About the Match
The Sri Lankans were totally outclassed in the test series but managed to pull off a thrilling victory to take the t20 series 2-1. The limited overs game is definitely their stronger suit so can they continue this form to challenge the South Africans in the ODI series?
The South African ODI unit is a formidable one. Their batting lineup boasts of Quinton de Kock, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis, David Miller followed by some very capable all-rounders. This is a unit that is capable of scoring big runs under any conditions and keeping them quiet will be a tough task for the Sri Lankans.
AB de Villers will be returning after a long lay-off and has stated his focus towards the upcoming ICC events, namely the Champions Trophy and the World Cup in two years time. His batting looked as good as ever and we think he is going to be more aggressive with his tactics as well.
Quinton de Kock has had one of the best starts to a One Day Career in history. He already has 11 ODI hundreds to his name from only 69 games and is most brutal in this format of the game. He would be our pick to score 50 plus in this match.
The seam bowling will be led by Kagiso Rabada along with Chris Morris, Wayne Parnell, and Andile Phehlukwayo. Rabada will be key here and if he can continue bowling like he did against Australia or Sri Lanka in the test series, the Sri Lankan batsmen are in for a tough examination.
Back him to be the highest wicket taker. Imran Tahir, too, has a knack for picking wickets in limited overs cricket and we would keep a close eye on him as well. If he takes a wicket early in his spell then he could take two or three more.
The Sri Lankans would be very happy that they were able to win some silverware on this tour, however, the truth of the matter is that their team is going to be found out as the game gets longer. The ODI format is short but still allows enough time for quality teams to win more often than not.
Taking into account the inexperience of the Sri Lankan squad, we think it would require a miracle for them to be able to win this series. This first match at Port Elizabeth though could be their best chance to pull off an upset.
The pitch is expected to be a lot slower than the one they encountered in the test match and could favor Sri Lanka’s slower bowlers. Left-arm spinner Lakshan Sandakan made an immediate impact in the t20 series and he could be the trump card for Sri Lanka in this series as well.
The batting lineup though looks very weak with Dickwella, Dhanajaya de Silva, Kusal Mendis and Dinesh Chandimal likely to make up the top-4. Upul Tharanga is experienced but may not get his preferred opening slot.
A lot of the responsibility will rest on Kusal Mendis and Chandimal to bat through the innings.
The gulf in quality between the two sides is just too big for us to recommend Sri Lanka, even as an outside bet. Back South Africa To Win