India will look to take a decisive step towards qualfying for the semifinals of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 when they face off against Sri Lanka at The Oval in London on Thursday.
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With bat and ball, their first match of CT 2017 was perfect for India.
They piled on the runs, with Rohit Sharma getting some much-needed time in the middle after returning to international cricket after a long layoff.
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The man who stole the show right at the end of the India batting innings was Hardik Pandya, who struck three sixes in a row.
With a big total to defend, India could have taken it easy with the ball, but they kept that ruthless button pressed all the way down. The pacers – Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah and Pandya – were impressive, while Ravindra Jadeja bowled pretty well to shut any hopes of a successful Pakistan chase.
The only point of concern for India from that win over Pakistan was the fielding. Catches were dropped, boundaries were given away and simple mistakes were made – that cannot keep happening, so getting the controllable fielding in order will be what India target on Thursday.
Sri Lanka had a tough time of it with the bat against South Africa. After doing reasonably well with the ball, there was an opportunity there for the Lankans to make an early Champions Trophy statement.
And for a little while, when Niroshan Dickwella took a liking to South Africa's bowling, it looked like that might be possible. However, once Dickwella fell, Sri Lanka's batting crumbled, giving South Africa an eventually comprehensive 96-run win.
The return of Angelo Mathews will help Sri Lanka's batting, but they will need more than a Mathews wonder knock to beat India. The top order needs to deliver, with the key then being how Sri Lanka handle the middle overs.
Against Pakistan, India bowled really well during that phase, but Sri Lanka will need to find a way to put the pressure back on the bowling attack in that important series of overs. If they manage to do that, and get a strong performance with the ball, led by Lasith Malinga, we could have a proper contest on our hands at The Oval.
Where to watch live
India vs Sri Lanka is scheduled for a 10.30am BST, 3pm IST start. Live streaming and TV information is below.
India: TV: Star Sports 1, Star Sports 1HD (in English, Hindi, Tamil). Live Streaming: Hotstar.
Sri Lanka: TV: Star Sports.
Singapore: TV: Star Cricket.
South Africa: TV: SuperSport 2. Live Streaming: SuperSport Live Video.
Middle East: TV: OSN Sports Cricket. Live Streaming: OSN Play.
USA: TV: Willow TV. Live Streaming: Willow TV Live Online.
New Zealand: TV: Sky Sport 1. Live Streaming: Sky Go NZ.
Australia: TV: Fox Sports. Live Streaming: Foxtel.