Our prediction is that South Africa will defeat Sri Lanka in the first T20I and take the 1-0 lead!
Sri Lanka had a dream start in this tour, beating South Africa and claiming historic test series win by a subcontinent team. Whether that was just a fluke is a question that started haunting everyone as the tour switched to limited over games.
However, from 2-0 test series win to 0-5 ODI series loss, the table has turned now. South Africa are looking in very good shape and mood with the way ODI series has progressed. Sweeping ODI series has boosted their confidence to a great extent and for now, they are looking formidable in the shorter format of the game.
The test series loss had been a massive dent to the hosts, as admitted by the captain Faf du Plessis. In the ODIs, captain Faf du Plessis accumulated 272 runs at an average of 68. However, wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock looks in a great form with 353 runs at an average of 70.60 and strike rate of 109.96.
Gihahn Cloete or Heinrich Klaasen, who were keeping wickets for South Africa in the last series against Pakistan, displayed quite ordinary results with the bat. De Kock, on the other hand, looks quite solid and should be in the playing eleven.
In the bowling department, Phehlukwayo and Chris Morris look quite dependable. Especially Morris who bagged 6 wickets in last ODI series against Pakistan with an average of 17. Sipamla is only two T20 matches old, but his overall T20 records are promising.
Faf du Plessis(c), Junior Dala, Beuran Hendricks, Reeza Hendricks, David Miller, Chris Morris, Andile Phehlukwayo, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rassie van der Dussen, Lutho Sipamla, Quinton de Kock (wk).
Jean-Paul Duminy, Imran Tahir, Rassie van der Dussen, Quinton de Kock, Reeza Hendricks, Lutho Sipamla, DW Steyn, David Miller, Kagiso Rabada, Andile Phehlukwayo, Faf du Plessis
They shocked South Africans and the world to become the first subcontinent team to beat them in their home.
As they still wonder what happened in the ODIs, they would want to just forget the past five matches and focus on the T20s and regain the confidence pride before the world cup. Of course, they will remember that they had beaten South Africans 2-1 in the T20s last time they were here.
While Kusal Mendis could be a key player as in past 9 matches he scored 276 with an average of 30.66 and strike rate of 151.64, bowling department is also not bad under the leadership of Malinga.
For Sri Lanka, a lot would depend on the allrounders like Isuru Udana, Akila Dananjaya. But the key player could be Thisara Perera looking at his past one year’s records with bat and bowl.
Lasith Malinga(c), Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Avishka Fernando, Kusal Mendis, Upul Tharanga, Angelo Perera, Dhananjaya de Silva, Thisara Perera, Isuru Udana, Akila Dananjaya, Lakshan Sandakan.
Niroshan Dickwella, Akila Dananjaya, Kamindu Mendis, Avishka Fernando, Dhananjaya de Silva, Kusal Mendis , Angelo Perera, Thisara Perera, Isuru Udana, JDF Vandersay, Lasith Malinga
Cape Town’s Newlands is a very good ground and the pitch generally favors the batsmen if played on merits. More than ground situations, a lot would depend on bowlers and fielders to restrict batsmen in second innings. Each and every run saved would matter here, as an average score for the teams batting first is 150 against 144 while batting second.
The team winning the toss should go for fielding first, as out of 17 T20 matches played here, 12 times the team batting second have won.
Sri Lanka have won the T20 series in 2016/17 but their recent form in T20Is, especially in away matches, is not that great. In the past 2 years, they played 7 matches and lost in 5. The South Africans at home, in the past 2 years, are outstanding as they won 7 out of 10 matches. The three matches they lost were against top two T20 ranking teams, India and Pakistan.
Overall, recent ODI and T20 matches performances and statistics are in favor of the hosts. We predict the South Africans will win the first match taking an early lead in the series.
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