Champions Trophy: Sri Lanka vs South Africa

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South Africa go up against Sri Lanka in the opening Group B encounter at the 2017 edition of the Champions Trophy. 

The Proteas get their Champions Trophy campaign underway against Sri Lanka when the two sides meet at the Oval this Saturday.

AB de Villiers will fully expect his side to get the job done against a Sri Lankan team who may well be without Angelo Matthews.

Sri Lanka vs South Africa | Saturday 3 June 2017 | The Oval, London | 11:30

To Win Match
Sri Lanka 49/20 | Tie 35/1 | South Africa 32/100

Sri Lanka
The biggest news coming out of the Sri Lankan camp is that Angelo Matthews is unlikely to play on Saturday due to a calf strain. This is a massive blow for Graham Ford who needs all of his best players fit and firing if they are to stand a realistic chance of getting out of the group phase of this competition.

Upal Tharanga will likely take up the role of captain as he did against the South Africans when the sides last met in January and February over five One Day Internationals. He acquitted himself well enough with the bat then, scoring 189-runs at an average of 37.80 in South African conditions.

The opener actually performs better when leading the side – he averages 40.30 when captaining the side as opposed to his 32.89 average when he’s playing beneath someone else. Niroshan Dickwella, Dinesh Chandimal and Kusal Mendis will all need to provide adequate support.

While their batting line-up looks okay, I just worry a bit for their bowlers. We all know what Lasith Malinga can do, however, Nuwan Kulasekara, Suranga Lakmal and Lakshan Sandakan will likely struggle to keep the scoring down in a 50-over format in England.

South Africa
Out of the three other teams in their group, South Africa will no doubt be happiest facing up against Sri Lanka in their opening match. Russel Domingo will expect nothing less than a sizey win heading into two potentially tougher matches against Pakistan and India.

Fortunately for the South Africans, they’ve had three One Day Internationals to acclimatise to local conditions against top-class opposition in the form of tournament favourites, England. Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock and AB de Villiers all performed well with the bat in that series, averaging over 45.5.

There is, however, a bit of pressure on the likes of JP Duminy and Faf du Plessis to get a few runs here after a rather lean series against England. There aren’t really any concerns bowling wise. Kagiso Rabada and Wayne Parnell have been excellent at the start of opposition innings.

Parnell’s resurgence has been particularly pleasing considering the dearth of quality South African left-arm seamers with international experience. Chris Morris, Imran Tahir and Andile Phelukwayo will all lend support with Dwaine Pretorious and Morne Morkel providing depth. Whether or not the Sri Lankans can deal with the raw pace of Rabada and Morris as well as the trickery of Tahir remains to be seen.

There are also slight injury concerns over David Miller and Tahir who both have been suffering from small hamstring niggles, although news from the camp is that both will be ready for Saturday.

Verdict: South Africa 32/100
Even if Sri Lanka give a good account of themselves this Saturday I still don’t see them beating the Proteas at the Oval. The South Africans should outclass the Asians with both bat and ball without really having to get out of second gear. Get on the South African win at 32/100.  

Written by Jason Dewey for @Hollywoodbets.net

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