ICC Champions Trophy 2017, South Africa vs Sri Lanka: 5 players to watch out for
South Africa start their first ever ICC Trophy hunt for the umpteenth time against Sri Lanka at The Oval on Friday. Having lost 2-1 to England in the ODI series preceding the tournament, the Proteas walk in with a settled batting line-up and question marks hanging over their bowling combinations.
They also have to sort out the all-rounders’ puzzle with four of them lined up to be selected. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, are likely to go in without Angelo Matthews, who made an impact in the warm-up game against the Australians this week. Upul Tharanga, who is expected to lead in his absence, has regained some lost touch and will be a critical member in the Lankan line-up.
The Oval saw a run fest in the tournament opener between England and Bangladesh and if the rain stays away, it promises to be another high scoring game. South Africa boast of four batsmen in the top 10 of the ICC ODI rankings and also have Kagiso Rabada and Imran Tahir at 1 and 2 in ICC's ODI bowlers’ list.
Here we take a glance at five players who could be game-changers in the clash on June 3rd.
#5 Asela Gunaratne
All-rounder, Asela Gunaratne, will be a vital component of the Sri Lankan line-up, especially with Angelo Matthews all but ruled out of the clash tomorrow. A fine finisher and middle-over batsman, Gunaratne has excelled for Sri Lanka in the past few months in the shorter formats.
He played a fighting innings against South Africa in the fifth match of the ODI series, a valiant 114* in a losing cause – till date his only hundred in ODIs. While the result of the match was sealed long back, Sri Lanka got to witness the potential of Gunaratne, who has since then become a regular fixture in the Lankan limited-overs sides.
Record against South Africa
Matches - 5, Runs - 182, HS - 114*, Avg - 45.50