Daijiworld Media Network
Port of Spain, Trinidad, Jul 7: Hello and welcome everyone. We have a very important game coming up. West Indies seek a win to seal a spot in the final. They have been jolted by the one match ban on Dwayne Bravo. However if they lose then the tournament will be wide open going into the last league game. The toss could play a key role in the outcome of this game. That and the team updates coming up shortly. Stay tuned.
Pitch report: The wicket is dry and hard. It will have more bounce and it will be good for the bowlers reckons Jeff Dujon.
West Indies have won the toss and elected to field
Mathews: 'I would have bowled first as well. I've not had a good time at the toss. We got a couple changes. We have Jeevan Mendis and Shaminda Eranga in. Kushal Perera and Herath are out.'
Pollard: 'We are going to bowl first. We have three fast bowlers and Sammy playing today. The weather is on and off here. That plays a factor in the decision making too. The confidence is still high. Every game is important. Our captain is missing out today. Devon Smith comes in, Narine misses out and Holder comes in. Ramdin is out and Johnson Charles will keep wickets.'
West Indies (Playing XI): Chris Gayle, Johnson Charles(w), Devon Smith, Marlon Samuels, Darren Bravo, Lendl Simmons, Kieron Pollard(c), Darren Sammy, Jason Holder, Kemar Roach, Tino Best
Sri Lanka (Playing XI): Mahela Jayawardene, Upul Tharanga, Kumar Sangakkara(w), Dinesh Chandimal, Angelo Mathews(c), Lahiru Thirimanne, Jeevan Mendis, Nuwan Kulasekara, Sachithra Senanayake, Lasith Malinga, Shaminda Eranga
West Indies would clash with Sri Lanka in a crucial 5th match of the Tri-Nation Series in Port of Spain in Trinidad on Sunday. The hosts would be assured of a place in the final with a win while a similar result for Sri Lanka would greatly enhance their chances of making it to the final.
The home team have received a big blow prior to the start of the big encounter. Captain Dwayne Bravo has been suspended from the match. In a decision handed down by the International Cricket Council match referee, Jeff Crowe and released on Saturday, it was explained that the all-rounder faces the sanction due to his team's second minor over-rate offence in a 12-month period.
The West Indies were determined to be one over short of the required over-rate during the fourth match of the series against India on Friday. It follows on a similar infraction less than a month earlier during the final group match of the Champions Trophy against South Africa at Cardiff on June 14. Bravo pleaded guilty to the offence and as the West Indies team did not contest the charge, there was no need for a formal hearing on the matter.
Coming hard on the heels of a 102-run loss to the Indians in that rain-affected fixture, Bravo's suspension represents a further setback to a home side that is now in danger of losing momentum completely after they concluded the first half of the tournament with two wins from two matches at Sabina Park in Jamaica.
While they remain at the top of the standings with nine points, another heavy defeat to the Sri Lankans followed by an Indian victory over Angelo Mathews' side in the final preliminary match on Tuesday could, depending on the net run-rate calculations, see the West Indies squeezed out of the July 11 final.
This will be the second occasion that Bravo has missed action in the brief competition as he was ruled out of the first encounter against the Indians in Kingston with a mild groin strain. Kieron Pollard, who led the hosts to a one-wicket victory in his compatriot's absence, is now expected to be at the helm once again with Devon Smith the automatic replacement for Bravo in the batting line-up. While the loss of Bravo may not be perceived to be a significant bowling setback, given that he conceded 57 runs off just seven overs as India raced to 311 for seven on Friday, head coach Ottis Gibson is now faced with an additional challenge in sorting out his bowling options, most of whom wilted under the pressure from Kohli and company.
The hosts would rely heavily on the opening pair of Chris Gayle and Johnson Charles to provide them with a platform which would give the likes of Marlon Samuels and Kieron Pollard coming down the order the freedom to press on the accelerator. The bowling will have to get its act together. Kemar Roach and Co. will have to put in a better performance than what they could muster against India. Sunil Narine who had a bad day at the office against India, would have to start afresh against the Sri Lankans.
Sri Lanka will be brimming with confidence after they annihilated India by 161 runs in the last match played at Sabina Park before the tournament shifted to Trinidad and will be keen to capitalise on a West Indies team that was thoroughly outplayed by Virat Kohli's men on Friday.
They are expected to field an unchanged eleven in pursuit of a victory that will pull them level with the Caribbean side at the top of the standings. The new opening pair of Mahela Jayawardene and Upul Tharanga has looked in great touch. The middle order will bank upon the experience of Kumar Sangakkara. The bowling has variety with Lasith Malinga and Nuwan Kulasekara leading the pace attack and Rangana Herath spearheading the spin brigade.