Sri Lanka and South Africa continue their preparations for the upcoming World T20 on Sunday when they meet in the second game of their three match series in Colombo on a day with the tourists can claim the spoils.
In the grand scheme of things the series might not mean a whole lot to the pair but when you consider they are five weeks from getting their World T20 campaigns underway each match means plenty in the lead up to that.
After the joys of winning the ODIs, there was a reverting to type about the Sri Lankan display in that opening T20. To be fair to them they bowled pretty well in the main but just let South Africa get away from them a little in the closing stages and that put enough pressure on their batting for it to crack a little and get found out. There was a sense of panic in the Sri Lankan batting and they need to work on that before the World T20.
The annoying thing for Mickey Arthur and the Sri Lanka backroom staff is that they had Dinesh Chandimal going along nicely but nobody was able to stay with him and just play clever cricket which would have got them home. They have a largely young core of batsmen so those mistakes are going to happen but if they want to improve in this format then they simply have to read the state of the game much better and more regularly.
The South Africans will have been delighted with their display in the opening game. They were under enough pressure at all times for the match to be significant with regards preparing for the World T20 that is to come and at the same time they were in control of enough situations to give them confidence moving forward. While there are issues which are regularly raised within their team balance, they are building up a nice run of form in this format and are going it at the right time.
The important thing for South Africa is that they delivered with the ball in that first game. If they are going to continue to select a side which is a batsman short for the extra bowling options it provides then the bowlers have to deliver the goods because more often than not they are going to post par or just above par totals rather than the enormous ones because they can’t go too hard at the top of the innings in case they expose their light batting.
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Kusal Perera will probably be given this game or the next one to get some time at the crease ahead of the World T20. If he comes in here it could see Dinesh Chandimal dropping down to three. Akila Dananjaya might be left out after he didn’t make the cut for the World T20.
There are no immediate reasons for South Africa to change the side which won the opening match but with games running out ahead of the World T20, the Proteas might want to give some of their bench players the chance to deliver.
The first match was probably higher scoring than I thought it might be but that was only because both teams had wickets in hand to launch at the end of the innings. That isn’t always going to be the case, especially with these pitches only getting harder for batting as we go along. Everything went right for South Africa in that opening match in terms of their batting innings but if they were to lose a couple of early wickets they would stall quite quickly I suspect.
Sri Lanka rarely give me the impression that they know how to build a T20 innings and need everything to run smoothly for them in order for them to do that. Against this South Africa bowling attack it is hard to see them suddenly finding the right formula so I’m going to expect a lower scoring match here once again and one which will contain fewer than 307.5 runs. South Africa went well in the first game and we still only got to 298 runs. I think we stay under the 307.5 runs mark here.
Back Under 307.5 runs for a 3/10 stake at 1.83 with Bet365