Sri Lanka & Scotland aim to continue winning streak: 2023 CWC Qualifier Day 8 Preview and Prediction

Sri Lanka has won both of their first two matches comfortably

The 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier is entering its business end, as teams are making a last-ditch attempt with all their might to make it to cricket’s grandest stage. On Sunday, four of the five Group B teams will be in action.

At the Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo, Sri Lanka will be up against Ireland. Having won both of their first two matches, beating UAE and Oman very easily, the Lankans are occupying first place in their group and they will be eager to make it a hat-trick of wins. On the other hand, Ireland lost against both Oman and Scotland, and this will be a must-win game for them.

At the Bulawayo Athletic Club, Oman will be facing Scotland. Oman has won two of their first three matches, defeating Ireland and UAE, which sees them occupying third place in the standings. Scotland has had a better campaign so far, as they are the only Group B team yet to lose a game besides Sri Lanka, getting wins against Ireland and UAE in their first two matches.

Match 1: Ireland vs Sri Lanka

Wanindu Hasaranga is in excellent form for Sri Lanka

In the first match of the day, a struggling Ireland team will take on the high-flying Sri Lanka. Ireland has had a disastrous start to their campaign and has won both of their first two matches, though they nearly clinched victories on both occasions.

In the first match, where they were up against Oman, Andrew Balbirnie’s team did well to score 281 runs, with George Dockrell scoring 91. However, their bowlers could not turn up as Oman chased the total down with 19 deliveries to spare.

The second match was all about heartbreak for the Irishmen. Batting first against Scotland, they once again did well to score 286 runs as Curtis Campher scored a century. At one stage, it seemed that the fate of the game was already sealed when Scotland’s score was 152/7, but horrendous death bowling and excellent batting from Michael Leask sealed the deal for his side.

As for Sri Lanka, they have been the most impressive team so far in the qualifiers stage. Against UAE in their first match, Dasun Shanaka’s team scored 355 runs as Kusal Mendis and Sadeera Samarawickrama scored half-centuries. With the ball, a Wanindu Hasaranga six-wicket haul helped them bowl out UAE for only 180 runs.

Hasaranga was superb yet again in the second match against Oman, where he scalped five wickets by conceding only 13 runs. Thanks to his spell, Oman was bowled out for only 98 runs, which Lankan openers Pathum Nissanka and Dimuth Karunaratne chased down in only 15 overs.

Ireland Predicted XI: Andy McBrine, Paul Stirling, Andrew Balbirnie ©, Harry Tector, Lorcan Tucker (wk), Curtis Campher, George Dockrell, Gareth Delany, Mark Adair, Joshua Little, Benjamin White.

Sri Lanka Predicted XI: Pathum Nissanka, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Mendis (wk), Sadeera Samarawickrama, Charith Asalanka, Dasun Shanaka ©, Dhananjaya de Silva, Wanindu Hasaranga, Maheesh Theekshana, Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kumara.

The head-to-head records between these two teams are completely inclined in favour of Sri Lanka. The teams have met four times in ODI cricket previously, with the Lankans winning all of those games. The last meeting was back in 2016, where Sri Lanka clinched a 136-run win in Ireland’s backyard.

Match 2: Oman vs Scotland

In the second game of the day, Scotland will be taking on Oman. The latter has had a decent start to their journey, except that the last match might have taken a massive toll on their confidence and plans.

In their first match against Ireland, three half-centuries from Kashyap Prajapati, Aqib Ilyas and Zeeshan Maqsood helped them chase a big target of 282 runs. In their second match, where they faced UAE, Oman first restricted their opponents to a low score of 227 runs before chasing it down in 46 overs. Once again, they had three half-centurions: Ilyas, Shoaib Khan and Mohammad Nadeem.

But having said all of that, the last game against Sri Lanka came down as a massive reality check. Oman was bowled out for 98 runs, with only three batters managing to get into double-figures. In response, Sri Lanka chased the total down in 15 overs without the loss of any wickets.

On the other hand, Scotland has not put a foot wrong in this tournament so far. Chasing a target of 287 runs in their first match, they once found themselves in a dangerous spot with seven batters sent back to the dressing room, but Leask’s heroic knock of unbeaten 91 got them over the line.

Scotland are unbeaten so far in the tournament

In their second match against UAE, Richie Berrington’s team batted first and scored 282 runs, with the captain himself scoring a century. In response, UAE could only score 171 runs as Safyaan Sharif picked up four wickets.

Oman Predicted XI: Kashyap Prajapati, Jatinder Singh, Aqib Ilyas, Shoaib Khan, Zeeshan Maqsood ©, Mohammad Nadeem, Ayaan Khan, Naseem Khushi (wk), Bilal Khan, Jay Odedra, Fayyaz Butt.

Scotland Predicted XI: Christopher McBride, Matthew Cross (wk), Brandon McMullen, Jack Jarvis, Richie Berrington ©, Tomas Mackintosh, Michael Leask, Chris Greaves, Mark Watt, Safyaan Sharif, Chris Sole.

Like their current form, Scotland holds the edge on head-to-head records as well. These two teams have met six times in ODI cricket previously, with Scotland winning four of those matches as compared to Oman’s one win. The other fixture did not produce a winner, while in the last meeting, which was in April 2022, Scotland secured a two-wicket win.