India vs. Sri Lanka: Champions Trophy Semifinal Date, Start Time and Preview
Few teams were more dominant in the group stage than India, which won all three of its contests and did so in fine form. Sri Lanka didn't find the group stage to be such a breeze, losing to New Zealand before surviving tough contests against England and Australia.
Now these two teams will meet in the second semifinal of the ICC Champions Trophy, with hosts England facing South Africa in the other.
So which team will come out on top? Which players should you be watching closely? What important stats should you keep in mind heading into this exciting semifinal?
Let's break it down.
When: Thursday, June 20 at 5:30 a.m. ET
Where: Sophia Gardens, Cardiff, England
What They're Saying
When these two teams meet, expect to see plenty of runs scored. Per Shiva Jayaraman of ESPN Cricinfo, these two teams were the top batting sides of the group stage:
India were the best batting side, by far. They scored 643 runs in their three games at an average of 58.45 per wicket. They scored their runs at a brisk pace too—at 5.9 runs an over. The next best side, in terms of the batting average, was Sri Lanka, at 31.14 runs per wicket.
India Players to Watch: Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma
This pair of India players have been deadly thus far in the tournament. As Jayaraman wrote, "Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma was the only opening pair to put on a hundred-run partnership—twice in three games. They scored 286 runs at an average of 95.3 runs."
Dhawan was the star of the show against both Pakistan and the West Indies, and he has been the batsman of the tournament thus far. Meanwhile, Sharma hasn't been as dominant, but has remained a productive and dangerous player throughout.
If India is to advance past Sri Lanka, it will be in part because this duo has a big day.
Sri Lanka Player to Watch: Mahela Jayawardene
As he's done for his country in the past, Mahela Jayawardene came through when his team needed him in the clutch against Australia. In an age when power is beginning to take over the game, Jayawardene remains a bit of a throw back and a true technical wizard.
While Kumar Sangakkara was clearly the hero against England, you just get the impression that, if Sri Lanka finds itself in a pinch, it is Jayawardene who can revive them. That was the case against Australia in the final group game, and it may very well be the case against India as well.
Which team wins?
It's hard to bet against India in this contest. They came into this tournament with some question marks but also as much talent as any other squad in the world and they haven't disappointed, not losing a single contest in the group stage.
Sri Lanka will give them a contest, but I expect India to advance to the final.
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