It will be a match with varied objectives when Sri Lanka take on South Africa in Match 35 of the ICC Cricket World Cup at Chester-le-Street, Durham. Sri Lanka need to win this match to stay alive in the tournament while South Africa will look to 'play for their pride'.
South Africa have had a tournament to forget with them only being able to register one win against Afghanistan. In the last match against Pakistan, South Africa were below-par in all departments and went on to lose by 49 runs. It is also a telling fact that no South African has scored a hundred so far in the World Cup.
On the other hand, Sri Lanka, who were expected to struggle, have done far better than those expectations. Their best match/moment of the tournament came against England as they produced one of the most unexpected results of the tournament. Skipper Dimuth Karunaratne has managed his troops very well and helped them play to their full potential. Also, their fast bowling attack has impressed one and all with their variations and clever planning.
Now, Sri Lanka are in a position where if they can win their remaining games, there will be a good chance to qualify for the semi-finals. This will give a lot of hope to the side and they will want to continue their winning run against South Africa.
So, let's have a look at Sri Lanka's predicted playing 11.
Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Perera
Sri Lanka's openers, Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Perera have been the team's two most reliable and confident batsmen. This is also backed up by the fact that they have scored the most runs for Sri Lanka in this World Cup. Their rapid start against Australia gave a lot of hope for an upset but the middle order couldn't capitalise on the platform.
Avishka Fernando, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews
Avishka Fernando played such a cracking knock against England that everyone started to wonder how this talented batsman hadn't played before this. Fernando played Jofra Archer's pace effortlessly and looked set for a big score. However, he fell in a soft fashion and that will be an area the youngster will look to improve upon.
Meanwhile, Kusal Mendis hasn't been able to fulfil his potential so far and that has hurt Sri Lanka's middle order. He played a decent knock to stabilise Sri Lanka's inning against England. The island nation will hope that is the start of good times to come.
The experienced Angelo Mathews acts as the glue in Sri Lanka's middle-order. In the last match, Mathews' laboured 85 off 115 balls drew a lot of criticism initially but in the end, it proved to be a match-winning knock on a slow track.
Jeevan Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva, Thisara Perera, Isuru Udana,
Sri Lanka have the luxury of a good bunch of all-rounders. The 38-year Jeevan Mendis looks set to keep his place despite not having a great game against England. On the other hand while de Silva is more of a batsman, he has developed his off-spin bowling to the extent that Sri Lanka now use him as their primary tweaker. Perera and Udana fill in the dual role of finishers and seam bowling.
Lasith Malinga, Suranga Lakmal
Lasith Malinga's best years may be past him but as they say 'Class is permanent'. Malinga showed his class against England as his trademark yorkers and slower deliveries were used to pick up 4 important wickets.
Partnering him with the new ball would be Suranga Lakmal who looks set to return to the playing 11 after Nuwan Pradeep was laid low with fever ahead of the match.
Dimuth Karunaratne- Sri Lanka handed over the reins to skipper Dimuth Karunaratne at the very last moment but now it looks like the best decision that they have taken for a while. Prior to the World Cup, Sri Lanka were considered rank outsiders and it has taken a lot of effort for Karunaratne to bring the best out of his players.
They still only have a chance of progressing to the semi-finals but this is already been a positive tournament for the Lankans. Also, the question marks over whether his batting would be suitable for modern ODI cricket seems to have toned down due to his promising performances in the World Cup. This has been a remarkable turnaround for someone who had not played in this format after the 2015 World Cup.
Lasith Malinga- Be it the IPL final or the games against Afghanistan and England in this World Cup, Sri Lanka's most-celebrated player, Lasith Malinga has stood up and taken his fans on a flashback journey. He is not swinging the ball at 145 kph anymore but his skills are still as young as ever.
Predicted Playing 11
Dimuth Karunaratne (C), Kusal Perera (WK), Avishka Fernando, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Jeevan Mendis, Dhananjay de Silva, Thisara Perera, Isuru Udana, Lasith Malinga, Suranga Lakmal
Also see – India vs England head to head statsPublished 28 Jun 2019, 01:34 IST