Resurgent Sri Lanka look to carry momentum into only T20I
The only T20I between Sri Lanka and South Africa will be played on the today (14 of August) at the R Premadasa International Cricket Stadium.
Sri Lanka will come into the game with confidence, having defeated the visitors in the final two One Day Internationals of their 5-match series. The hosts’ resurgence came too little too late however, as they had conceded the series after losing the 1st 3 games.
South Africa on the other hand, will be disappointed with their performances in the latter half of the ODI series, after they were dismissed for their lowest ever total against Sri Lanka on Sunday.
Nevertheless, the teams will move on now to the shortest format of the game for a lone T20I, the visitors’ last game on tour.
Sri Lanka has had a poor run of it against the Proteas in T20Is at home. Of the 4 games played between the sides on Sri Lankan soil, South Africa have won 3. Worryingly, Sri Lanka’s T20I run at the R Premadasa is not promising either.
Despite this, the Lions will go in to this game as slight favourites, particularly when considering how the surface for the 5th ODI played.
On a track that was a little too paced and slowing down as the game progressed, Sri Lanka did well to get to 299, thanks largely to a controlled, responsible knock from Angelo Mathews. Of late, the Premadasa has offered up more batting friendly pitches, but chasing 300 was always going to be a tough task.
The pitch played right into Sri Lanka’s strength, offering up some spin for the likes of Akila Dananjaya and Dhananjaya De Silva, who made the most of the opportunity after having to endure tough conditions in Pallekelle.
Sri Lanka will be looking for much of the same on Tuesday, as they hope to continue the momentum they gained over the last week into the only T20I.
Upul Tharanga and Niroshan Dickwella were handed the duty of opening the innings for the hosts during the ODIs, but with the latter missing out on the T20I squad, Tharanga looks likely to open alongside Kusal Perera.
Sri Lanka’s Test skipper Dinesh Chandimal is likely to slot in after regular number 3 Kusal Mendis, while Sri Lanka will look to keep the same middle-lower order from the ODIs intact for this game too.
This means, the hosts will once again feature just 3 frontline bowlers, with Akila Dananjaya, Lahiru Kumara and left armer Binura Fernando expected to take up the three spots.
Sri Lanka did make a last-minute change to their squad, bringing in Kasun Rajitha and T20 specialist Isuru Udana in, to replace Jeffery Vandersay and Shehan Madushanka, who will remain with the Emerging team for their limited overs fixtures against their South African counterparts.
Rajitha has been impressive whenever given the opportunity so it will not be surprising if the management decides to give him a go ahead of Kumara, who is yet to play T20Is.
Sri Lanka Probable XI: Upul Tharanga, Kusal Perera (wk), Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal, Angelo Mathews ©, Dhananjaya De Silva, Thisara Perera, Dasun Shanaka, Akila Dananjaya, Binura Fernando, Lahiru Kumara
South Africa on the other hand have not named a separate squad for the lone T20I and will pick from their ODI squad. Despite losing the final two ODIs, nearly everyone in the squad contributed in some way during the series.
Hashim Amla, who has played every game on tour so far, may get a rest with Aiden Markram likely to take his spot at the top of the order. Another point to ponder is whether the Proteas will play both Lungi Ngidi and Kagiso Rabada, or if they will look to rotate the bowlers as they did once the ODI series was won.
JP Duminy will lead the team for the lone T20I and having won the Man of the Series award in the ODIs, will be looking to end South Africa’s tour on a high.
South Africa Probable XI: Aiden Markram, Quinton De Kock (wk), Reeza Henricks, Heinrich Klaasen, JP Duminy ©, David Miller, Willem Mulder, Andile Phehlukwayo, Junior Dala, Lungi Ngidi, Tabraiz Shamsi
Despite it being the sole T20I on tour, both teams will come into the game looking to end things well after one sided Test and ODI series.