West Indies vs Sri Lanka - First T20
Wednesday 3rd March, 2021 / 6:00pm EST
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The West Indies and Sri Lanka face off on Wednesday February 3rd, 2021 in the first match of their three match T20 series. The match will be held at the Coolidge Ground in Antigua at approximately 6:00pm EST. The two teams last played a year ago with the West Indies winning on that occasion. Who will win and get off to a fast start in the series?
Sri Lanka is currently ranked #7 in the world T20 rankings, three spots ahead of the hosts. However, in addition to the fact that they have not played a T20 International in over a year, their preparation for this tour could have not gone any worse. Lahiru Kumara contracted COVID-19 shortly before the team left for the tour and was ruled out, and captain Dashun Shanaka is very likely to miss the entire series due to a delay in obtaining a US Transit Visa. These will be huge blows for the team who already had limited preparation in the West Indies due to quarantine regulations. They will be led by veteran Angelo Matthews and will be relying on top batsman Thisara Perera and pace bowler Nuwan Prandeep to get the job done.
The West Indies are ranked #10 in this format but are a formidable side, with many of their players having lots of experience in leagues like the IPL. They have strengthened their ranks with the recalls of veterans Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo and Fidel Edwards and have put together an exciting blend of youth and experience within their squad. Let by big-hitting batsman Kieron Pollard, they will be extremely confident of victory at home. Star batsmen Nicholas Pooran and Lendl Simmons are in outstanding batting form coming out of Trinidad's Caribbean Super50 victory and they will be at the forefront of the Windies' hopes here. There are numerous match-winners within this side and they are the big favorites leading into this opening match.
While Sri Lanka has a squad capable of making this competitive I am going to side with the West Indies to win this one. Most of their top players are in outstanding form and that coupled with Sri Lanka's struggles should be more than enough to ensure a home victory in this match. Expect Sri Lanka to make the series competitive but they won't be victorious here.