Jun 3, 11 months ago

#CT17 Sri Lanka v South Africa preview

http://sportsinfo.lk/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Lasith_Malinga_picked_up_two_wickets_on_his_return_in_Sri_Lankan_colours.jpg#CT17 Sri Lanka v South Africa preview

The head-to-head numbers show that South Africa and Sri Lanka have fought neck-and-neck over the years but recent history has been quite different. South Africa has clearly had the better of its opponent, prevailing the last seven times the teams have clashed. Sri Lanka’s last victory over South Africa in a One-Day International came in 2014 at home, which too was in a series that South Africa won. In fact, the last time the two sides met, South Africa romped to a 5-0 series whitewash earlier this year.

Sri Lanka has struggled of late, and not just against South Africa. Since the start of 2016, Sri Lanka has played 27 ODIs, winning seven and losing 15. Apart from the series sweep by South Africa, Sri Lanka played out a tied series at home against Bangladesh, and its most disappointing performance came when it lost to Scotland in a practice match leading up to the ICC Champions Trophy 2017. Sri Lanka also lost both its warm-up games, to Australia and New Zealand.

It doesn’t help they are likely to be without Angelo Mathews, the captain, who is nursing a calf injury.

South Africa has no such problems with form, as its world ranking of No. 1 suggests, despite the 2-1 series defeat against England just prior to the ICC Champions Trophy 2017. The question is whether South Africa can translate that form into a global tournament title.18699993_10155254076074351_9127547800300193025_n

Since the start of 2016, Sri Lanka has played 27 ODIs, winning seven and losing 15. Since the start of 2016, Sri Lanka has played 27 ODIs, winning seven and losing 15.

Alex Hales summed up everything one needs to know about the conditions at The Oval after a match-winning 95 against Bangladesh on Thursday, saying: “On a ground like this where there’s traditionally a very flat wicket and quick outfield, the games we’ve played in the past we’ve been looking at 340-350 as a par score.”

Bangladesh posted 305 for 6 in that game, but the general consensus among both teams was that it was 30 runs short, and England chased it down with ease. The pitch is largely flat with even bounce, making it a batsman’s paradise, even though England sent the Tigers in to bat after winning the toss.

Prior to the tournament opener, there were three scores in excess of 300 in the three warm-up matches. Teams, particularly the ones from the subcontinent, should, however, be wary of the rapidly-changing overhead conditions that could have a huge say; a good pace attack could exploit the cloud cover as India did when they bowled New Zealand and Bangladesh out for 189 and 84 respectively in the warm-up clashes.

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