About the Match
The eighth edition of the ICC Champions Trophy is going to be held in England and Wales between 1st and 18th of June, 2017. The third match of this tournament will be played between Sri Lanka and South Africa at The Oval on 3rd June, and given the comparatively tough nature of their group, both these teams would want to start their respective campaigns on a winning note in order to ease their chances of qualifying for the semis.
The current sixth-ranked ODI team in the world, Sri Lanka, are undergoing a cruel rebuilding phase at the moment. Their recent ODI record has not been very good, they lost an ODI to Scotland this month, but they have been able to unearth some special players in the last couple of years who definitely have the talent to carry Sri Lanka through in a short tournament like the ICC Champions Trophy.
But for that to materialize, they will need to start well, and their first hurdle would be South Africa. With the kind of form Sri Lanka has been in recently, defeating South Africa in the bouncy English conditions looks a little farfetched, though anything is possible on any given day and Sri Lanka might as well surprise everyone.
Conditions in England are definitely going to be an issue for Sri Lanka. This is a pretty young squad and though some of the members have played in England before, some do not have sufficient experience of playing in these conditions and this could pose a problem for Sri Lanka against a far more experienced side like South Africa.
Lasith Malinga has been included in the squad for this tournament and he will have the big responsibility of leading the bowling attack. The batting unit will be looking forward to the return of captain Angelo Mathews, but he is making a comeback from injury, and how quickly he is able to come back into form can, in turn, decide how far Sri Lanka can take South Africa in this game.
Sri Lanka has always done well in the ICC tournaments, but the odds of them beating South Africa in this game have to be estimated at pretty low given their recent form. They can surely spring a surprise, but the chances seem highly unlikely.
South Africa enters the Champions Trophy as the number one ranked ODI team in the world. They will enter the tournament with high expectations, and with the kind of personnel they have at their disposal, will be looking forward to winning their first match against Sri Lanka and start their Champions Trophy campaign on a winning note.
South Africa has been in great ODI form of late, and with AB de Villiers being declared fit enough to lead them, will surely provide a very tough challenge for Sri Lanka. The conditions in England will also suit their pace dominant bowling attack as well as their batsmen who like batting on bouncy surfaces.
South Africa has announced a very well balanced squad for this tournament. AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, and Hashim Amla are all in great nick and Imran Tahir has also been bowling very well. Quinton de Kock and Morne Morkel are coming back from injuries, but both did well in the practice games held before the recent ODI series against England and both look set to have some major impact on this game.
South Africa is a well-balanced team and is in great form right now and this game presents the perfect opportunity for them to start their campaign with a win. They will just want to focus on playing some good aggressive cricket and not letting expectations hinder their thinking too much.
Both Sri Lanka and South Africa have a good overall record at ICC events and both the squads appear to be well settled on paper. South Africa has been in great form recently whereas Sri Lanka has had a patchy record of late. In addition to this, the conditions will also suit South Africa better than the Sri Lankans, and this gives them an upper hand in this contest.