South Africa never would have guessed that they would be coming into a T20 international match humiliated after an ODI series loss against Sri Lanka. Twenty20 cricket has always been South Africa’s weakness (other than choking in every other knock-out match). Now South Africa have to push for a series win, to make their trip down home more satisfying.
Sri Lanka are looking to take their winning momentum to the shorter version of the game, when they take a bruised South African side. Sri Lanka, who have already been the top-ranked side in the format since last year, have arrived at a short-form formula few teams have successfully mastered. With a strong all-round side, South Africa are hoping that their new additions flown in – Wayne Parnell, Imran Tahir, Henry Davids and David Wiese – would be the trick in order to take the tourists back to their winning ways.
Nuwan Kulasekara missed the five-match one-day series due to a dislocated finger he suffered during the tri-series in West Indies last month. Kulasekara, Lasith Malinga and Mahela Jayawardene are recalled back into the Sri Lankan powerhouse squad.
Captain Faf du Plessis says that the squad is ‘dejected’ after their 4-1 loss in the one-day series but will need ‘to move on’ and ‘focus all their energies into the next game’.
“We were outplayed by Sri Lanka in the ODIs so we are going to have to dig deep that is going to be important. We have a lot of pride in our team; we don’t want to go down in this series. We want to compete and win it.”
Sri Lanka have won four from their last five T20 international matches whilst the tourists have won two in their last five. If Sri Lanka defeat South Africa, they will have the best win-loss ratio in Twenty20 International cricket, which is currently occupied by the Pakistan cricket team.
Sri Lanka are the current No 1 ranked Twenty 20 team. South Africa are the 6th ranked Twenty20 team.
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The first Twenty20 match will take place in Colombo on Friday, with the second and third on Sunday and Tuesday in Hambantota.