About the Match
The ODI series didn’t bring any luck neither to South Africa not to their newly appointed coach. They were beaten ruthlessly by four games to one. Now, they have opportunity to get some momentum in the 3-match T20 series, the first of which is to be played on 2nd August 2013 at R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo. Both the teams are going through a rebuilding phase and Sri Lanka utilized the home advantage to the fullest in longer version of the limited overs format. South Africa will be under pressure to perform in the T20s and end the series on a high note. Regardless to who wins, this T20 series, unlike ODIs, is expected to be pretty closely fought.
The Proteas struggled for form and stability in the middle and T20 being the version which requires slam-bang variety of Cricket, will suit them better than ODIs. They’ve reinforcements coming in the form of Henry Davids who is a dashing opener and can provide solid yet quick start, and David Wiese, an all-rounder might be able to fill into Kallis’ shoes. AB de Villiers is one of the most explosive and dependable batsmen in World Cricket, but is struggling for runs. David Miller proved his worth in IPL and showed his class in the recently concluded ODI series as well. Under the leadership of Faf du Plessis, the Proteas would be hoping for change in fortunes and with the team they have, it is certainly on the cards.
Sri Lanka fared extremely well, first under the captaincy of Dinesh Chandimal and then under Angelo Mathews. The attack was largely led by their experienced campaigners: Kumar Sangakkara and Tillkaratne Dilshan. The former was brilliant in almost all games, and scored at quick pace without taking any risk. Dilshan played against his natural instinct and was excellent in providing a good start. However, it was their bowling which troubled South Africa with spinners inflicting most of the damage. Sri Lanka would be again heavily depended on their senior men and their bowlers would have to do the damage yet against to continue their winning run.
Change of format has brought about plenty of changes in the Proteas’ lineup. A new look South African side will face the same Sri Lankan side which beat them a few days ago. Can the new guys turn the table and start the T20 series with a win? It will be hard for them, but they have the team which can deliver when it matters. With hitters like du Plessis, Miller and de Villiers, their batting is perfectly suited for shortest format of the game. They have equally good bowling lineup which might trouble Sri Lankan youngsters early on. Sri Lanka is an equally good side and it’s hard to choose between the sides, but due to better returns, I’d go with South Africa.
South Africa, 2.20 @ William Hill
Sri Lanka’s new sensation, Kusal Perera created lot of hype, but failed to live up to it. He now has the chance to redeem himself in this T20 series. Kumar Sangakkara is a veteran and he was class apart in the ODI series as well. He seemed to enjoy South African bowling and it would again for very tough to stop him. With the form and experience in his favor, I expect him to outscore Kusal Perera in first T20 match.
Sangakkara v K Perera - Batsman Match:
Kumar Sangakkara, 1.73 @ William Hill