Sri Lanka vs West Indies: 2023 CWC Qualifier Super Six Match 9 Preview and Prediction
The extravagant caravan of the ICC World Cup Qualifiers is nearing its final segment as three out of the remaining six teams’ contention for the qualification ticket has already ceased.
A nine-match action of the Super Six round will be consummated with a clash of two former world champions which unfortunately will have no impact on the qualification race. The table-toppers Sri Lanka will be summoned by the two-time world champions West Indies in Match No. 9 at Harare Sports Club of the Zimbabwean capital city this Friday.
As the forthcoming fixture is going to be a dead rubber for the Lankan Lions, coach Chris Silverwood may consider changes in his playing lineup in order to keep his key knights fresh for the final battle. Sri Lanka’s lead pace duo of Dushmantha Chameera and Matheesha Pathirana are expected to be rested. It will open the gates of the Lankan first eleven for the likes of Lahiru Kumara and Kasun Rajitha who are warming the bench.
Meanwhile, Men in Maroon are likely to retain the same lineup and take the WC Qualifiers battlefield with this combination for one last time. The only change in this Windies lineup is Roston Chase replacing Kevin Sinclair after being left out for the Scotland fixture. It will be a like-to-like change as the 23-year-old off-spinner remained wicketless in his only appearance of this tournament.
What have they done so far?
After topping the Group B saga with an undefeated record, the Lankan Lions went on to sustain their invincible run in the further stages and are yet to suffer a loss in this competition.
Sri Lanka’s Super Six campaign commenced with a hard-fought triumph over the vigilant Netherlands where they eventually emerged victorious by 21 runs after getting dismissed on the first-inning total of 213 runs. The Asian heavyweights haven’t looked back since then and went on to register a thumping nine-wicket win against the hosts, Zimbabwe in the very next game.
On the other hand, Windies’ Super Six journey has been completely different from their Asian counterparts as they have already been eliminated from the competition after losing the first two crucial fixtures.
Skipper Shai Hope and the boys kick-started their qualification hunt with two consecutive wins but a 35-run defeat at the hands of Zimbabwe broke their momentum into pieces. Both of their wins came against the nations who failed to survive the group round hence they could not carry a single win to the Super Six table.
Head to Head record
These two cricketing heavyweights are considered among the deadliest white-ball sides in world cricket and are clashing against each other ever since the inaugural edition of the World Cup. There have been 64 one-day encounters between them till now and the head-to-head record slightly stands in the favour of the Men in Maroon by 31-30. Meanwhile, the Caribbean side has showcased dominance when it comes to face-offs that occurred on neutral venues after winning 20 out of 32 battles.
However, they have not squared off against each other in the 50-over format for more than two years as their most recent meeting happened back in March 2021. It was a three-match bilateral ODI saga on Caribbean soil where the home team registered a convincing clean-sweep triumph. Interestingly, the Men in Maroon batted second in all three fixtures of the series and successfully chased the respective targets on each and every occasion.
However, the Lankan Lions ended up on the winning side during the most recent World Cup chapter of this rivalry in 2019. While batting first, Sri Lanka posted a humongous total of 338 runs on the board courtesy of Avishka Fernando’s heroics of 104 runs and a quickfire fifty from Kusal Perera. The explosive middle-order batter Nicholas Pooran kept the Caribbean hopes alive until the death overs but still couldn’t save themselves from a losing fate.
Wanindu Hasaranga: The Lankan spin-wizard is running riots at the WC Qualifiers event and is seated right at the top of the wicket-taking charts with 20 wickets. Hasaranga is expected to earn the highest wicket-taker honour after having a six-wicket lead over the second-placed Richard Ngarava (14 wickets).
No other bowler has managed to more than one five-wicket haul in this tournament while the 25-year-old leg-spinner has achieved the same feat thrice in just six appearances.
Nicholas Pooran: The 27-year-old Trinidadian batter who is currently the third-highest run-getter of this tournament has put on diligent efforts to save the Windies.
He has scored a tally of 317 runs in just five innings at an astonishing average of 79.25 including an incredible 104-run stand against Netherlands in just 65 balls. However, Pooran has not been able to click against SL and has only one 50+ innings from the last five encounters under his helm.
Sri Lanka: Pathum Nissanka, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Mendis (wk), Sadeera Samarawickrama, Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dasun Shanaka ©, Wanindu Hasaranga, Maheesh Theekshana, Dilshan Madushanka, Kasun Rajitha
West Indies: Brandon King, Johnson Charles, Shamarh Brooks, Shai Hope © (wk), Nicholas Pooran, Kyle Mayers, Roston Chase, Kevin Sinclair, Romario Shepherd, Akeal Hosein, Keemo Paul
There is no second doubt that Sri Lanka is considered the favourites to win this contest and head toward the final with an invincible record. However, the Lankan Lions are going to play their first game at Harare in this campaign as the Caribbeans will be having an edge in playing all of their matches at this venue.
It will be a golden opportunity for the table-toppers to get acquainted with the Harare pitch as the final fixture is also going to be played at the Zimbabwean capital city.