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Cricket news - India's chance to find answers as semis beckon

India will hope to find solutions with regards to their combinations and form in the Sri Lanka fixture

It is on the back of their minds, admitted Dinesh Karthik, about the semifinal. The World Cup has reached that stage where thoughts, and with that the nerves, increase for players as they cast their minds on the possibilities ahead.

But until the last league game, the day-night fixture between Australia and South Africa, is done and dusted, three teams will be unsure of where they're going the next day. That's just how the league stage has shaped up. And a big reason for it to pan out this way is Sri Lanka, India's opponents on Saturday. Their win against England opened up the group stages, preventing a number of dead rubbers along the way.

India go into the semifinal with a few issues yet to be sorted with regards to combination and form. Two spinners or three pacers? Is the lower order a little thin on batting? Is MS Dhoni's pace of scoring a worry or not? Who's best to help him in the finishing stages of a game? Those are, possibly, a few of them for which they would try to find a few answers against Sri Lanka.

But Dimuth Karunaratne's men - who've already overachieved by securing a higher position on the points table than West Indies and South Africa - are now looking at the last fixture - against India - as a chance to take a real stab at the fifth or the sixth spot.

"We take a couple of videos, and Rohit, not only Rohit, Virat and all the top six batsmen, and we have a plan for everyone," says Karunaratne. They enter the game with a big morale boost having clinched a thriller against Windies. They've had some youngsters, the likes of Avishka Fernando, pull through on a few occasions while on others there has been a Malinga or a Mathews to bail them out of tough situations. Having started the tournament as one of the weakest teams on paper, their results have surprised and their journey so far has been quite eventful. It's exactly the sort of banana peel that India would have to be wary of, heading into the final stages.

When: 6th July, 2019 at 10:30 AM Local Time

Where: Headingley Cricket Ground, Leeds

What to expect: There is a possibility of some rain around during the game but the weather has stayed good in the days leading up to it. The pitch will be the same one used for the game between West Indies and Afghanistan and is bound to be on the slower side.

Team News


Will they revert back to their previous plan of having two wrist spinners? Kuldeep had been replaced by an extra seamer at Edgbaston with an eye on the shorter boundary there. Was the move merely a stop-gap or is that a sign of a shift in India's thinking?

Probable XI: Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant, MS Dhoni, Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar/Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah

Sri Lanka

After a successful outing against Windies, Sri Lanka may well try and continue a winning combination.

Probable XI: Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Perera, Avishka Fernando, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Lahiru Thirimanne, Isuru Udana, Dhananjaya de Silva, Jeffrey Vandersay, Kasun Rajitha, Lasith Malinga

What they said

I think that's a big game for us. For all the four teams that qualify, it's going to be a massive game. So that's in the back of the mind. But having said that, I think we're professional enough to go out there against Sri Lanka and play a very clinical game - Dinesh Karthik on the semifinal

We know they are really dangerous. Once they get set, they're going for the big ones. So we have some plans, we're trying to restrict them from those plans. And if we can execute really well, definitely we can get him [the batsman] out and early - Dimuth Karunaratne on India's batting strength.

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