Sri Lanka will lock horns with South Africa in the first One-day International at Dambulla on Sunday (July 29). The hosts had won the Test series convincingly by 2-0. Therefore, they would like to carry forward their confidence in the limited-overs series.
However, the Island Nation has touched new lows in the white-ball version in the recent past. But they would be determined to get past their demons.
Furthermore, they are currently placed at the eight rank in the ICC’s ODI Rankings. Therefore, they would look to climb up the tree before the ODI World Cup Carnival begins in England and Wales, next year.
Sri Lanka will like to deliver a better performance:
On the other hand, South Africa will look to bounce back after facing a severe beating in the Test series. The Proteas had no answers whatsoever to Sri Lankan spinners.
However, the 50-over format will bring a lot more freedom to the table. Ergo, the visitors will hope that change in format brings a change in the fortunes.
Meanwhile, the Proteas had lost their last ODI series by 5-1 against India in their own home conditions.
Consequently, they will like to have their bases covered before the 2019 World Cup. There is no doubt that it will be a difficult job for them to fill in the big shoes of AB de Villiers.
Sri Lanka is also in the same boat as their nemesis. Their bowling line-up has been their Achilles Heel in the coloured jerseys. Thus, their bowlers will like to pull up their socks. Meanwhile, Angelo Mathews has been reinstated as Sri Lankan skipper.
Mathews has had his issues with a spate of injuries. Thus, it is pivotal for the hosts to have their skipper at the top of his game – fit and firing.
Furthermore, if Mathews can chip with some overs in the middle stage, then it will add depth to the Lankan line-up.
Meanwhile, the form of Hashim Amla will be a concern for the tourists. The veteran batsman has underfired with the bat in the recent past.
However, the rise of Heinrich Klassen in the series against India was a positive for the Proteas. Furthermore, players like Jean-Paul Duminy and David Miller will provide solidarity to the middle order.
In fact, the last time these two teams had met in the bilateral ODI series, South Africa had clean sweep the Lankans by 5-0 in their own conditions. Furthermore, the win in the warm-up match would have helped raise some dropping shoulders in the South African camp.
Venue: Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium, Dambulla.
Date and Time: 29 July 2018, 9:45 AM IST.
Pitch Conditions: The pitch in Dambulla is generally a friendly surface to the batsmen. Furthermore, teams have achieved better success when they have gone on to chase a target.
Weather Conditions: A morning shower is expected. However, it will not be a major threat to the match. The temperature will stay around 26-degree Celsius.
Sri Lanka’s Predicted XI: Kusal Perera, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Upul Tharanga, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews (c), Dasun Shanaka, Thisara Perera, Akila Dananjaya, Suranga Lakmal, Lakshan Sandakan, and Kasun Rajitha.
South Africa’s Predicted XI: Quinton de Kock (wk), Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis (c), Aiden Markram, JP Duminy, David Miller, Willem Mulder, Keshav Maharaj, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, and Tabraiz Shamsi.
Results of Last five matches:
Sri Lanka: WWWLL
South Africa: LLWLL.
Stats: South Africa have been dominant against Sri Lanka. In fact, the Proteas have won the last nine out of the ten bilateral series against Sri Lanka.
South African talisman batsman Hasim Amla has a fine record while playing in the Island nation. Amla averages a stunning 70.60 while playing in Sri Lanka.