Our prediction is South Africa to win!
South Africa won the first ODI match of the 5-match series easily by 8 wickets. Quinton de Kock and Skipper Faf du Plessis were excellent with the bat scoring 82 and 112* respectively. Rassie van Dussen made a decent contribution of 32* to finish the chase. The match predominantly set up the bowlers who restricted the Sri Lankan batting to a paltry score of 231 runs. Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi took the new ball and were excellent at the start capturing 2 wickets in the first 4 overs. Debutant Anrich Nortje had a decent outing with bowling figures of 7-1-33-1. Imran tahir was their star performer with the ball capturing 3 wickets and dismantled the Sri Lankan middle order with his excellent line and lengths. South Africa look to test their bench strength ahead of the all-important World cup.
Sri Lankan team are having the old problem in the ODIs where they cannot put up good show as a team. Kusal Mendis continued his form from test series scoring a valiant 60 runs. Debutant Oshando Fernando missed out on his maiden half century agonizingly on 49 runs after run-out due to miscommunication with Mendis. Kusal Perera and De silva had starts in the 30s but did not capitalize on them to make a big score. Their bowlers were left out with too little score to defend and they were left toothless by De Kock and Faf du Plessis. Akila Dananjaya and Vishwa Fernando picked up a wicket each but no one looked dangerous and were leaking runs at a high economy rate.
David Miller – Miller is one of bed rocks of the middle order and he will be waiting for his opportunity to showcase his batting abilities in this series.
Lungi Ngidi – Ngidi had an excellent outing in his first match after injury. His first spell set the tone of the match where he dismissed both the Sri Lankan openers inside his fist 2 overs.
Stats from the series:
Faf Du Plessis – 112* runs (114 balls) (15X4s, 1X6s)
Imran Tahir - 10-1-26-3
Faf du Plessis(C), Quinton de Kock (Wk), Reeza Hendricks, Russie Van Der Hussan, David Miller, Dwaine Pretorius, Wiaan Mulder, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Kagiso Rabada, Imran Tahir
Upul Tharanga – Tharanga returns to ODI team after a long gap and he needs to step up to score some runs at the top to set the momentum of their batting innings.
Lasith Malinga – Malinga is facing a down spiral in his bowling and he needs to perform well to inspire the team for success. His poor form may have adverse effects on team morale.
Stats from the series:
Kusal Mendis – 60 runs (73 balls) (5X4s, 1X6s)
Akila Dananjaya – 10-0-52-1
Lasith Malinga (c), Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva, Upul Tharanga, Oshada Fernando, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Isuru Udana, Lakshan Sandakan, Akila Dananjaya, Thisara Perera
SuperSport Park Pitch is known to be batting friendly and has seen a lot of high scoring contests of late. The fast outfield and shorter square boundaries further encourages the batsmen. We can expect scores in range of 280- 300 runs here. South Africa piled 384 runs last time they met Sri Lanka here.
Teams are finding it easy to chase the score rather than set one as they unsure of the safe score. So, both the captains will look to bowl first and then chase down the opposition score.
Sri Lanka team are having awful record in ODIs and they could not overturn their fortunes over a long-time period. South Africa look to complete their last puzzles in the World Cup squad and are high on confidence. So we expect South Africa to end on the winning side.
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