Sri Lanka has been the most unlucky team of the World Cup. After losing their first game to New Zealand badly, they have had the worst luck with the dreaded English weather. Their win against Afghanistan in their second game was a rain-affected game as well. They will now be taking on Australia later today and will be hoping that they finally have a full game. Sri Lanka though is not without their problems and this long break would not have helped their cause either.
Their batting is still a worry and now with this break, they would be rusty when they take on a side who will be confident after an impressive win against Pakistan. Angelo Mathews who has been struggling with the bat would want to get among the runs and will be hoping that he gets support from rest of the batters. The bowling attack did well against Afghanistan and was led well by Lasith Malinga. Even though it is going to be tough, they need this win badly to keep their hopes alive.
Australia though is sitting pretty with 3 wins in four games they have played so far. They have been lucky with the weather as they have got four full games so far and except for the game against India, they have looked in good shape. They shook their bowling around for the game against Pakistan and went with four pace bowlers but again they might go back to their original combination it Marcus Stoinis is fit again. They will be confident coming into this game but they are still figuring out their right combination and their batting order looked a little messy against Pakistan. They seemed to be confused with where they want to play Usman Khawaja in the batting order and they also want to get in Shaun Marsh into the XI as well. Few things to munch on for the captain Aaron Finch ahead of the game tonight.
Head to Head:
Australia has dominated Sri Lanka historically in ODIs and the world cup has been no different where they have an impressive 7-1 record against the Island nation.
David Warner (Australia): David Warner has been in brilliant form through this tournament for Australia. He already has two fifties and a hundred in four games. In a batting order which is confused in terms of the person they want to play in the XI, he along with Aaron Finch and Steven Smith forms a crucial trio for Australia. He will once again be expected to provide a good start and to carry on to help Australia to a good total.
Pat Cummins (Australia): Australian bowling attack has struggled and except for Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc they haven’t had much control with the pace attack. Pat Cummins has been their go to bowler over the last year and a half and he is the one providing the most control for them in this world cup as well.
Nuwan Pradeep (Sri Lanka): Back from a minor injury break Nuwan Pradeep becomes a crucial part of the Sri Lankan bowling attack. This is probably the first time Sri Lanka enter a world tournament with no world class spinner and the pacers are having to take the lead. Even though Lasith Malinga is their most experienced pacer, Pradeep has been in brilliant form and his four-for against Afghanistan was instrumental in Sri Lanka defending a low total.
Angelo Mathews (Sri Lanka): The biggest problem for Sri Lanka has been their batting over the past couple of years. Their inexperienced batting line up isn’t helping matters much in this world cup. Angelo Mathews is a veteran in their playing XI and their best batter in all formats. He will be the most important member of their batting line-up in this all-important game
What they said?
“He won’t be available again for tomorrow. He hasn’t bowled yet in his recovery over the last couple of days. So having four days between this game and the next game, I think that will be the ideal time to really test him out and assess him. But I think over the over the next five-six days, there will be a call made on that, just based on what he can and can’t do. We’ve seen him batting and running, no problem. Just he hasn’t tried to bowl yet. Just waiting for the injury to settle down a bit more,” said Aaron Finch speaking about the fitness of all-rounder Marcus Stoinis
“Some of our guys are really good players of the short ball, some of them find it hard. But if you think you can go for it, I will tell my players to go for it because we need runs as well.” Said Captain Dimuth Karunaratne on the prospect of facing the bouncer barrage against Australia
David Warner, Aaron Finch (c), Usman Khawaja, Steven Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Shaun Marsh, Alex Carey (wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon/Adam Zampa
Sri Lanka XI:
Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Kusal Perera (wk), Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva, Thisara Perera, Isuru Udana, Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Pradeep
Sri Lanka will finally have a full game tonight with the weather supposed to be clear and sunny at The Oval. Australia obviously starts this game as the favorites but Sri Lanka needs to brush aside all the controversies and concentrate on the job at hand. They for sure need some handsome contributions from the batters to challenge a good Aussie side. Even though Sri Lanka might love the conditions at the Oval, it will be hard to get against an Australian win tonight.