South Africa will look to wrap-up the T20 segment of their series against Sri Lanka with a win in Cape Town on Wednesday.
All eyes will be on AB de Villiers as he makes his long-awaited return to the international scene when South Africa take on Sri Lanka in the third and final T20 International at Newlands.
Will the Proteas be able to wrap-up the series or can the injury-ravaged Asians spring a surprise in the shadow of Table Mountain on Wednesday? Let’s have a look:
South Africa vs Sri Lanka | Wednesday 25 January | Newlands, Cape Town | 17:30
To Win Match
South Africa 1/3 | Tie 35/1 | Sri Lanka 34/10
The Proteas would have been pretty disappointed with their performance at the Wanderers in which they went down by three wickets. In truth, it was a disastrously bad batting performance in which only Heino Kuhn and Farhaan Behardien managed to get into the twenties.
It’s not the biggest train smash, however, as this young team and inexperienced team is still looking to get a foothold in the international scene. One player who’s grabbed his opportunity with both hands is Lungi Ngidi. The Titans’ quick has been sensational during this series, bagging six wickets in two games and has grabbed himself a place in the ODI squad.
While Ngidi has been sensational, one feels that all eyes will be on AB de Villiers as he makes his return to the international stage. He made his comeback from injury with a majestic 134* in the Northerns win over Easterns at Benoni this past weekend. He’ll be itching to tuck into a Sri Lankan bowling attack that’s missing the likes of Angelo Matthews and Nuwan Pradeep.
I’m also hoping to see a bit more from the likes of Jon-Jon Smuts and Andile Phelukwayo. Both are immensely talented players who have so far just failed to click in this series. They’ll both be targeting the Newlands match to put in big performances. Smuts will be playing for his place in the Proteas’ next T20 series while Phelukwayo would dearly love to take some form into the ODI segment of the series.
Sri Lanka are going to struggle in this last T20 without the leadership qualities as well as the all-round ability of Angelo Matthews. The Colombo-native went over horribly on his ankle and is set to miss out on the next few weeks.
Dinesh Chandimal will step up as captain and will need to try and anchor the Sri Lankan innings. I feel he’s much more effective higher up the order and it showed in the second T20. He came in at second drop and played a mature innings of 22 off 28 balls.
I’ll also be looking for more out of Kusal Mendis. The youngster from Moratuwa has battled to rediscover the form that saw him announce himself on the international stage against Australia. He’s battled throughout the tour with only 1 50+ score to his name in three Tests and two T20s. He’s a better player than these numbers suggest, so look out for an improved showing as the pressure builds on him.
While they'll put on a brave show, I simply don't see the Sri Lankans getting anything out of this game. They've lost too many key players to injury and will battle to bowl to a fit again AB de Villiers. The hosts should win this quite easily.
Verdict: South Africa 1/3
The Proteas will be smarting following their surprise loss at the Wanderers. Expect the team to rally around de Villiers and get the job done in front of what should be a packed Newlands.
Value Bet: AB de Villiers to top score for South Africa at 2/1
AB’s back and he’s had a good knock at List A level to get his eye in for Northerns earlier this week. He’s a world class player and is tipped to come in early and blitz his way to a big score against some lacklustre Sri Lankan bowling.
Written by Jason Dewey for @Hollywoodbets.