South Africa vs Sri Lanka: Preview and Prediction
The South African cricket team will be kick-starting its campaign in the 2023 edition of the ICC Cricket World Cup with a fixture against the Sri Lankan side. The two teams are all set to battle against each other in the fourth match of the marquee event on Saturday at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi.
The Proteas have not shown good-quality cricket in the past few years and thus the expectations are low this year as well. Adding to the misery, the team lacks good all-rounders while their bowling unit has also taken a hit because of injuries to Anrich Nortje and Sisanda Magala. However, the good part is that they are coming into the event after defeating Australia in the five-match ODI series by 3-2.
The celebrated victory must have given a lot of confidence to the team and they will be hoping to bank on the same. Meanwhile, Sri Lanka also showed good signs recently as they reached the Asia Cup 2023 final.
However, in the big clash, the team dished out one of its worst performances and handed a very easy to the Indian cricket team. Just like South Africa, Sri Lanka is also facing an injury scar as the pace sensation Dushmantha Chameera and spin wizard Wanindu Hasaranga will be missing the games. Notably, they also showed good form in the Qualifiers and recorded a one-sided victory to reach the World Cup.
What has happened so far?
Before the commencement of the main games, both South Africa and Sri Lanka featured in two warm-up games to get accustomed to the Indian pitches and the playing conditions. The island nation failed to make an impact in the warm-up games as they lost the first match against Bangladesh by seven wickets after failing to defend 263 runs in 50 overs.
The second warm-up match against Afghanistan was no different for Sri Lanka as they could not defend 294 runs and the opposition won by six wickets due to the DLS method. As far as the South African cricket team is concerned, their first match against Afghanistan was washed out due to poor weather conditions.
In their second game, they suffered a loss at the hands of the New Zealand team. The Blackcaps smacked 321 runs in 50 overs while the Proteas were restricted to 211 runs in a rain-marred match as the Kiwis won by 7 runs courtesy of the D/L Method.
Head to Head Record
South Africa and Sri Lanka have not enjoyed an equal amount of success while playing against each other in the 50-over format. The two teams have crossed swords with each other a total of 80 times in the One Day Internationals.
The Proteas have the upper hand as they have scored a win in 45 matches while the island nation has emerged victorious in 33 games. One game between Sri Lanka and South Africa ended without any result because of harsh playing conditions while one fixture ended in a tie.
Aiden Markram (South Africa): The 29-year-old Aiden Markram took home the Player of the Series award last month as his team South Africa scored a thrilling win over the Australian cricket team in the five-match ODI series by 3-2. He was the second-highest run-scorer for his team after Heinrich Klaasen with 225 runs in five matches at an average of over 56.
Markram’s best performance came during the final ODI, where he smacked 93 runs off 87 balls with the help of nine boundaries and three maximums. The veteran is expected to continue his fine run in the World Cup as well and help South Africa win crucial games.
Kusal Mendis (Sri Lanka): The Sri Lankan cricket team will have their hopes pinned on the wicketkeeper-batter Kusal Mendis to take them to the finish line in their first match of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 against South Africa on Saturday.
He was the top run-scorer for Sri Lanka and second in the overall list in the 2023 edition of the Asia Cup. Playing a total of six matches, Mendis scored 270 runs at a stunning average of 45.
Mendis also has a good international record to his name in limited-overs cricket with 3215 and 1270 runs in 112 One Day Internationals and 55 T20 Internationals, respectively. The 28-year-old also has two hundred and 25 fifties under his belt.
South Africa: Temba Bavuma ©, Quinton de Kock (wk), Rassie van der Dussen, Aiden Markram, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller, Marco Jansen, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lungi Ngidi
Sri Lanka: Kusal Perera, Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis (wk), Sadeera Samarawickrama, Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dasun Shanaka ©, Dunith Wellalage, Maheesh Theekshana, Dilshan Madushanka, Matheesha Pathirana.
Going into the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023, both South Africa and Sri Lanka have been plagued by injuries. The two sides will be missing key players and thus their team combinations have gone for a toss just before the marquee event.
While Sri Lanka’s Wanindu Hasaranga and Dushmantha Chameera have sustained major injuries, South Africa is also likely to miss the services of Andile Phehlukwayo and Lizaad Williams.
Despite the setbacks, South Africa has greater chances of winning on Saturday as they are coming into the tournament following a 3-2 win against Australia in the five-match ODI series. They will be hoping to continue the momentum against Sri Lanka, who are coming after facing a defeat against India in the final of the Asia Cup 2023.