The India vs Sri Lanka 2nd T20 in Ranchi can only go one way from the hosts' point of view. If India fail to win this match, a series victory, the final one at home before the World T20, will be over, and that is not going to help matters as MS Dhoni's men look to lift an ICC world title for the second time in five years in front of their own fans.
Having crumbled on a greener-than-the-ones-in-England wicket in Pune, the onus will be firmly on the India batsmen to set things right. Coming into this Sri Lanka series following an emphatic win over Australia, much was expected from the batsmen in blue, but it was the bowlers in a darker shade of blue who took control.
The India batsmen need to understand the importance of playing according to the situation, and not letting that natural aggression of theirs take over all the time. After Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane got out in the first over to Kasun Rajitha, the onus was on Shikhar Dhawan and Suresh Raina to play intelligent, as-risk-free-as-possible cricket. Instead, Dhawan succumbed to a poor shot, before Raina, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni and the rest of the batsmen were found out by some good bowling/bad batting.
No matter how bad the pitch was, though, the ease with which the India batsmen crumbled was worrying, and Dhoni will hope the next time the middle order is put under pressure, they handle it much better. The captain, however, will also hope the middle order is not tested too much – the last 5-7 overs for a tonk is fine -- in Ranchi, considering this is a must-win game for India.
With the pitch at the JSCA International Stadium expected to be on the slower side, India should feel much more at home, even if concerns remain over the outfield and the possibility of an injury cropping up as a result.
Sri Lanka will want to play pressure-free cricket again, with the visitors, even after that convincing five-wicket win on Tuesday, still the second favourites going into this 2nd T20. Rajitha, Dasun Shanaka and Dushmantha Chameera were all impressive in Pune, but they will find it harder going in Ranchi, where the ball won't move or bounce as much.
However, if the Lankans put up a spirited performance again, with their bowlers putting the pressure on the India batsmen right from the off, another upset victory might very well be on the cards.
India, even after the opening loss, still hold the aces, but the key will be Rohit and Dhawan getting off to a solid start, irrespective of whether the home team are batting first or chasing. If one of Rohit and Dhawan make a big score, India should win this game and level the series.
Where to Watch Live
The 2nd T20 between India and Sri Lanka is set to begin at 7.30 pm IST and SLST (2 pm GMT, 9 am ET). Star Sports 1, Star Sports HD1, Star Sports 3 and Star Sports HD3 will broadcast the India vs Sri Lanka T20 match live in India. The Star Sports network will also provide live coverage in the entire Indian subcontinent, including Sri Lanka. Starsports.com and Hotstar are the websites to go to to watch the match by live streaming online.
Sky Sports 1 will show the match live in the UK, while the live stream options are on Sky Go and Watch Sky Sports. The India vs Sri Lanka T20 game will be shown live in the US and Canada aon Willow TV and Willow TV Online.
Australia viewers can watch the match live on Fox Sports 1, while the live stream option is on Foxtel.
OSN Sports Cricket HD will provide live TV coverage of the India vs Sri Lanka 2nd T20 match in the Middle East and North Africa, while the action can also be live streamed on OSN Play. SuperSport is the place to be to watch India vs Sri Lanka live in South Africa and Sub Saharan Africa, while the online live streaming option is on SuperSport Live Video.