South Africa vs Sri Lanka T20 series 2017: 5 players to watch out for

de Silva has had an excellent start to his Test career

Sri Lanka are coming off the back of a poor Test series and they would be hoping to make amends in the shortest format of the game which starts on Friday. The Lankans have been one of the better T20 teams in world cricket, although the recent retirements of their senior players have made them vulnerable.

One relief for the Matthews-led side would be that South Africa have opted to rest their senior players and have drafted several youngsters.

In fact, only four of the 15 that were in the side for the T20I World Cup in India have made it into the South African team for this series. The selectors have focussed on youth and have rewarded players who have impressed in the CSA T20 Challenge. They have also handed the captaincy to Farhaan Behardien, who had a stellar season for the Titans franchise.

Sri Lanka, meanwhile, have a pretty settled T20 unit, albeit a young one, and will be hoping to win over a second-string South African side. However, the conditions are still against them and they would need to bat much better than in the Tests to survive. South Africa have some talented bowlers in their line-up and have experience in the form of Imran Tahir, one of the best T20 bowlers.

Here is a look at 5 players to watch out for in the Sri Lanka - South Africa T20 series.

#5 Dhananjaya de Silva

Dhananjaya de Silva has played just 4 T20 matches for Sri Lanka but his Test career has been a fruitful one thus far, and the all-rounder possesses every skill to excel at the world stage in the shorter formats.

His domestic T20 records are good and he boasts of an average of 34.4, pretty good by T20 standards. He also has seven half-centuries with a highest score of 81*. He already has a T20 half-century which he scored in his last T20I against Australia, where he made 62.

de Silva will also be expected to chip in with a few overs of off-spin. Although he is yet to get an international T20 scalp, he has a fairly good record as a bowler at first-class level. In the absence of Kusal Perera, he would most likely bat at 3, if not open.

#4 Andile Phehlukwayo

Andile Phehlukwayo
The all-rounder is a handy batsman and a good bowler

The tall South African all-rounder has already made his ODI debut and excelled in the series whitewash of Australia, where he was the leading wicket-taker. He is a strong bowler with more than decent batting ability and is widely regarded as a good finisher.

His performances in the CSA T20 Challenge have been promising, especially his use of slower balls and yorkers at the fag end of an innings. He has also shown great temperament with the bat, making 42* alongside David Miller in sealing a 371 run chase in the ODIs against Australia.

With the Proteas opting to rest the likes of Rabada and Morkel, Phehlukwayo will be expected to shoulder much of the bowling burdens in his debut T20 series. He has shown that he has it in him to excel but it remains to be seen how he tackles the extra burden.

#3 Jon-Jon Smuts

Smuts is a good batsman and a wily spinner

The leading run scorer in the 2016/17 domestic T20 competition, Smuts is an aggressive opening batsman and a more than handy spinner. Smuts has been a revelation for the Warriors with his hitting and smart orthodox spin.

He scored 371 runs in the T20 competition at an average of 41.22 including a hundred and a fifty. He also scored a ton in the Africa T20 Cup and finished as the second highest run-scorer. Smuts was the key figure in Warriors' run to the finals.

There is no doubting his potential and with the kind of form behind him, he should take the Lankan T20 series like a duck to water. His all-round ability will add much value to a South African team that does not have Duminy.

#2 Angelo Matthews

Angelo Matthews
The Sri Lankan captain will lead a young side against the Proteas

The Sri Lankan captain is coming off the back of a humiliating Test series whitewash. He does not have veterans in the T20 side and will be marshalling a young troop eager to perform.

Matthews will be playing his first T20 since the England series in July last year and the rustiness with the big shots will be a cause for concern. That said, he is an experienced campaigner and has a pretty decent record in this form of the game.

What would give him relief after a tiring Test series is that the Proteas have a second string line-up. This would help him in thrusting more responsibility to the younger guns of the side. His bowling will also be under scrutiny in a format he has usually excelled in with the ball.

#1 Farhaan Behardien

Behardien will captain the side in the absence of senior players

Many were surprised when the South Africans opted for Farhaan Behardien to skipper the T20 side in the absence of senior players. But those who follow the domestic cricket in South Africa know that he is an underrated cricketer.

The Titans cricketer has revelled in the finisher role this season in the CSA T20 Challenge, finishing as the third highest run scorer despite coming down the order. He hit 352 runs at an astounding strike rate of 188.23.

More than the mere strike rate, it is the manner in which Fudge, as he is fondly called, finished off chases that proved he could handle any pressure cooker situations. His opportunities have come way far down the order for the Proteas and he would be looking to bat at 5 or 6 this time around.

Quick Links

Edited by Staff Editor
Be the first one to comment