due an injury to his right middle finger in that match and in a spot of good news for the West Indians, it was announced that Narine should be ready to play on Sunday.
Sammy was given the new ball against India in a smart move by the team management as both Roach and Tino Best are aggressive opening bowlers and, in search of early wickets, often go for plenty. The combination of a steady bowler and an attacking one is expected to continue on a pitch that has the promise of a lot of runs.
Match tickets have been sold out days in advance and a big crowd is expected on a Sunday. The weather forecast is for a sunny day with a brief shower or two. Which adds up to the promise of a good game, with a lot riding on the result.
West Indies (likely): Chris Gayle, Johnson Charles, Darren Bravo, Marlon Samuels, Devon Smith, Kieron Pollard (capt), Denesh Ramdin (wk), Darren Sammy, Sunil Narine, Kemar Roach, Tino Best.
Sri Lanka (likely): Upul Tharanga, Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Lahiru Thirimanne, Angelo Mathews (capt), Dinesh Chandimal, Jeevan Mendis, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Kulasekara, Rangana Herath, Sachithra Senanayake.

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