T20 World Cup 2024 – Sri Lanka vs South Africa Tips and Betting Preview

The first match of the two at the T20 World Cup on Monday sees the tournament hitting New York for the first time as the two biggest nations get Group D underway when Sri Lanka take on a dangerous looking South Africa.

These two sides will be expected to come through the group but whoever loses this will probably be playing no lose cricket for the remainder of the competition so while this isn’t a knockout match or anything like that, there is a decent incentive for winning.

Sri Lanka

Around a decade or so ago Sri Lanka were one of the powerhouses in the T20 format of the game. Since then the boom nature of the batting has probably left them behind a touch and they are not helped by the in and out stature of the Sri Lanka Premier League either. If you look at the better T20 sides in the world they have a fully functioning and competitive and competent franchise or T20 league but Sri Lanka haven’t really been able to get an elite one going.

That means that they haven’t got as deep a pool of player to pick from as some of the other countries and they certainly look to lack some big hitters, which might not be ideal in this part of the world. What they do have though is a very balanced bowling attack which should be effective in any conditions that they come up against and some classy spinners who on these pitches should have a lot of fun. You wouldn’t immediately have Sri Lanka as potential winners of this tournament but if a batter or two stands up that might be enough.

South Africa

I think it is fair to say that South Africa are a bit of a weird breed in that there is a huge amount of optimism around them going into this tournament but when you look at their recent T20 record you see that they have lost nine of their last 11 T20I matches. Admittedly some of those would have been without their gun stars, such as the recent three against West Indies last month, but even so you will struggle to argue that the Proteas carry any momentum or confidence into the tournament with them.

What they do have though is a batting order where the middle order is loaded with natural big hitters and on the right pitches they will be a handful for anything that is likely off in terms of opposition bowlers. South Africa have a good pool of bowling resources, helped by the invention of the SA20 where a couple of players have come out of the pack to be in this squad. You just wonder if the wickets will be a little too much on the slow side for them to be at their optimum.


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Team News

It looks as though Matheesha Pathirana will be fit to play in this opening match for Sri Lanka despite picking up an injury towards the end of the IPL. Wanindu Hasaranga skippers the side in a tournament for the first time.

South Africa are hopeful of having Kagiso Rabada in their side for this first game. Aidan Markram, David Miller, Heinrich Klaasen, Tristan Stubbs and Keshav Maharaj are all expected to be recalled having missed the series against West Indies after their IPL exploits.

Betting

I’ve already tipped up Sri Lanka to win this group so I probably don’t need to go in on them again here but the 19/10 that they win this match is just a shade too big for me to ignore. We don’t know too much about the conditions in New York but the consensus seems to be that the ball stops in the pitch a bit and that the outfield isn’t overly quick so we might well have conditions more suited to Sri Lanka who would expect to excel more in slower, lower scoring environments like this.

If South Africa are going to win this tournament you suspect they are going to need wickets where the ball comes onto the bat where the likes of Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller and Tristan Stubbs can hit through the line and use their power to their advantage. That doesn’t appear like it is going to be the case here so I think Sri Lanka are worth a go. Another reason why they are worth a go is they have played a couple of matches in America in the lead up to the event while half of the South Africa squad will be coming in cold after their IPL exertions. Sri Lanka just feel overpriced to me.

Tips

Back Sri Lanka to beat South Africa for a 3/10 stake at 2.90 with William Hill

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