As with all the Saturday’s in the group phase of the Cricket World Cup, we have a double header of matches to get stuck into to begin the weekend and the action begins at The Oval where Sri Lanka take on Australia.
Sri Lanka have been assisted a little by a couple of washouts, especially against Pakistan and Bangladesh because there was every chance they wouldn’t have got anything from those matches. Australia go in search of a fourth win in five which would have them very handily placed.
I will be interested to see what impact the time off has had for Sri Lanka. I would wager they needed it for a couple of reasons. They had a few niggles in the camp so 11 days without a match will have given them time to sort that out and also they needed some time to take stock of where they were and what they need to go going forward. They know in order to qualify they need three wins from their last five at least. Nobody outside of their camp thinks they can do it but they have a chance to prove people wrong here.
If they are going to do that then they will have to bat so much better. There have been excuses in their batting displays so far. Cardiff isn’t always the easiest place to bat especially on cloudy days but there are no reasons not to bat well here at The Oval. They will need to guard against trying to get too many and getting nothing at all too. In their predicament even a slightly below par score will give them something to use.
There has been a lot of talk that Australia haven’t been at their best in this tournament yet and I’m a little surprised that the noise has been so strong because I wouldn’t expect them to play their peak stuff this early in the event. They will be looking to be at their best in the last couple of group matches with the aim of delivering their two biggest performances in the knockout stages of the event. Even at maybe 65-70% of their capabilities they were only a Hardik Pandya blitz away from winning four out of four.
One of the reasons why Australia have won three out of four is because their improvement can only be made in the lesser players if you will. Their top three are all scoring runs nicely in the tournament and their new ball pair for my money have bettered anything there is to offer in the event. If numbers five and six start contributing and the other bowlers come to the party and maintain the pressure created with the new ball there is no reason at all why Australia can’t win this.
Lasith Malinga left the camp in the extended time off but he has returned and is expected to be fit to go. Nuwan Pradeep has had time to get over his injury but he may not be risked given that there are four more matches to come.
I originally thought Australia would want to play a front line spinner but Aaron Finch seemed to suggest that won’t be the case and that the Australians may well be unchanged. Marcus Stoinis is still not fit to feature but he hasn’t yet been replaced in the squad by Mitchell Marsh.
I’ll go with three bets in this match. The first of them is for Aaron Finch to score more than 34.5 runs. This is Finch’s home ground so he will know every inch of it which will serve him well and I don’t see a lot in this Sri Lanka new ball attack to trouble him too much. His scores in the tournament to date have been 66, 6, 36 and 82 with the latter two knocks being against excellent new ball attacks. He hasn’t played Sri Lanka in an ODI for a while but he does have two half centuries against them and I’m expecting him to go beyond 34.5 runs in this match.
I’ll also take Sri Lanka not to go past 50.5 runs in their opening 10 overs. Australia have the best new ball attack in the competition and on these wider square boundaries I’m not convinced that Sri Lanka are going to get away from them, especially if they get Kusal Perera early. He is the only free scorer at the top of the Sri Lanka innings but even if he gets a start they’ll go well to make more than 50 in the powerplay. Australia so far have shipped 10 over scores of 37, 54 against the West Indies at Trent Bridge when Gayle briefly went on the rampage, 41 and 51, the latter being at Taunton. India only made 41 here against Australia so it is hard to see Sri Lanka banging another 10 on that.
I mentioned that not many Sri Lankan batsmen are in decent form and really it is only the openers who are so I think there is an opening in the top Sri Lanka batsman market given that the openers are going to have their work cut out. Dhananjaya de Silva actually has a fair record against Australia. He has a Test match 129 against them and an ODI 76 as well as a 50 in a T20 and copious 30s in all formats. These two met in a warm up match prior to the tournament and he made 43. He’ll be away from the new ball and at 12/1 there is enough reason to get on board even though he hasn’t started the event great.
Back A.Finch – Over 34.5 runs for a 4/10 stake at 1.91 with Betfair
Back him here:
Back Sri Lanka – Under 50.5 runs in first 10 overs for a 4/10 stake at 1.80 with Betway
Back D.de Silva Top Sri Lanka Batsman for a 1/10 stake at 13.00 with Bet365