Sri Lanka may not be in the best of their form, but Scotland does not possess enough qualities to challenge the visitors. We predict Sri Lanka would win the first ODI of the series comfortably.
After facing the defeat in the unfortunate and rain-affected ODI series versus Afghanistan, Scotland would look to replicate their feat which they achieved by defeating the number one ODI ranked team England in 2018. Scotland batsmen are doing the wonders but beating Sri Lanka would take some discipline and shrill from the bowlers too.
Sri Lanka has planned the England and Scotland tour especially aiming at the ICC World Cup 2019. After losing 8 white ball format matches in South Africa, they would want to gain the momentum by winning both the ODIs in Scotland. Their last visit here in 2011 was splendid but the time and the team have changed a lot after that. Also, they have got a new skipper in Dimuth Karunaratne and winning the ODI series against Scotland remains his and his team’s first hurdle before the World Cup campaign.
Scotland’s progress recently has been amazing in the ODIs and the T20s. They clinched two T20 series, one in the Netherlands and another in Oman. In the ODIs, Scotland has bright players like Calum MacLeod, George Munsey, and Richie Berrington. Also, the captain Kyle Coetzer and Matthew Cross did the wonders in the recent matches. The Saltires have stunned the world by defeating England in June-2018 and MacLeod played the crucial role with his match-winning century.
The hosts missed the opportunity to beat Afghanistan in the second ODI of their previous series after the first ODI was washed out. They had posted a huge score of 325 runs in 50 overs and before the rain interruption, Afghanistan was in need of 57 runs in last 31 balls. The result had to be implied using the D/L method and eventually, Scotland lost by merely 2 runs. MacLeod (100 in 89 balls), Coetzer (79 runs) and Munsey (13 balls 28) were the significant contributors. Safyaan Sharif was a bit expensive conceding 60 in 8 overs, but other bowlers like Brad Wheel, Alasdair Evans and Tom Sole were up to the mark. Against big contenders like Sri Lanka, Scotland must stay resolute and focused and convert the opportunities into the success.
Kyle Coetzer (c), Matthew Cross (wk), Calum MacLeod, Richie Berrington, George Munsey, Craig Wallace, Michael Leask, Mark Watt, Tom Sole, Safyaan Sharif, Brad Wheal
Sri Lanka has been struggling in the limited over games, as they could manage just one win in their previous 11 ODI series. They faced back to back clean sweeps in New Zealand and South Africa. The visitors have won only 1 in the last 15 ODI matches. In South Africa, after winning the test series 2-0, they went on to lose the ODI series 0-5 and the T20 series 0-3. The series against Scotland would allow them to experiment a few combinations before the ICC World Cup. The new ODI skipper Dimuth Karunaratne will also get a free hand before the big show.
Thisara Perera’s all-round performance holds the key for Sri Lanka. He has 20 wickets in the last 17 games in addition to 500 plus runs in the past 12 months. Sri Lanka's legendary bowler Lasith Malinga leads the bowling unit with 21 wickets in last 14 matches. This is a great opportunity for their batsmen to play freely against the Saltire bowlers and gain the rhythm. Sri Lanka needs to upgrade the batting, and the match against Scotland may uncover the required essence for them.
Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathews, Thisara Perera, Kusal Perera (wk), Dhananjaya de Silva, Isuru Udana, Milinda Siriwardana, Avishka Fernando, Lahiru Thirimanne, Jeffrey Vandersay
The match will be played at Grange Cricket Club, Raeburn Place, Edinburgh. The pitch here generally delivered high scoring matches. The highest total posted on this ground is 371 by the hosts in June 2018 against England while the lowest total is 101, again by the Saltires versus Sri Lanka when they had visited in 2011 for the Tri-Nation Tournament.
The team batting first has won 10 times out of 17 matches in which we have got the results. The team winning the toss should opt to bat first.
This is a match between 9th ranked Sri Lanka and the hosts Scotland who seek to win their first match post the famous win against England. Sri Lanka never lost to Scotland in two ODI encounters. Sri Lanka’s recent performance against teams like South Africa is not up to the mark but beating Scotland in the ODI should not be a difficult task for them. It is going to be a nice contest between Scotland’s batsmen and Sri Lanka’s bowlers, but at the end, Sri Lanka would cross the finishing line rather comfortably.
Our prediction is that Sri Lanka would beat Scotland in the first match of the ODI series.
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