Date: October 30, 2021
Time: 3:30 PM IST
Venue: Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Sharjah
South Africa and Sri Lanka will go head to head on Saturday at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. Both the teams have won one and lost one match in their T20 World Cup campaign so far but yet had contrasting fortunes in their most recent outing. While the Proteas did manage to end up winning the contest against defending champions West Indies, Sri Lanka lost comprehensively to Australia. In what is a tough group from which to proceed to the final four, either side would want to win this and be in with a real chance of a semifinal berth.
Head-to-head (in T20Is):
Sharjah has been the most ideal wicket for stroke-making but when the required run rate is high while chasing and the teams are looking to go for the big shots, the smaller boundaries do come into the picture. Teams batting second have won the majority of the matches so far in the UAE - 9 out of 10 - in the Super 12 stage to be precise and the trend could continue in this game as well. The key here is to get a real solid foundation, maybe scoring at 6-7 runs an over but keeping wickets in hand before pressing the accelerator for the big shots towards the end. 160 is a challenging total, 180 could be a match-winning one but perhaps a bit too much to ask for, if the wicket remains the way it has.
The absence of Quinton de Kock is likely to continue after his clarification on why he chose not to take the knee during the match against West Indies. This is a big blow to the Proteas side who still have quite a few match-winning options in their lineup. Even in the lone game that they have lost so far, they went down fighting which is the very spirit with which they are expected to continue and perhaps surprise a few other teams in the process.
Sri Lanka's unbeaten run in T20 World Cup came to an end. Prior to their match against Australia, they had won four matches in a row but while of their matches came in Round 1, their only in Super 12 came against Bangladesh who were also featured in Round 1. This suggests they need to pull their socks up against teams a notch above them - those who had already reached Super 12. The former champions would want to use all their experience and somehow take two points in this game which will be a huge boost to their chances in the tournament.
Temba Bavuma (c), Reeza Hendricks, Rassie van der Dussen, Aiden Markram, Heinrich Klaasen (wk), David Miller, Dwaine Pretorius, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Tabraiz Shamsi, Quinton de Kock, Lungi Ngidi, Bjorn Fortuin, Wiaan Mulder
Kusal Perera (wk), Pathum Nissanka, Charith Asalanka, Avishka Fernando, Wanindu Hasaranga, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dasun Shanaka (c), Chamika Karunaratne, Dushmantha Chameera, Lahiru Kumara, Maheesh Theekshana, Akila Dananjaya, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dinesh Chandimal, Binura Fernando
Seems like South Africa should be able to pull this off. Sri Lanka do have individual stars on their side but as a unit, they look vulnerable and the Proteas are more than capable of exploiting their weaknesses. Sri Lanka too will have their chances though but would have to do well consistently in all three departments of the game to sneak a win from South Africa.
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