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ICC Champions Trophy Betting: India v Sri Lanka

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India remain the only unbeaten team in the tournament and Matt Harris expects MS Dhoni's men to book their place in the final with victory over Sri Lanka on Thursday...

"Unusually for India, the fielding has been quite stunning at times. It really is hard to find fault with Dhoni’s men as they prepare for this second semi-final."


India v Sri Lanka
Thursday June 20, 10.30 BST
Live on Sky Sports 1

India

After posting 331 against South Africa on the opening day of this tournament, India have always looked the team most likely to lift the trophy and three wins from three in the group stages backs up that theory.

Shikhar Dhawan takes all the media attention as the competition's leading run scorer and while Sri Lanka will have been studying footage and trying to work out any weakness in the left hander's game, there is enough talent in this batting line to cope, even if the opener fails.

Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Ravi Jadeja have all been in form with the bat and one of the crucial differences between these two sides is the fact that there are enough players waiting to take responsibility even if the in-form run scorers fall cheaply.

Bowling has been tight and penetrative and unusually for India, the fielding has been quite stunning at times. It really is hard to find fault with Dhoni's men as they prepare for this second semi-final.


Sri Lanka

In contrast with their opponents, Sri Lanka rely too heavily on three key batsmen - veterans Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene and Tillakaratne Dilshan and fortunately the trio have been productive enough to carry their side through to the semis. 

Elsewhere, there is considerable talent in this Sri Lankan top order but the performances of Kusal Perera have underlined the issues facing this side. A dashing left handed opener who has scored heavily in domestic cricket, Perera has shown flair and a flashing blade but has lasted just fifteen balls in three combined innings during this tournament.

There has been additional support at times but India will feel that they only have to dismiss the 'big three' cheaply and they'll be through to the final and it's hard to argue with that theory.


Venue and Conditions

Rain throughout the tournament has defied any attempts to identify a par first innings score but India's opening day total of 331 on this Sophia Gardens track is probably a fair reflection of this surface.

England and South Africa also made significant totals while batting first in rain restricted games so if the match is uninterrupted then a par first innings target should approach the 300 mark. That's a big if however as the forecast is diabolical with the prospect of rain throughout the day making the toss absolutely vital.


Match Odds

India are favourites at [1.65] and that looks a fair price when you consider those three straight wins in the Group Phase. Dhoni's men are my pick here because they can recover even if Shikhar Dhawan fails to trouble the scorers and strength in depth is key.

Sri Lanka have three men who are capable of turning the game with the bat while Lasith Malinga remains the key bowler but ultimately I expect India to continue this perfect run.


Top India Batsman

Shikhar Dhawan will be an obvious choice for many at [3.45] and it's hard to identify any real weaknesses in his play. He has, however, been fortunate at times with early swipes that hit nothing but fresh air but he maintains that important quality of being able to hit the straight ball when it matters.

However, one man who has been subdued in this tournament as a result of Dhawan's form is MS Dhoni but the skipper might be required a little earlier on Thursday and would be my pick here at a generous [8.6].


Top Sri Lanka Batsman

Kumar Sangakkara has shown the best form on any Sri Lankan batsman despite being dismissed cheaply against Australia and the left hander is favourite at [3.9].

Picking between Sangakkara, Dilshan and Jayawardene can usually be a lottery in this market but Kumar's individual battle with Dhawan as leading run scorer could inspire a big score and the favourite is my choice here.


Recommended Bet

Back India to win at [1.65].


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