It was Sri Lanka which made the world cup enjoyable when they beat England in their last game. That win not only created an opportunity for them but also for Pakistan and Bangladesh for the semi-final spot. If Sri Lanka wins there all three remaining games, they will qualify for the semis, if not then they must win at least 2 games from here on.
For the first time in the World Cup history, South Africa will be playing for completing the formalities. But for the pride, they will go all guns blazing and would be hoping to win their remaining contests in the tournament.
South Africa has a real concern with their batting, Amla the most experienced player has not fired at all. The others have not done well too, de Kock may have scored runs, but at a languid pace, Faf had a good start but didn’t convert into big ones. When your top 3 doesn’t perform well, you are bound to fail as a team. The bowlers too didn’t have a good tournament, but with injuries and all they had an excuse for their below-par performance.
Sri Lanka has to play for everything. Their remaining games are against West Indies and India. As per the form and record, it would be difficult for them to beat India, so they better win against South Africa and West Indies. They have a decent bowling unit that can uproot the out of form South African batting line up. However, they need to bat well; the batting has disappointed them on so many occasion in the competition already. So they must click together and put up a decent score for their bowlers to defend.
Players to watch out for
The one player on which South Africa relied heavily to give them a flying start, de Kock, has scored runs at the top but with a low strike rate. He needs to up the tempo for which he is known for; scoring runs at 120 or above strike rate. A good start may give confidence to the middle order batsman and can make a good total.
Malinga will be again the main firepower for Sri Lanka. The way he won the match for Sri Lanka, against the host nation, will be remembered for years. He can still turn the game into the team’s favor with his deadly slow yorkers. If he performs today, Sri Lanka’s task to win the match will become quite easy.
South Africa v Sri Lanka in ODIs:
Overall: Matches 76, South Africa Won 43, Sri Lanka Won 31, Tied 1 No Result 1
World Cup: Matches 5, South Africa Won 3, Sri Lanka Won 1, Tied 1
Recent Form (most recent first): South Africa L L W NR L, Sri Lanka W L NR NR W
ICC Rankings: South Africa (5), Sri Lanka (8)
Quinton de Kock has scored 4,840 runs and needs 160 more to reach the 5,000 runs milestone.
South Africa: Faf du Plessis (capt), Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock (wk), JP Duminy, Beuran Hendricks, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Chris Morris, Lungi Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Imran Tahir, Rassie van der Dussen.
Sri Lanka: Dimuth Karunaratne (capt), Avishka Fernando, Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathews, Jeevan Mendis, Kusal Mendis (wk), Kusal Perera (wk), Thisara Perera, Nuwan Pradeep, Dhananjaya de Silva, Milinda Siriwardana, Lahiru Thirimanne, Isuru Udana, Jeffrey Vandersay.