India will be looking to bounce back and seal the series when they take on Sri Lanka in the third and final T20I in Rajkot on Saturday.
The hosts lost the last match by 16 runs, despite a valiant batting effort by Suryakumar Yadav, Axar Patel and Shivam Mavi. That loss brought the series level on 1-1. India had previously registered a narrow two-run win in the first T20I in Mumbai.
In both matches so far, the performance of the top-order and the pacers have emerged as a cause of concern. The top three are yet to deliver in this series and will be looking to step up big time in this match.
Sri Lanka, on the other hand, delivered an excellent batting performance in the last game and were superb with their bowling as well. They killed the game when they reduced India to 57/5 after setting a target of 208 to chase. They will now be eager to deliver another superb performance in Rajkot to seal the series in their favour.
Probable Playing XIs
Ishan Kishan (wk), Shubman Gill, Suryakumar Yadav, Rahul Tripathi, Hardik Pandya (c), Deepak Hooda, Axar Patel, Shivam Mavi, Umran Malik, Arshdeep Singh, Yuzvendra Chahal
Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis (wk), Dhananjaya de Silva, Charith Asalanka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dasun Shanaka (c), Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Maheesh Theekshana, Kasun Rajitha, Dilshan Madushanka
Axar Patel: The all-rounder has already shown how crucial he is to the balance of the Indian side. In the two matches so far, Patel has picked up two wickets at an economy of less than eight runs per over and has also scored 96 runs, including a terrific knock of 65 in the second T20I in Pune.
Dasun Shanaka: The Sri Lankan skipper has played crucial knocks in both T20Is so far. He scored 45 from 27 deliveries in the first T20I and then went on to smash an unbeaten 56 off just 22 deliveries in the second match of the series. Since 2022, Shanaka has amassed 258 T20I runs against India, at an average of 129 and a strike-rate of 198.46.
Sri Lanka won the last match but India showed the batting quality they have all the way down to number eight. Arshdeep Singh also had a rare bad day, but he can come back stronger in this match. With home advantage in their favour and a stronger batting unit at their disposal, India are the favourites to win this final T20I match.